Union South, University of Wisconsin, Madison

By creating distinctive concepts, the UW Union South has become a campus destination.

A wood-stone hearth oven is the centerpiece of this sandwich and salad concept, which also is where Union South dining focuses its local purchasing efforts. There is a 60-room hotel in the union, and Harvest Grains often lures hotel guests downstairs in the morning with its hearth-finished breakfast sandwiches such as the Titletown, which includes egg, sausage, Wisconsin cheddar and green peppers. Other sandwiches include the The Pretzel (oven-roasted turkey, smoked ham, swiss cheese, caramelized onions and stone-ground mustard on a pretzel roll) and the Farmers’ Market (grilled portobello mushroom, organic spring greens, tomatoes, red onions and hummus on a cheese roll), as well as salads and sides.

Harvest Grains takes advantage of as many local products as the department can source, says Korz, be it local produce, baked goods or even tortilla chips.

“The university has a tremendous relationship with agriculture, so it is important to make those connections” Korz says. “It’s also a challenge because you have to react to the seasonality of the menus, which is something we currently do through specials. I don’t think we have fully realized our potential for working in as much local and organic in that location as we can. [Harvest Grains] is one [unit] that I think is ripe for more development.” 

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The students were asked to create the lunch after they participated in a program called Clean Plate, which had them examine how healthy eating affects the human body. The district’s foodservice director has worked to help the students understand what is required of school lunches that meet national nutrition standards and make sense for large-volume preparation.

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From WhiteWave Away from Home.

Organic food has gone mainstream in recent years. And consumers of all ages believe organic food is not just healthier—but tastier—than conventional counterparts, according to Technomic’s 2016 Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report.

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