As one of Minnesota’s most expensive schools, St. Olaf’s has for years tried to give students their money’s worth when it comes to food. “Our students are definitely exposed to good cuisine and know a lot about food,” says general manager Peter Abrahamson. “They’re not going to be the type to turn up their nose and say they’d rather have chicken fingers and fries.”
As such, Abrahamson buys all its fruits, vegetables, and herbs from STOGROW, the student-run organic farm. He sources his meat and poultry from neighboring farms to ensure that it’s been raised without antibiotics or growth hormones. Apples are grown at an orchard just minutes from campus, and milk supplied by Hastings Creamery, a cooperative of family-owned dairy farms in Hastings, MN, about 20 miles from St. Olaf.
“We work hard to make sure we have the right fit,” Abrahamson says of his kitchen. “By relying on local farmers, I can ask face-to-face about how they grow their vegetables or feed their cattle and pigs.” Plus, after meals, all the waste goes into St. Olaf’s industrial composter and the compost is cycled back into STOGROW.