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Looking down at students from atop the new local and regional salad bar in Harris Refectory, Connecticut College's main dining hall, is a photo of 84-year-old farmer Earl Reichle. Reichle owns a corn farm and uniquely efficient underground packing facility in East Windsor, Conn. He is one of the many local and regional farmers supplying Connecticut College with greener produce. "In recent years, students have been requesting more local and organic food," said Ingrid Bushwack, the College's director of dining services. "We have been purchasing many local products for some time, but it was difficult to label them as such and some students were unaware.
The new salad bar makes it easy for our students to enjoy the local and regional produce." The College introduced the new salad bar last week. Items are clearly labeled with their states of origin, and several of the local farmers are profiled. "Students are impressed that Dining Services understands the importance of local and regional food and has been able to introduce it to our campus," said Taylor Gould, a Student Government Association representative on the Dining Services Committee. "Connecticut College has a long reputation of being an environmentally conscious institution, and the 'local salad bar' really makes students aware of the efforts of Dining Services to meet the demands of students, while at the same time echoing the environmentally friendly message that is ever present on our campus." The new salad bar currently boasts black currant juice from Connecticut; carrots, squash salad and sprouts - alfalfa, pea and bean - from Massachusetts; tomatoes from Maine, onions and fresh baked bread from New York and cage-free eggs from Nellie's Nest in New Hampshire. Dining Services also prepared a potato salad using potatoes from Maine.
"The offerings will change with the seasons," said Connecticut College's purchasing coordinator Kristine Serwinski, who gets a weekly list of available local and regional produce from Freshpoint, a Hartford-based company. "Of course, it being New England in the winter, the products are limited unless they are grown in a greenhouse." Gould says so far student feedback has been very positive. "The new additions add a bit of excitement and give our taste buds something new to try," he said. "We are excited to see what will appear on the salad bar next."