Sodexo at Saint Michael’s has been recognized as a Gold Barn honoree with the Vermont Fresh Network.
The 20-year-old Richmond-based Vermont Fresh Network (VFN) is “…dedicated to connecting farmers, food producers, and chefs that support Vermont agriculture, and bring fresh, flavorful, high-quality food to all Vermonters and our guests,” according to the VFN website, which describes criteria for Gold Barn honorees:
“All Vermont Fresh Network chefs have to know their farmers and serve products from Vermont, but there are some chefs whose commitment to Vermont-grown products is exceptional. The Gold Barn Honor gives VFN a chance to acknowledge these chefs. Each Gold Barn Chef meets both of the following requirements: Sourcing ingredients from 15 or more Vermont Fresh Network farmers; and, 35% of their annual food expenditures are purchased from VT farmers and food producers, or they purchase over $200,000 of VT grown food products annually.”
Further, “Gold Barn Chefs are the top 25% of our membership in terms of the number of Vermont farmers they partner with the diversity of Vermont ingredients that they use and the volume of Vermont products they purchase. It is an inspiring group and we are pleased to give them the recognition they deserve.”
The Vermont Fresh Network encourages farmers, food producers and chefs to work directly with each other to build partnerships in the belief that building these regional connections contributes to stronger local communities and their economies. “Our purpose also is the education of our consumers. Through our website and links, we hope to educate the dining public on the quality and diversity of Vermont grown foods, as well as the economic impact of supporting local businesses, states the website,” their website states.
Brian Roper, general manager for Sodexo at Saint Michael’s, said it was gratifying to learn with the recent announcement of this year’s Gold Barn honor that “we are right in the mix with all fine dining establishments in the state.”
The listing for Sodexo at Saint Michael’s on the VFN website lays out the scope of its commitment to the group’s mission: “From purchasing local seasonal produce whenever possible to reducing inorganic and organic waste, your campus team is dedicated to providing you with an exceptional dining experience that is good for you and good for the planet. Sodexo is committed to supporting local community development and sourcing local, seasonal and sustainably grown or raised products. We proudly purchase products from over 1400 local farms to feed students and guests in the same state or region.”
Under the heading “atmosphere,” the listing states, “Laid-back ambience, jeans and t-shirt are the norm.” It notes that the College’s food-service operation also was “honored as Partners with Organic Farmers,” and states that “Vermont Products served” include “Baked Goods, Dairy, Eggs, Fruit, Grains & Flour, Herbs, Honey, Maple, Meat/Protein, Specialty Products, Wine & Spirits.”
Member partners with Sodexo at Saint Michael’s include: Best of Vermont, LLC; Black River Produce; Blythedale Farm; Boyden Farm, LLC; Cabot Creamery Cooperativel; Cavendish Game Birds; Cellars at Jasper Hill; Champlain Orchards Inc.; Citizen Cider; Fresh Tracks Farm Vineyard & Winery; Grafton Village Cheese; Joes Kitchen at Screamin' Ridge Farm; Kimball Brook Farm Organic Creamery; Maple Meadow Farm; Maple Wind Farm; Misty Knoll Farms; Mountain Home Farm; Nitty Gritty Grain Company of Vermont; Rockville Market Farm; Scott Farm; Shelburne Farms Cheese; Snow Farm Vineyard & Winery; Sunrise Orchards, Inc.; Taylor Farm, Inc.; Vermont Bean Crafters Co;Vermont Chevon, LLC; Vermont Fresh Pasta; Vermont Smoke & Cure; Vermont Switchel Company; and The Woodchuck Hard Cider (Vermont Hard Cider Company, LLC)