Food Studies program helps bring year-round fresh produce

Crops growing in a greenhouse
Inside look at Agbotic Farms’ greenhouse.
Students at the University’s dining centers may have noticed a fresh, new item on the salad bars: baby radishes and beet greens. The produce is sourced from Agbotic Farms, a local farm an hour north of campus in Sackets Harbor, New York. Purchasing from Agbotic Farms allows the University the ability to offer students fresh, locally grown produce year-round—difficult to achieve in the Northeast.

Earlier this year, the Food Studies Program in Falk College worked with the Adirondack North Country Association, a nonprofit that connects university and K-12 institutions with local farms, to bring to campus Kevin Richardson, Agbotic Farms executive vice president of sales and operations. Richardson met with Sustainability Management and Food Services staff, and Food Studies faculty, and a partnership was created.

Food Services and Sustainability Management staff took a trip to the farm to learn more about the operation. “The Food Services team was excited to make the visit to determine if their products would be a good fit for Syracuse University,” says Mark Tewksbury, director of residential dining. The University does its best to serve locally grown produce, but that has proven to be a challenge with New York’s short growing season.

Part of the review process involved learning if students liked the product. Food Services invited Agbotic Farms to share their produce at a Wednesday Feedback event at the Ernie Davis Dining Center this past February. Response to the baby greens was overwhelmingly positive. “The greens are new, fresh and a bit sweet,” remarked one of the student taste testers.

Read more about this partnership and the farm