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Burke County Schools, Chartwells K12 Partner with Bowditch Bottoms Farm to Expand Fresh, Local Menu

posted Nov 14, 2016, 2:10 PM by Cheryl Shuffler
Fresh butternut squash soup to be featured on student menus


Burke County Public Schools and Chartwells K12 are continuing to support and invest in locally grown produce for school cafes through a new partnership with Bowditch Bottoms Farm.

All high school cafes will feature a local butternut squash soup on the menu on Tuesday, Nov. 15 with additional farm and food education available. The butternut squash is a featured crop from Bowditch Bottoms farm, located in Burnsville, North Carolina, about an hour west of Morganton.

Local produce grown within 100 miles of Morganton is a key feature to menus at BCPS. In addition to the collaboration with Bowditch Bottoms Farm, Chartwells has partnered with Nix Fruit Co., located in Henderson, North Carolina, and Johnson Family Farms, located in Mills River, North Carolina, to bring in apples, cucumbers, tomatoes, and corn.

Bowditch Bottoms Farm is especially unique as its land was rescued from development and cultivated specifically for local farmland. Learn about the history of Bowditch Bottoms Farm here.

“We are proud to partner with Bowditch Bottoms Farm and help support farmland and farmers in Western Carolina,” said Steve Savage, director of Dining Services for Chartwells K12 for BCPS. “Research and our experience tells us that when we can connect students directly to their food, they are more likely to make lifelong healthy choices. Our local farmers help us achieve that goal.”

BCPS and Chartwells Chef Josh Gadell will be preparing the featured butternut squash soup. Gadell said, “I’m passionate about working with fresh, local ingredients and introducing students to new flavors and food experiences. Butternut squash is perfect for the season and locally available at farmer’s markets, so ours students can take this recipe home!”

Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Larry Putnam said, “Chartwells’ farm-to-table practices is one of many philosophies that attracted us to them. This butternut squash soup is a great example of turning a locally sourced food into a menu item in our cafeterias. I can’t wait to taste it, and know our students and staff will enjoy it as well. We thank Chartwells for their service in our cafeterias and for their partnerships with regional farmers and opportunities such as what the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina provide that introduces our students to fresh, local food that they may otherwise not have a chance to experience.”


About Chartwells K12

Chartwells K12 has partnered with Burke County Public Schools since 2015 and prides itself on sourcing fresh, local ingredients, partnering with the community and creating a customized school café program to match the requests of the students, parents and faculty of Burke County. Chartwells is a culinary-focused organization with a mission to extend its passion, dedication, knowledge and enthusiasm into serving each student delicious and nutritious meals. The company is built on decades of food and education experience and driven by top culinary, nutrition, wellness and sustainability talent. For more information, visit http://www.ChartwellsK12.com/.


About Bowditch Bottoms Farms and The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina

Bowditch Bottoms farm in Yancey County has been saved from development and placed into production through the generosity of Ken and Ida Brown.  Bowditch Bottoms farm represents a new approach to making agricultural land accessible to local farmers in areas where land prices have soared. The tract includes 25 acres of highly productive soils and a lay of the land that would have made it ripe for development.  “Most of the land in Western North Carolina that is flat and desirable is priced for development.  Farmers, in essence, can’t afford it,” explained Ken Brown.  “We don’t know anything about farming,” added Ida Brown.  “We just knew that our goal was to purchase a piece of property for the farmers who couldn’t afford it.” 

                  The Browns contacted Elizabeth Brazas, president of The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, to explore their desire to purchase a farm, protect it with an easement and get farmers permanently on the land.  She introduced them to experts at the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (SAHC) and Toe River Aggregation Center Training Organization (TRACTOR), a local food hub serving farmers in five counties. 

                  The Community Foundation is a permanent regional resource serving eighteen counties in Western North Carolina.  Last year, the Foundation facilitated more than $18 million in charitable giving.  Funding focus areas are Early Childhood Development, Food and Farming, Natural and Cultural Resources and People in Need.  More information can be found at www.cfwnc.org.