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Grown on campus: a look at the Dairy Bar’s sourcing

Located at the train station (adjacent to the Whittemore Center), the Dairy Bar is an establishment that takes great pride in serving food that comes from various local and wholesome products.

The restaurant’s menu boasts over 30 flavors of ice cream to choose from, along with a variety of freshly made sandwiches and salads.

So, exactly how local is local?

The tasty, old-fashioned ice cream served at the Dairy Bar is made with fresh milk and cream and is supplied from Gifford’s, a family-owned creamery located in Skowhegan, Maine.

The eggs used for their famous breakfast sandwiches are supplied from Pete & Gerry’s Organic Eggs, which is located in Monroe. Its website claims that its egg business happened to be one the Northeast USA’s top-selling brand of organic, cage-free, humane-certified eggs.

If one were to order a salad, however, there’s a good chance that all of its ingredients came from the UNH greenhouses, which are about a half-mile from the restaurant.

“We get all our greens from the high tunnels here at UNH thanks to the agriculture students,” said Jane Calef, the manager of the restaurant.

Calef is referring to one of the newer agriculture courses offered at the university, Food Production Field Experience, which is a two-part course that provides students with a unique, hands-on experience in growing food and managing a small farm business.

The students get to experience what it’s like to raise crops in ‘high tunnels’. High tunnels have become a popular trend among commercial farmers. The unheated greenhouses are used to extend the growing season in order to further improve the profitability and productivity of their farm.

The Food Production Field Experience online course descriptions both include that students will be growing fresh vegetables and certain fruits specifically for the Dairy Bar, in exchange for a rewarding learning experience.

On top of having a focus on serving food made with local and wholesome ingredients, the Dairy Bar also claims to have a focus on sustainability.

All food scraps from the Dairy Bar go to the university’s composting operation at Kingman Farm. Once the waste turns into compost, it returns to the UNH high tunnels with the students to help grow the next crop of greens.

“That’s what makes this business so great,” said employee Rachel Clarke-Pounder on the enviro-friendly efforts of the Dairy Bar. “Sometimes I think that the ice cream is just a bonus.”

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