Brookwood School Turns Growing Season Around—Indoors - CulinArt Group

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Brookwood School Turns Growing Season Around—Indoors

MANCHESTER, MASS., March 31, 2021—September is usually known as a month in which to harvest, not plant. But at Brookwood School in Manchester, Mass., planting in September means fresh-picked produce will be available to cooks just a few months later.

A hydroponic planting system called Terra Garden is situated in the cafeteria fully visible to students and produces herbs, lettuce, and, most recently, chili peppers. “It’s inexpensive, efficient and very visual,” explains Chris Tighe, CulinArt’s director of dining services at Brookwood, “so the kids see it and can get involved with it.”

The best part? Using the produce in school menus. “The local growing season is very short,” Tighe says. Brookwood is located northeast of Boston, in the direct path of Nor’easters and subject to harsh winters. “We can plan in September and by November-December, we have full-on salad greens. We set up a demo table around Earth Day and again in winter to create a salad made Chef’s Table–style.” Rather than focus on how the hydroponic system helps to avoid cost, Tighe emphasizes the educational value to students. “Science teachers involve it in their classes and it is visual to parents as well,” he notes.

The system used at Brookwood costs about $350. Tighe supplements what it can produce with local greens and vegetables from greenhouse growers in nearby Maine which grow salad ingredients year-round. Tighe also uses a pair of Aero Gardens to grow produce indoors in much the same way as the Terra Garden.

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  • March 31, 2021
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What our clients are saying

“We want to take a moment to celebrate all the employees who worked on the front lines during unprecedented times. Your efforts and dedication to going above and beyond are noticed and appreciated. Thank you for being the heart and soul of CulinArt Group. We couldn’t do this without you. Chef Jay and Chef Paul have been so awesome in the Hubbell Café.  There has been significant change, but they take it in stride and keep the delicious food coming.  We truly appreciate them!”

“I wanted to recognize the individuals at the Valley Forge Site Café who have been supporting us throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic.  I have been onsite at least a few days every week since June 2020 and I noticed that the team continued to provide quality and timely service for breakfast and lunch.  They effectively packaged the food to maintain CDC guidelines. Thank you!  ”

“I just wanted to touch base as another school year draws to end. I cannot thank you enough for how smoothly this year went. Chef Felix [Herrera] and his staff made it seamless in a year with lots of wrinkles.    ”

“We were totally impressed by the presentation and care in which these new team members were brought into the CulinArt family. So happy we made the decision to choose CulinArt Group.”

“This is EXACTLY the type of service and experience we had always envisioned for our patients at MSK Koch!  Thank you Chef Ryan for going out of your way for this patient and all patients and staff!”

“Many, and I do mean many, thanks for a great Parents Weekend.  I heard from so many happy parents and you all work very hard to make it happen.  In gratitude and kindness…”

“We are so thankful and so impressed by your immediate attention to our power outage. It was such a relief to see all the equipment and workers coming in within a few hours of the outage. Thank you for serving dinner to all [the] students in a very difficult circumstance. Please extend our thanks to your workers who braved cold weather to grill hamburgers and hotdogs.”

“What a wonderful dinner we had tonight for our international families. The food was delicious and well presented as well.”

“I’m the GM for Branson [Ultrasonics] and based in the Brookfield office.  This is the first week that the café has been up and running in our new headquarters and just want to acknowledge the great job Adam Schnittert and the CulinArt staff onsite have done.  Our employees’ feedback thus far has been very positive.  The expanded options and menu quality have been very well received.  Just want to send you a quick note of thanks.”

“I wanted to let you know that for this entire school year I have been so well fed! I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE all the diversity of salad choices we have each day and the amazing entrees.  My favorites are the carnitas, chili, curry, and cajun chicken days.  I am so grateful for all the care that goes into the food because I know I do not eat enough vegetables or balanced meals without you and your crew's work.  Thank you so much!  You take such great care of us!!”

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