Ohio University Dining Services Adds New Facility to Process Local Harvest a grassroots movement aggregates supplies along with meeting OU’s sustainability policy to utilize more local produce in campus food service
The new Culinary Support Center within the Central Food Facility on the Ohio University campus in Athens, Ohio is scheduled to be finished in November of 2011. Dining services executive chef Matt Rapposelli explained that the new center will be equipped with a cook/chill system to preserve many locally grown fruits and vegetables at the height of their summer freshness so that they can be available throughout the school year. Planning for the Culinary
Support Center has been in the works for many years but now takes on even more importance since a sustainability policy for the campus has been implemented by the OU Board of Trustees. Rapposelli has been with OU for five years and has been instrumental in increasing the amount of locally-produced fruits and vegetables purchased from local growers. But it wasn’t until he was encouraged to check out the nearby Chesterhill Produce Auction in 9
Monroe County that he realized how much more could be done. The auction barn is owned and operated by the non-profit organization Rural Action of Trimble, Ohio. Bob Fedyski, one of Chesterhill’s managers, was the one who “hounded” Rapposelli to attend an auction one day in 2008. The produce auction serves the community as a central location where products produced by the many family farms within a multi-county area are aggregated. Impressed with the volume and quality of the produce, as well as the benefit to the community, Matt began to attend the auctions regularly to make purchases of large quantities of local produce. OU’s trucks were then used to pick up the produce and deliver it right to the Central Food Facility loading docks. Now, with the new processing capabilities, additional products like sweet corn and green beans can be properly preserved right along with all the peppers, potatoes, and tomatoes which are the staples of the food service offerings. “Now we can take just about anything they can grow” said Rapposelli. The combination of a vibrant food system in the Appalachian foothills
Published on Jan 4, 2012
Ohio’s Specialty Crops: A Boost to Food Service Menus is intended to be a resource for specialty-crop producers (individually or producers w...