Each year Unity College’s award-winning Dining Services department holds a Hunters & Huggers dinner to spotlight its “buy local” approach. Among the many Maine-based businesses that are providing produce, meat, and seafood for the dinner are Maine lobstermen. The dinner features a menu of local products related to the dinner’s hunting and agricultural / organic theme.

The 2012 Hunters & Huggers dinner will take place in the Unity College cafeteria, Wyman Commons in North / South Founders Hall, on Wednesday, September 26, 90 Quaker Hill Road, Unity, Maine.

The dinner is open to the general public. The cost is $8 per person for the general public and on-campus students who live in the cottages or TerraHaus; $7 for faculty and staff; students on the meal plan may present their cards as for every meal. Payment may be made at the door on a first-come, first-serve basis. The meal will be held from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The menu features:

Tomato Bruschetta, Assorted Maine Cheeses, Roast of Venison, Fresh Maine Lobster, Zucchini Tomato Tart, Vegan Strudel, Roasted Red New Potatoes with Smoky Paprika, Sautéed Fresh Veggies, Local Breads, Chocolate Zucchini Cake, Indian Pudding and Maple Creams.

The products and suppliers are:

Spinach, J&P’s farm; basil – Ground Well Farm; thyme,Village Farm; mixed peppers, Levesque; red norland potatoes, Natures Circle; corn meal, Morgan’s Mills; whole wheat flour, Aurora Mills; gouda, Sonnental Dairy; cheddar , Sonnental Dairy; pepper jack, Sonnental Dairy; cream cheese, Tourmaline Hill; chevre blueberry, Tourmaline Hill; chevre chive, Tourmaline Hill; heiwa tofu, Maine maple syrup – spring break.

The dinner was the brainchild of Dining Services Manager Lorey Duprey, a Maine native with strong ties to the dairy industry. Her vision was to incorporate Maine’s local food systems and its history into the recent buy-local trend through a special event.

“Dining services at Unity College is focused on purchasing local whenever possible,” said Duprey. “Sustainability is a core value and buying local is in-keeping with the best practices of a sustainable approach to dining services.” Part of maintaining the highest level of service, food quality and responsiveness to student preferences keeping dining services in-house. Unlike the majority of colleges and universities nationally that outsource their dining services to corporations, Unity’s dining services is college owned and controlled.

The result is a more sustainable approach to dining services.

“This event is not just meant to be a great meal- but an opportunity to create some conversation around food and the food system,” noted Sara Trunzo, Food and Farm Projects Coordinator at Unity College. “Lobster, for instance, is on the menu because it is usually affordable due to the recent “glut”-and to initiate some discussion about how a changing global climate is impacting Maine’s ecosystem and economy. There’s a lot of learning in that lobster.”

“Our students consider it important to know where their food comes from,” said Sustainability Coordinator Jesse Pyles. “The Hunters & Huggers dinner highlights Maine’s local food traditions, and presents a variety of approaches to sustainable eating.”

Duprey noted that Maine-based suppliers for the dinner include Crown of Maine, Green Earth Gardens, Applegate Deer Farm, and PFG North Center.

Unity College is a small private college in rural Maine that provides dedicated, engaged students with a liberal arts education which emphasizes the environment and natural resources. Unity College graduates are prepared to be environmental stewards, effective leaders, and responsible citizens through active learning experiences within a supportive community.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012