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On the Menu - Vermont Fresh Network Dining Options at UVM's Marché

October 7, 2015

Long gone are the days of the pizza diet for American college students - well, at least at UVM. While many Universities are farming out their dining programs to fast food restaurants, the University of Vermont has welcomed three Vermont Fresh Network partners to open cafes. Alongside UVM Dining at Sodexo’s Vermont First initiative, independent vendors at the University dining halls have received a local overhaul as well. This spring welcomed SoYo Frozen Yogurt and Vermont Bean Crafters to UVM’s Marché Dining Hall and the Skinny Pancake will soon join them in the same complex.

Choosing local is a natural fit for the University, known as a leader in food systems programs, but the change didn't come from the top. The student body at UVM pushed for options to meet a growing range of dietary requirements like vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free and a growing demand for local and organic food. Through surveys, one-on-one conversations and work with a staff dietician students helped develop the goals for growth at the University dining hall. The students even helped vet the vendor proposals. The new contracts will also provide a project for UVM Nutrition and Food Science classes who will audit and track purchasing as part of the Real Food Challenge.

Vermont Bean Crafters is serving up dishes like Salvadoran pupusas, made from organic Charlotte-grown Wapsie Valley corn masa, with salsa fresca, hemp-milk cumin aioli, and adobo sauce made with Kingsbury Market Garden roasted peppers at their UVM cafe. Joe Bossen, Jefé & Chefé at VBC, impressed everyone with his business acumen, market research, competitive pricing and variety of vegetarian, vegan and local menu items. The Bean Crafter outpost at the Marché will not only serve delicious, healthy food, but Joe will also be working with the University to explore integrating workshops, demos and learning opportunities into their model.

Student demand is what brought Hans Manske, owner of SoYo Frozen Yogurt to UVM’s doorstep. “UVM students started coming to SoYo way down on Pine St. almost as soon as we opened about 3 1/2 years ago. They always spoke of how much they loved it and how hard it was to get to, the idea of bringing SoYo up to the students was very appealing to us because we knew they were big fans.” Hans shared. He approached UVM back then, shortly after opening, but it wasn’t the right time. “With the dining services contract up for renewal last spring and the emphasis on local food, it became a perfect match." The students couldn’t agree more - they can’t get enough of SoYo yogurt made with milk from Kingdom Creamery.

Have a craving for affordable, South-of-the-Border, Vermont-sourced, vegetarian fare or a SoYo fro-yo smoothie? Don’t fear - you don’t need a meal plan to eat at UVM. Everyone is welcome to dine at the Marché and most all of the University’s dining locations! 

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