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

“Thanks so much for a great week of food here at SCH to start off 2021. Everything has been fantastic. The kids were loving the Chinese food and boxes today. The Moo Shu Pork was amazing. Great work!”

“Thank You! Chef Budd [and team], you overcame a new online ordering system (and hundreds of labels daily!), provided creative and healthy menus, continued to connect with local farmers to incorporate locally sourced ingredients, and worked tirelessly to serve the school community on three campuses.  While it feels like you are all a little like the Wizard of Oz right now, working behind a curtain in a kitchen far away, we sense your smiles and your passion to deliver the best possible service during these trying times. We are all so grateful!”

“Thank you for all the accommodations for food intolerances and allergies.  I continue to hear positive comments about the quality of the food and the options. Please pass along our thanks and gratitude to your whole team!!!!”

“Thank you for including me today in the food waste demonstration/[chef competition] and flattering me with the role of “judge.” I will proudly don the [Stop Food Waste Day] apron the next time I plan an “event” in our own kitchen. I think this is a very worthwhile cause and the statistics you read off are staggering. They, alone, can intimidate a home chef, let alone be the “driver’ for a professional one.”

“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.”

“We appreciate the excellent service that is a hallmark of the Chadwick Culinart team. You all are such professionals - and you always deliver your service in such a pleasant manner! Thank you for everything you do to help make the Village events successful. We greatly appreciate your talents, efforts, 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.”

“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 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.”

“You know that I haven't been home (India) for a long time now.  I miss my mama, I miss the food, I miss the smells, I miss the people. Starting yesterday, I started to smell my mama's kitchen at Parker.  I KNEW something Indian was brewing; I could smell the garam masala!  Thank you for the delicious tofu curry.  It made my belly and soul happy.”

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