By: Sarah Beera
Special to the Chronicle
"Eating at college is hard. Without the comforts of your home or your mother's homemade meals, food can become a burden at times. I understand. But, what you eat is so important! What might be even more important is what you know about the food that you're putting into your body. Fresh fruit, vegetables, omega-3 fatty acids, protein and carbohydrates are essential for a healthy diet...but we already know this. It isn't like we have health and fitness tips plastered all over the media to help us out, right? My point is that educating ourselves about our food choices is not only enlightening but can lead to positive health benefits and an improved well-being.
Hofstra's food supply is operated by Lackmann Culinary Services. Our university's food suppler is a local food vendor/distributor, J. Kings, that works with various local farms and upholds sustainable efforts within the food industry. For those who are familiar with the geography of Long Island, J. Kings' facilities and the farms they work with are just 50 to 60 iles out towards Eastern Long Island. Although this area appears much different than the urbanized and busy stereotype of Long Island, it also represents how connected our community is through sustainable agriculture. Most of the produce offered at Hofstra is grown right on Long Island! Family owned farms such as McBride Farms of Cutchogue, Densieski Farms of East Quogue, and Deer Run Farms of Brookhaven provide a majority of our fresh fruit and vegetables. Of course, not all of our produce can be bought locally year round because it is dependent on what is available and in season. For example, the harvest season begins around springtime and continues throughout the summertime which we then choose what is available to buy. Hofstra participates in this process with representatives visiting our local farms. J. Kings also provides for a portion of our meat supply which is hormone-free and pesticide-free. Other food items like chips, cookies, bread and so forth are also bought from local vendors including Pop Chip and Pop Corners in Long Island, Pepperidge Farms in Norwalk, CT, and Aladdin Bakery in Brooklyn just to name a few. Buying local food is not only beneficial towards our community and agribusiness, but also maintains efforts towards a sustainable lifestyle.
One particular highlight of Hofstra's sustainable food options is our seafood, served at Fernando's Fish Market in the Student Center, Director of Dining Service at Hofstra, Dennis Lestrange, explained that Lackmann's parent company, Compass, mandates for strictly only sustainably handled seafood to be bought and a sold in their company's venues. It is evident that the only reason endangered species of seafood continue to be overfished because their is a demand for it in the market; Chilean Seabass is a prime example of an endangered species of fish that is still served in some restaurants. The seafood sold at Fernando's Fish Market meets the sustainable standards set up by the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Being aware of what we put into our bodies can lead to a healthier lifestyle. Hofstra is working towards more sustainable practices by offering many vegetarian as well as vegan food options. Educating ourselves about the nutrition and roots of our food help us and eventually the community because we are essentially raising awareness for sustainable and natural food markets. Aside to prepared meals on campus, the weekend shopping Blue Beetle and now stops at Fairway Market--a green, natural and super affordable market--as well as Trader Joe's. Fairway and Trader Joe's can be seen as our off campus resources for sustainable food. If the effort to eat healthier and more wholesome is made, we can certainly improve our health and overall well-being. It starts from the roots always."