Food Services supports local produce with squash tasting


Squash was offered for a tasting in Roess Dining Hall on Tuesday afternoon. Photo by Charlie Montero | The Appalachian

Aleah Warner

Food Services encouraged students to try new foods at their Monotony Break event in the dining halls on campus Wednesday. The event promoted winter squashes by having members from Food Services hand out samples of acorn and butternut squash to students.

This was the third Monotony Break event of the semester, following the oatmeal bar tasting in September and the Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee tasting in August.

The purpose of these Monotony Break events is to introduce the campus to new products, or products that students might be hesitant to try, said Food Services specialist Heather Brandon.

“I think it lets everyone know that there are more options than just pizza and pasta,” sophomore psychology major Brianne Pacey said. “You actually can have home-cooked food instead of just cafeteria food.”

Brandon said winter squash has been on the menu for over a decade but many students have yet to familiarize themselves with it.

“We’ve been promoting it more in the last four years but it’s always been something we’ve had on the menu because it’s a traditional Appalachian product,” Brandon said. “We’ve just found that for one reason or another people haven’t been exposed to butternut squash or acorn squash.”

In addition to encouraging students to try new foods, Food Services also uses these Monotony Breaks as opportunities to promote locally grown foods. The butternut and acorn squash are both products of Local APPetites, a program designed to incorporate local produce into the menus on campus.

“A big thing is, too, that we’re promoting local farmers,” assistant director of Food Services Charlie Wallis said. “Anytime people buy these squashes we’re helping the local farmers sell their products. We’re trying to create awareness about all these things local farmers have given to campus and how we’re helping them.”

Food Services hopes students will broaden their horizons when trying new foods that the dining halls provide and will continue to have Monotony Break events in the spring semester.

Story: Aleah Warner, Intern A&E Reporter