Category Archives: Local List

Local Food Spotlight: Blacksburg Bagels!

Wondering where the insanely delicious bagel you ate at Farms & Fields this week came from? Meet our featured local producer, Blacksburg Bagels: responsible for your delectable, doughy, ring-shaped snack!

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Hole-y moly, would you look at that spread!

Jessica and Pete – also known as the “Bagel Lady” and “Pie Guy” – have each been baking for a while, but only started working as business partners in the last couple years. Jessica, a Virginia Tech grad, started realizing her talent when she was a student involved with the Sustainable Food Corps. After apprenticing on a farm in Montana, she decided to bring her skills back home and pursue working with local markets full-time! Pete also has a VT background, and after many years working for the university, he decided he wanted to apply his business and communication skills to something he could sink his teeth into. From this, a beautiful, bountiful, bagel-baking business was born!

Although Blacksburg Bagels just started producing for Dining Services this year, they supply a wide variety of baked goods to businesses throughout Blacksburg and beyond. They also sell much more than just the obvious: their pitas, pies, pizza doughs, and breads are just a few examples of what’s usually on the menu. You’re most likely to catch Blacksburg Bagels at the downtown Farmer’s Market on Wednesdays (Gluten-free day! 2-6) and Saturdays (9-2). Hint: if you buy their t-shirt, you get free bagels for life (sorry – offer not valid in dining halls)!

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Grab one of these (or a dozen…) and some local veggies at the farmer’s market for a healthy Saturday lunch!

Perhaps the best part about Blacksburg Bagels – yes, even better than their buttery pretzels – is their love for sustainability and the local community. Because they don’t have an established bakeshop, Jessica and Pete are able to focus on working with and supporting other local businesses. This also means that they can create small, custom batches and develop their recipes – which is good for the rest of us, too!

Blacksburg Bagels is excited to be working with Dining Services, and the partnership means much more than just bagels on our plates: it means nourishing ourselves and our local community in a sustainable way.

Check out our twitter (@VTGreenDining) to make sure you catch Blacksburg Bagels on the Farms & Fields menu. Believe me – you don’t want to miss what they’ve baked up for us!

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Eating Locally through the Winter

This post was written by Hayley Billingsley, a student in the Human Nutrition, Foods & Exercise Program and as well as the Civic Agriculture and Food Systems Minor.  

As winter approaches, we look forward to holiday traditions and wonderful food shared with family, but we tend to lose some of the fresh variety that summer offers. No longer are beautiful ripe fruits available locally in abundance, but not to fear! Virginia produce is still available throughout the winter and might offer new flavors and foods you may have not yet experienced.  For example, at a recent Thanksgiving meal with friends, the hostess prepared roasted Brussels Sprouts from her garden in Highland County, Virginia (in season through December in Virginia) and I discovered my dreaded childhood food was actually pretty tasty! More examples of foods available at Virginia markets through December include potatoes, apples, broccoli, onions, winter squash, kale, a variety of lettuces and more!

Did you know that Brussels Sprouts grow on stalks like this?

Did you know that Brussels Sprouts grow on stalks like this?

How can this be?  Some farmers use heated structures (greenhouses) or even just frames (hoophouses) to create a more friendly environment for plants to grow.  By starting with crops that are fairly cold resistant, like brussels sprouts and kales, the plants have a good chance of making it through the winter.  Have space in your backyard, check out this tutorial for building your own cold frame and even you can grow a few things in your backyard!

http://www.vegetablegardener.com/item/2504/cold-frame-gardening/page/all

Cold Frames work even in the snow!

The town of Blacksburg has its own year-round farmer’s market. The hours change slightly as the season gets cooler, but it’s an excellent opportunity to keep an eye on what’s seasonally available. This Friday 12/6, there will be one of several Holiday Craft markets as part of the Winter Lights Festival.

While  you’re home on your winter break, browse your local market if it happens to be year-round and incorporate some local ingredients in your favorite holiday dishes! Not to mention the beautiful handmade items created by local vendors make great gifts for friends and family!

Learn more here about what is typically available in Virginia by season.

Local Roasted Brussels Sprouts - don't mind if I do!

Local Roasted Brussels Sprouts – don’t mind if I do!

Once you find your local Brussels Sprouts, here’s a recipe from Ina Garten to do them justice!

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
3 tablespoons good olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut off the brown ends of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves. Mix them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour them on a sheet pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly. Sprinkle with more kosher salt and serve immediately.

Virginia Tech Milk to be served on campus!

Virginia Tech Dining Services will begin serving VT Milk at D2 starting Tuesday January 22, 2013!

Sign up for Dairy Barn Tour on Wednesday Feb 13.

VT Milk slogan

One of Dining Services 7 guiding Principles states that we will, “Promote a sustainable dining and food system at Virginia Tech and therefore in the greater community.”

How do we quantify local?  Here at VT Dining Services, we consider local to be anything grown and processed within a 250 mile radius of Virginia Tech.  As shown below, that includes all of Virginia except for the Eastern Shore, all of West Virginia, and significant portions of North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.

The blue circle shows a 250 mile radius from Blacksburg, VA. Everything grown and processed within this circle is considered local.

Virginia Tech is a land grant university, meaning that Agricultural Education and Research is an integral piece of the fiber that makes up Virginia Tech as an institution.  The Virginia Tech Dairy, located on campus, is a center for teaching and research for the Department of Dairy Science.   Milk will be harvested from cows at the Virginia Tech Dairy, sent to the James River Work Center to be pasteurized and then delivered to Blacksburg to be served at D2.

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Interested in Learning More?

In partnership with the Virginia  Tech Dairy Center, tours will be offered for those interested.  There will be three tours offered this Spring semester and each tour will be capped at 25 people.  Sign up for a tour here.  Plan accordingly for weather, wear close toed shoes and expect to get a little dirty!

Tour Dates for Spring 2013:

  • Tuesday Jan 29, 1 PM
  • Wednesday February 13, 1 PM
  • Thursday March 7, 1 PM

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Earth Week at Dining Services

This week, find select local/sustainable and/or organic items in our dining centers in celebration of Earth Week.

The items below can be found in Owens Food Court.

DAILY

TUESDAY 4/17

  • Baked Ziti with Spinach and Sausage from Virginia Tech Meats
  • Roasted local sweet potatoes

WEDNESDAY 4/18

  • Beef Chili with Virginia Tech Meats

THURSDAY 4/19

  • Chili Con Carne with Beef from Virginia Tech Meats
  • Roasted Fresh Ham from Virginia Tech Meats
  • Farms & Fields will have its first asparagus of the season from Tidewater!

FRIDAY 4/20

  • Cajun Swai with Monterey Bay Seafood Watch “Good Alternative” rating

SATURDAY 4/21

  • Beef and Barley Soup with Virginia Tech Meats
  • Roasted red local potatoes

SUNDAY 4/22

  • Herb Crusted Swai with Monterey Bay Seafood Watch “Good Alternative” rating

MONDAY 4/23

Local, Organic Broccoli at D2 next week

All of next week, D2 dining facility will be serving local, organic broccoli. The fresh veggies are from Appalachian Harvest farmers’ cooperative based out of Southwestern Virginia. Appalachian Harvest (a program out of non-profit Appalachian Sustainable Development) works to fortify the region’s food system with healthy, nutritious, organic foods. This broccoli will also be served at Farms & Fields, which serves local, organic broccoli every time it is served during harvest season (and organic when local is not available). This broccoli will be intermixed with the broccoli already coming in at this time of year from the Dining Services Garden at Kentland Farm.

This special week is part of our commitment to bring in local, organic, and/or sustainable food whenever we are able at Virginia Tech Dining Services. We are committed to serving you safe, nutritious, and environmentally conscious food.

Local Items around campus week 9/13

Find these items next week featured at Farms and Fields and around campus:

Zucchini Squash

Yellow Squash

Cucumbers

Collard Greens

Turnip Greens

Kale

Green Cabbage

Red Cabbage

White Corn

Eggplant

Acorn Squash

Spaghetti Squash

Butternut Squash

Gala Apples

Granny Smith Apples

Local Items week of 9/6

Check out these local items that will be appearing around campus this week for certain menu items/venues:

Zucchini Squash

Yellow Squash

Cucumbers

Collard Greens

Green Cabbage

Red Cabbage

Vine Ripe Tomatoes

Yellow Corn

White Corn

Eggplant

Watermelons

Peaches

Acorn Squash

Spaghetti Squash

Butternut Squash

Gala Apples