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Tasting tables bring nutritious samples to students

Posted February 29th, 2012 by UHDS News

For the last two years, Oregon State University Housing and Dining Services has partnered with the Student Stustainabilty Initiative and the Corvallis Environmental Center’s Harvest of the Month program to highlight local produce served in University Housing and Dining Services Dining Centers.

Each term, UHDS’ dining centers host a “Harvest of the Month” tasting table event where free samples of recipes using locally grown produce are given to guests along with information about the local farm where it was produced and the nutritional benefits of the featured produce.  Also, the recipes are available in the dining center (if the guest would like more than a taste!)  Nutrition student volunteers and interns provide nutrition information and the tasting samples.

Amanda Rhodes, a sophomore nutrition student has been involved with the program since the start. “What I like about the these tasting tables is working with the public to persuade them to taste the samples by focusing on the taste and the sustainability aspects.  This is an easier “sell” over focusing solely on the good nutritional aspects of eating fruits and vegetables.  Once they have their first bite … then we let them know how nutritious it is” Rhodes said.

The goal of this program is two-fold  1) to showcase UHDS’ commitment to locally grown produce and 2) to get customers to eat more fruits or vegetables by preparing them in an innovative way by OSU’s talented culinary team.  Jeff LaMagra, Assistant Director of Culinary Development, who is in  charge of the culinary team, said “It has been great to work our local farmers like Red Hat Melons in Albany,  Kenagy Farms, Riverwood Orchards and Truit Brothers (to name a few) to support a Farm to Fork program here on campus.  We’ve also worked with our campus Organic Grower’s Club and Oak Creek Farm to sell fresh campus grown  produce in our market and dining centers”.

Bruce Hoerauf, Chef de Cuisine at Arnold Dining Center, was the first chef to participate in the program. “ I like to feature recipes that aren’t prepared in the traditional way—we want to provide a wow experience, something customers will come back for here or make in their own kitchens”.   Some tasty recipes that have been featured include strawberry-chili pickled rhubarb, turnip citrus slaw, apple and rosemary chicken, butternut squash risotto, asparagus-sesame salad, orange-star anise glazed hubbard squash and sweet and sour red cabbage with clove.

Tara Sanders, UHDS Dietician

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