Eat Local

From Farm Gate to your Campus Plate

Ontario's local fruits and vegetables have a growing season, which doesn't always 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 and were awarded funding from The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation. 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 while they are in season. We then process and store them in our freezers and storage facilities for the remainder of the year. With a wide variety of fresh vegetables that freeze well, we have been slicing, dicing, and pureeing our way to more local flavours. Our chefs' condiments include smoked Roma tomato jam, zucchini relish, apple butter, pickles, cherry bomb peppers, spicy beans, corn and peach salsa, and spicy ketchup.  Thus, implementing our processing facility allows us to continue supporting local farmers and growers and reduces the transportation and emissions required for our products to get to campus as we can buy more ingredients locally from here in Ontario. 


From Farm to Freezer 

One of the more exciting items we have previously 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. 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 to be used in compotes for catering desserts. We chop, blanch, and vacuum pack broccoli and cauliflower all summer so they can be used across campus in soups, salad bars, and pasta stations all year.


Pickling and Preserving Local

This production facility also allows us to pickle and jar many burger toppings served at the 100 Mile Grille in Creelman hall. These items include smoked Roma Tomato Jam, zucchini relish, apple butter, pickles, cherry bomb peppers, spicy beans, corn and peach salsa, and spicy ketchup.

This summer, our UofG Chefs prepared hundreds of pounds of house-made pickles from fresh cucumbers, the Elmira Produce Auction Co-operative and fresh dill from the Guelph Centre for Urban Organic Farming (GCUOF). This fall, you can find these pickles at the 100 Mile Grille in Creelman Hall. 


Our Partners

Our major supporting partners in this endeavour, with whom we secure the large volume of produce required, are the University of Guelph Research farms (Muck Crops, Vineland Station, and Simcoe Station), Don's Produce, Elmira Produce Auction Co-operative, and the Guelph Centre for Urban Organic Farming (GCUOF).