Why do we make the food choices we do?
How do we make decisions about local and organic foods?
Where does our food come from?
How much food do we get from Beech Hill Farm?
What does the kitchen consider when making decisions about seafood & fish?
What’s the story with compost from the kitchen?
What is the relationship between TAB and the café?
What do you purchase Fair Trade?
What percentage of meals are vegetarian?
Can we accommodate dietary restrictions?
What kinds of fats are used in the kitchen?
How much food is pre-processed?
How many meals include proteins, starches, and vegetables?
How can I give feedback?

Why do we make the food choices we do?
The kitchen aims to provide healthy, flavorful, and responsible/sustainable foods. However, we can only get what’s available; we do our best to balance the price of food with the moral parameters expressed by the college community.   

How do we make decisions about local and organic foods?
The primary factors for local and organic purchasing are cost and availability, both in terms of seasonality and quantity. Because we live in Maine and students expect and require some variety in their diets, many food purchases can’t be sourced locally and organically. Although there are local and organic sources for some foods, many of them cannot provide a high enough quantity stock for us. Meat, for example, cannot always be sourced locally because we require regular large amounts. During the summer months, when summer programs are using TAB, we are able to provide the highest quantity of local and organic food. Fall is another good time to source locally; during these months we use up to 75% local food in the kitchen. In winter months however, there isn’t much we can get.
Our other major factor is cost. We generally pay the going price for anything available locally, but with organic foods we sometimes have to balance the kitchen’s budget, students’ budgets, and what is available. We recognize that most COA students try to be frugal and can’t afford to spend huge amounts at every meal. The bottom line is that we get what’s available locally or that is organic, as long as the price isn’t overly costly.

Where does our food come from?
All over the place. We regularly purchase chicken from an Amish chicken farm in Pennsylvania; we buy lamb and beef from Meadowsweet Farm (about 40% of our meat is “local”); we get our dairy from Garelick Farms; our distributor gets fruits and vegetables wherever they are most locally available; we buy tofu from our distributor (PFG Northcenter); and we buy our grains from Associated Buyers (based in the Northeast). We make our seitan and tempeh in the kitchen.

How much food do we get from Beech Hill Farm?
We try to use as much food from Beech Hill Farm as we can. If it is available and we can store it, TAB will purchase it. Beech Hill emphasizes selling much of their produce through Community Supported Agriculture and the farm stand. Availability varies widely by season and year, as with all local crops.

What does the kitchen consider when making decisions about seafood & fish?
Seafood:
We buy most of our seafood from Maine Shellfish; they source as locally as possible. When it is available and in season, we buy shrimp and scallops right off the boat.

Why farm raised salmon? 
The salmon alternative to locally farm‐raised is Alaskan wild caught, which we have available to us after it is shipped overseas for freeze‐processing. Instead, we purchase local farm raised salmon, which we try to source from aquaculture farms that we know to be responsibly run.

What’s the story with compost from the kitchen?
During the summer and fall, compost from the COA kitchen goes to Beach Hill Farm and is composted there. The farm generally picks it up when it delivers produce so as to avoid making multiple trips with their truck. During the winter and spring, our kitchen scraps are composted in the Community Garden by work‐study students.   

What is the relationship between TAB and the café?
The majority of food for the two dining areas differs. The café provides primarily sandwiches and other lunch and snack foods like pizzas and smoothies, while TAB has full hot meals. Students can use their meal plans at either the Sea Urchin or TAB for one meal, with one meal being equivalent to $8 of café products.

What do you purchase Fair Trade?
All of our coffee is Fair Trade, as are most of our staples such as rice, beans, and other grains. We hope to see greater availability of these items and are working towards a point where all of our foods can be fair trade.   

What percentage of meals are vegetarian?
One‐third of meals from the kitchen are vegetarian. Of the 15 meals each week, 5‐6 are exclusively vegetarian. There are vegetarian and vegan options available at every meal.

Can you accommodate dietary restrictions?
We accommodate a wide range of dietary restrictions. Students can notify us of their restrictions when they complete their meal plan forms. It is much easier to ensure that we always accommodate specific restrictions if we know when a student will be present to eat, that is to say if they are on a meal plan rather than a declining balance.

What kinds of fats are used in the kitchen?
The kitchen mostly uses canola and extra‐virgin olive oil for cooking. In some cases we use sesame oil or other flavoring oils.  

How much food is preprocessed?
Well under 10% of our foods are preprocessed (such as veggie burgers or veggie sausage). We only use these foods if we consider them to be a good product and get good feedback from students.  

How many meals include proteins, starches, and vegetables?
Every meal includes options for each of these three nutritional requirements.

How can I give feedback?
Community members are welcome to submit comments or suggestions at the annual Student Life Committee meeting about the kitchen, in the comment book in TAB, or directly with Ken or Lise in the kitchen.