February 1, 2021, SUMMIT, NJ- The CulinArt dining services team at a corporate dining client in suburban New Jersey is sourcing produce from near and not-so-far in its quest to create fresh, high-quality, sustainable meals. “The campus’ raised-bed gardens are a great success. They give us the opportunity to create specials and menu items using the vegetables we grew right on site,” said Tom Mahler, CulinArt’s General Manager. He attributes both the garden and local supplier market to the team’s ability to craft the freshest, seasonal recipes that customers appreciate. “It’s amazing how much product you can grow in a small amount of space,” Executive Chef Jack Yuksel says.
The campus has several gardens where the team grows a wide variety of produce including 30 pounds a week of tomatoes and an endless amount of herbs. They source additional ingredients and specialty items from a growing list of local farms and suppliers that comprise 40% of the operation’s total purchases. These relationships allow the team to introduce customers to this supplier network and encourage them to help sustain it. “Our chefs show them how to purchase sustainably, to help people eat better,” Mahler says. At a recent farmers’ market hosted onsite, the dining team sold 80% of its inventory and used the rest for menu specials.
This article is an excerpt from Compass Group’s “Our Story 2020” Corporate Social Responsibility report. Click here to view the CSR full report.