Dining hall serves campus harvest

Credit: Delaware Valley University. Kerry Zwack , a DelVal senior, delivers food grown on campus to Parkhurst Executive Chef Gerald Hunter.

Dec 01, 2016

Every week, Delaware Valley University students and staff deliver baskets of fresh food grown on the University's campus to the dining hall where they are incorporated into menu items for students to enjoy. DelVal and Parkhurst Dining, the University's dining services provider, are working together to incorporate more local food from the University's farms into the menu. 

"I think it's great that we serve food grown on campus," said Kerry Zwack '16, a DelVal senior horticulture major. "I get to see the food start from seed, go to harvest and bring it to the dining hall where I get to eat it."

The baskets of food harvested from the farms are delivered to Executive Chef Gerald Hunter, who develops the weekly menus based on what he receives. The chef is proud to be using DelVal-grown hydroponic lettuces, herbs, tomatoes and peppers year-round! Chef Hunter has also recently used food such as: basil, a variety of greens, eggplants, cucumbers and the first year’s crop of romaine lettuce. Some of the current menu items offered with farm-fresh produce include: greens for the expansive salad bar, vegan dishes and eggplant parmesan.
Parkhurst tries to be very flexible about what items they will take. 

"In any given week, Parkhurst will take whatever the farm manager delivers mostly," said Parkhurst Dining’s General Manager Joe Fryday. "To date, we have used 400 pounds of peaches from DelVal’s orchard and 400 pounds of corn from the fields."    

Group shot in the greenhouse.

Credit: Delaware Valley University. Parkhurst Dining Services is using food grown on campus in the Delaware Valley University dining hall. From Left: Parkhurst Executive Chef Gerald Hunter, Parkhurst General Manager Joe Fryday, Kerry Zwack '16, Rebecca Burton '18, Hydroponics Greenhouse Manager Chris Filling, Farm Manager Scott Smith. 

Parkhurst works closely with Farm Manager Scott Smith and the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences to obtain food currently grown on DelVal's land. Chef Hunter will use the produce grown on campus as his first choice. Then, he supplements through local producers identified by FarmSource, Parkhurst’s local purchasing program, which was pioneered in 2002 to support local agriculture and a farm to table dining experience.

Through FarmSource, Parkhurst is able to identify and partner with some of the finest local growers, family-owned farms and producers of food in the local community.  Today, Parkhurst works with more than 250 local farmers and producers, all within a 150-mile radius of its locations. The company is proud to source more than 20 percent of its food locally.  

“In this case, the farm is onsite!” said Fryday.