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Eat Local Challenge: A Locavore's Dream

Derek Roy, Bon Appetit's new chef, picks Swiss chard from the Hamilton community garden for today's Eat Local Challenge.
Derek Roy, Bon Appetit's new chef, picks Swiss chard from the Hamilton community garden for today's Eat Local Challenge.

Bon Appétit Management Company, Hamilton’s food service provider, will host the 9th annual Eat Local Challenge on Tuesday, Sept. 24, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., in McEwen Courtyard. The chefs at Hamilton will join more than 400 other Bon Appétit restaurants and cafés in preparing a special meal made entirely with ingredients sourced from within 150 miles of their kitchens.

For this year’s Eat Local Challenge, Bon Appétit will highlight Central York’s best with dishes like salt potatoes, honeyed raspberries, apple sauce,  Sun Gold tomatoes, roast pork loin, grilled garlic chicken, acorn squash, apples, fresh apple cider and grape juice. Local providers will include North Star Orchards, Lucky Seven Farms, Evans Farmhouse Creamery, Mandeville Farms, Finger Lakes Fresh, Benton Berry Farms, Howlands Apiary, Bakers Acres and The Hamilton College Community Garden.

According to Bon Appétit General Manager Patrick Raynard, “When Bon Appétit launched its first Eat Local Challenge in 2005, the idea of caring about ‘local food’ was a novelty, not a national movement. The idea behind the annual event was to encourage people to look beyond their supermarket and seek out the bounty of food growing all around them,” he explained. “American Farmland Trust estimates that in general, of $10 spent on food, only $1.58 gets back to the farmers and ranchers who grew it: middlemen take the rest.”


Shrinking the distance our food travels from farm to plate is one way that Bon Appétit Management Company leads the way in changing the way people eat:  drawing us back to the land, back to the kitchen, and back to the simple pleasure of real, seasonal food. For more than a decade, Bon Appétit’s Farm to Fork Program has created unique partnerships between college and corporate campuses, talented chefs, and local farmers and artisans. Farm to Fork partners are small-scale, owner-operated, and sit within a 150-mile radius of the cafés they serve. Bon Appétit’s national span brings the “locavore” concept to the national level, with more than 400 cafés supporting a renaissance of regional food production in the United States.

Bon Appétit’s Eat Local Challenge causes a ripple effect – highlighting how local purchasing strengthens communities, keeps small family farms in business, and connects eaters young and old to the land that sustains us. The Eat Local Challenge gets guests thinking and talking about local food – while enjoying a meal that celebrates the flavor, environmental and economic benefits of eating straight from the farm.


Raynard encourages attendees to help promote the event on-campus through social media channels ( for Twitter use #eatlocalchallenge). Bon Appétit is also sponsoring a national ELC food photography contest: guests can take a photo of their  local Bon Appétit meals on Eat Local Challenge Day, then Tweet or Instagram them along with #eatlocalchallenge. The best photo from all 500+ cafés will win a $200 gift certificate to a farm-to-table restaurant and signed copies of two new food movement books.

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