What is local?

At Hospitality Services, we define local food as grown or processed within a 200 km radius of our campus. Many of our specialty products are grown right here on the University of Guelph campus.

We're proud supporters of local farmers, businesses, and university partners, and that's why we believe our food satisfaction rates are so high.

We're proud to have the Ontario Agriculture College here at the University of Guelph. The agricultural college has allowed us to source so many specialty products right here on the University of Guelph campus and geographically surrounded us by food! We have access to incredible local farmers, businesses, and suppliers that pride themselves on contributing to our "Farm to Fork" style.

Local food in Ontario has a growing season, which doesn’t coincide with our students' return to campus. Although we buy as much local produce as we can during the regular growing season, we needed to find a way to increase our seasonal local produce purchases.

In 2012, we applied to and were awarded funding from The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation. These grant monies were for broader public sector businesses that support new and innovative Ontario local food initiatives. The purpose of our proposal was to design and install a large volume vegetable processing facility on campus, which would secure our commitment to purchasing locally and storing after the harvest season.

This processing facility allows us to purchase large volumes of locally grown fruits and vegetables (in season), processed and stored in our freezers and storage facilities for use throughout the remainder of the year. There is a wide variety of fresh vegetables that freeze well, and we have been slicing, dicing, and pureeing our way to more local flavours. As new produce varieties become available, we’ll be able to branch out into many products to offer more local food on local plates. We’ve already begun creating many preserves and jarred products for use in our foodservice operations.

What is Frozen?

One of the more interesting items that we have done is 1200 lbs of the University of Guelph millennium asparagus frozen to be used in our self‑service pasta bars, asparagus soup, and quiche. This asparagus is sourced from the Guelph Centre for Urban Organic Farming, 924 meters from our processing facility in Creelman Hall.

 We often process the local garlic scapes into a chopped blend into garlic scape pesto, making our signature aioli for sandwiches and burgers.

We blast freeze up to 100 flats of local berries each year in compotes for catering desserts.

We chop, blanch, and vac pack broccoli and cauliflower all summer to be used across campus in soups and salad bar/pasta stations.

This production facility also allows us to pickle and jar many burger toppings at the 100 Mile Grille in Creelman hall. These items include smoked roma tomato jam, house-made pickles and zucchini relish.