Can’t have any Pudding if you Don’t eat your Meat???

Posted on September 2nd, 2013 by

pink floyd

But then again…..Where Does Your Meat Come From?

That is exactly the question posed by Sophomore Student Matthew Glaser recently – Here is the question:
Dear Mr. Kjellgren,

My name is Matthew Glaser and I’m a sophomore at Gustavus. I was just wondering where the meat in the caf comes from? Is it local from the Minnesota or Midwest area and does it come from any providers that practice factory farming? I was just curious as I had never thought much about the source of most food in the caf and am just interested in knowing where my meals come from. If you could give me any information or direct me to where I can find this information that would be great. Hope you have a wonderful day and best of luck this coming school year.


Matthew Glaser

And here is the response to Matt’s terrific question:

Good Morning Matthew –

Great question – I am so glad you asked.

The abbreviated answer is: Lots of different places
The longer answer is: wherever makes the most sense when considering all of the adjectives that comprise the ‘word cloud’ in our Thoughtful Choices banner hanging in the South end of the Evelyn Young Dining Room.

We are in a unique and sometimes unenviable position that allows us to make certain choices on behalf of the college community concerning the foods and beverages we offer them. We try to hit somewhere on the target of critical mass satisfaction. That is not to say we always hit the bullseye. It is helpful for me to think of the reasons we make food choices in concentric circles – with the best of all choices being in the center of the target. So, what are some of the circles?

1.) Fair Trade
2.) Worker conditions
3.) Organic
4.) Hormone Free
5.) Nutritious
6.) Affordable
7.) Tasty
8.) Local
9.) Culturally appropriate
10.) On-trend – consumer driven
12.) Environmentally Responsible
13.) Animal Welfare
14.) Easily Procured
15.) More stuff that I can’t think of right now

We acknowledge that some of the criteria for purchase/offer are weighted differently for instance, we may be willing to pay a higher cost to purchase locally but the cost of Organic + Local may be prohibitive for that critical mass of satisfaction. Alternatively, there may be an on-trend, consumer demand for Fois Gras and Chilean Sea Bass and both may be tasty and we can offer them at a reasonable price – however – our commitment to the Environment and Animal Welfare trump all the rest – don’t expect to see these on our menus.

Back to where the animal proteins come from: (just a few)

Milk – MN – Hormone Free
Chicken – MN – Golden-Plump – Contract Farmers
Beef – MN – majority corn fed from large farms – Some from Thousand Hills Cattle Company in Cannon Falls – about 4 times the cost $
Turkey – MN – majority contract farmers for Jenni-O – Some from Ferndale Free Range Turkey Farm in Cannon Falls – about 3 times the cost $
Pork – MN – majority contract farmers for Hormel or other – Some (hot dogs, brats, etc.,) from a Cool German Butcher in Sanborn MN – he sources locally/regionally for pork products
Fish and Seafood – We purchase based on the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch –
Eggs – MN – Cage Free Certified –
Cheese – MN – contract dairies

As you can see, there are lots of things we consider when choosing what to serve and why. What you will never hear from us is – “We don’t care about anything but price”. On the other hand, we realize that Gusties may not have an appetite for a $9.00 hamburger so going 100% free range, grass fed from small farmers is probably not realistic at this time……but we are willing to continue that conversation – and we will.

Thanks again for your interest. If the what and why and how of food interests you, we do have a couple of openings on the Kitchen Cabinet… are welcome to join us! More here:

Best wishes as you begin your second year at Gustavus! Steve

What a great place – this Gustavus! What a great idea – Liberal Arts! One never knows at which intersection of education and life that an opportunity to cross the street and back again might take place!


One Comment

  1. lisa heldke says:

    It’s a complicated answer, because, frankly, there are no easy answers here, no “clean hands” ways to Do the Right Thing In All Ways.

    One great thing about our dining service is the degree to which it makes it POSSIBLE for us individual diners to “vote with our dollars” for foods produced in sustainable ways.