Parkhurst Dining Services Prepares Sustainable Thanksgiving Feast for PhilaU Students

Thanksgiving takes on a new meaning for PhilaU where over 600 students will enjoy a sustainable feast featuring only local foods, sponsored by PhilaU’s Student Organization for Sustainable Action (SOSA), Thursday, November 19, 2009, 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Ravenhill Dining Hall.

A national leader in sustainability, PhilaU and SOSA are working with Parkhurst Dining Services, the campus food service management provider, to help promote sustainable dining programs and events that increase local farm-fresh, high-quality food offered to students.

According to Bill Zimnoch, Parkhurst general manager, “To best organize this event, we worked with SOSA, which is extremely committed to reducing the carbon footprint on campus and supporting local agriculture, and Fair Food Philadelphia, which is dedicated to bringing locally grown food into the Philadelphia marketplace and promoting a humane, sustainable agriculture for the Greater Philadelphia region.”

“Philadelphia University is committed to promoting sustainability practices throughout campus, including in our academic programs, applied research and campus operations, which includes dining services,” said Randy Gentzler, vice president for finance and administration and treasurer, who heads the University’s sustainability committee. “We are particularly pleased to partner with Parkhurst Dining Services, whose goal is to ensure that we offer a wide variety of locally sourced foods everyday throughout all of our dining operations, and for this special locally grown Thanksgiving dinner, supported by our student sustainability group SOSA.”

Parkhurst Executive Chef Gerald Hunter and Executive Sous Chefs Rich Watson and Dustin Puyear will prepare naturally fed, all natural turkeys from Koch’s Turkey Farm of Lewistown Valley, PA.  Farmer representatives from Koch’s will also discuss how turkeys are grown and fed utilizing locally grown corn and roasted soybeans for their specialty formulated feed, as well as the proper care of and treatment of turkeys by giving them free range access to outdoor areas that provide natural sunlight and fresh air.

In addition to fresh turkey, smoked duck with lingonberry and pecan glaze and roasted fresh pork loin from Hatfield Meats, will be served with unique sides prepared with locally procured produce including Kennett Square wild mushrooms.  (See complete menu)

To promote the dinner on campus, SOSA members will create “community supported agriculture” opportunities for students and faculty members to purchase local produce at their student-made farm stand, while they distribute information about the event.
Through its partnership with PhilaU, Parkhurst Dining Services also provides multiple opportunities for local farmers to be involved with them through their FarmSource program, an operation which connects farmers directly to Parkhurst dining locations.

This reduces the time and effort required of each location and is key to their success as larger hospitality operations often find the challenge of connecting directly with farmers an overwhelming commitment due to the ordering system, inventory management and lack of delivery systems. Currently, Parkhurst purchases 30 percent of their food from local producers.

Parkhurst Dining Services was recently awarded the 7th Annual Harvest Award for connecting communities, farmers and food. This award was created by the Glynwood organization, the not-for-profit organization whose mission is to save farming in the North East in order to highlight innovative work being done to increase access to fresh, locally-produced food and to recognize leaders across the country who support regional agricultural systems.

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