Martinsburg VA Wins Sustainability Award

FoodService Director - News - Martinsburg VA Wins Sustainability AwardMARTINSBURG, W.Va.—The 577-bed Martinsburg VA Medical Center was awarded the 2009 VA Sustainability Achievement Award from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Food and Nutrition staff was given the award for its Waste Watchers program, which reduces the department’s waste. The Waste Watchers program focuses waste reduction efforts in three areas: source reduction, food donation and composting.

The first step in the program was to track how much waste was created. The staff manually weighed and tracked pre-consumer waste in April 2008. They found that about 1,500 pounds of pre-consumer food waste was created each week. In December 2009, an electronic tracking system was implemented to help track waste. Then the department started reducing waste at the source. “We started looking at better forecasting,” said Annemarie Price, operations manager. “Unfortunately, there is going to be food waste. We have a patient cafeteria and we strive to offer options. We want the very last veteran to get the same selection as everybody else. This program has helped us look at food waste and reduce it.”

FoodService Director - News - Martinsburg VA Wins Sustainability AwardThe next step was composting pre-consumer waste, which began in May 2009. “After every meal in the cafeteria, we put any waste in biodegradable bags,” Price said. “We store these bags in our freezers so that the local farmer who takes our compost only has to come twice a month for pick ups.”

The third part of the program is donating leftover food to a local non-profit, Potomac Highlands Support Services, which has veteran housing on the hospital’s campus. Leftover meals from the cafeteria are donated to the organization.
Since starting the Waste Watchers program, food waste has decreased by 80% to 300 pounds per week.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

The University of Maryland will begin offering weekly specials at all of its dining halls this semester, The Diamond Back reports.

The weekday specials will allow Dining Services to offer past menu items that students miss as well as new dishes students have been requesting, according to a spokesperson.

Students can find out which specials are being offered each week via dining hall table tents as well as through Dining Services’ social media. During select weeks, the specials may reflect a particular theme, such as Taste of the South.

Read the full story via...

Menu Development
salad chicken

Vegetables and grains have stepped into the spotlight, thanks to the “flipping the plate” trend, but protein is still an important part of a balanced diet. Sources including meat, cheese, nuts, and meat alternatives such as tofu and tempeh can and should still be on the plate—albeit as a side dish or topping rather than the main event.

“Whatever we do [as FSDs] needs to be rooted in the culture, and today’s culture is all about healthy eating and plant-focused meals,” says Chris Studtmann, executive chef at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. “A recipe is an idea; culture is...

Menu Development
jackfruit

It emerged as a top food trend on Pinterest’s 2017 predictions, is “the latest miracle food” according to Epicurious, and was called “a nutritional bonanza” by NPR. Jackfruit is the latest superfood garnering buzz, and Even Stevens Sandwiches has gone after the vegetarian-friendly option for a recently launched torta. Here, Culinary Director Brandon Price shares three lessons learned from adding jackfruit to the menu.

Finding the best form

Using fresh jackfruit wasn’t the answer for the chain. It has to be sourced internationally, and breaking it down cuts into labor costs. But...

Ideas and Innovation
hibachi grill cooking

We saw in 2016 that many operators were trying to have some type of display cooking in their food operation. We installed a hibachi grill this fall, and within three months we had 300 residents and guests make reservations. We also use our hibachi grill for cooking classes twice a month, where our hibachi chef Abby Kramer does an excellent job teaching different cuisines. We have received so many compliments that we have decided to get another hibachi grill for a different dining venue in 2017.

FSD Resources