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 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.”

“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 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!!”

“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…”

“With all the prep work from Winterim ramping up and classes continuing as usual, it's a busy time to be a Forman teacher. Imagine my delight, tired as I was, when I delved into the upscale-restaurant-quality chicken parmesan our dining hall served last night. Forman is all about support, and providing our students with a dinner of that quality is just as important a measure of support as anything that happens in a classroom.”

“Just came back to campus after a year of pandemic [and] just want to say that I can really tell the effort that both dining halls and all of the other locations are really putting in to make us students still feel like there is more than enough food available, good food, fresh food, healthy food. I don't think students are aware that there is such a food shortage/worker shortage and that what goes on behind the scenes must be a logistical nightmare. But I recognize it at least :) the staff was been so friendly and kind, even in the very rare occasion when something took longer than expected I could tell they were trying their absolute hardest to provide it fast and with great quality. Great job to all of them, this one student greatly appreciates the effort you all do. -Student, Stony Brook University”

“Thank you all for such a wonderful grand pasta buffet on Friday! Everything went so incredibly smooth - from set-up to break-down. The menu was thoughtfully planned and the lunch was such a treat and undeniably delicious - the best I’ve ever had! I have heard only glowing reviews of the luncheon. Thank you guys today and every day!”

“I have really appreciated the wonderful cafeteria staff we have via Culinart and the thoughtful meals they provide our kids. They're truly one in a million. I have also really appreciated the dedication Parker and CulinArt share to sustainability and green practices on campus. I am so thankful that Parker has chosen CulinArt, a company that shares Parker values, and that they took the time and effort at such a hard time to make sure that Parker is always on the forefront of green practices and safety - never compromising.”

“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.”

“Thank you so very much for the AMAZING dinner you provided for the President, Dean and Jim & Marilyn Simons. They really enjoyed it!! It was perfectly thought out and delicious. Your expertise and impeccable presentation and taste were truly appreciated!”

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