Tuesday, February 19, 2008

We're Like, Totally Into Organic

College kids like the "organic" label, but they don't know what it means- or, apparently, what it tastes like.

Milk has certainly been a problem for Sodexho and many other suppliers. When the company, responding to a student movement, found a local supplier for client Denison University in Ohio, the new product didn't meet expectations.

"The students noticed that the flavors were different," said Ronnie Hinz, director-administrative services at Denison. "Some of the students at first said, 'I don't like this milk.'" Eventually the students adjusted.

Ms. Cook said Sodexho experienced problems with organic milk at a Florida school. Onion grass was in season and apparently was giving the product a greenish color and the flavor of onions.

Free-range meats present their own difficulties. Sodexho client Menlo College served heritage turkeys to its students. Heritage turkeys are so called because they belong to breeds older than the broad-breasted white, which usually graces the Thanksgiving table. Heritage turkeys take twice as long to grow, cost upward of $60 per bird, and have a gamier flavor and more sinewy texture.

"Students came back and said, 'There's something wrong with this meat; it tastes like it's spoiled,'" Ms. Cook said. Chefs explained that it was a different kind of turkey, but students asked why it couldn't be prepared in a manner more familiar to them.

Oh those crazy kids. Just wait until someone tells them that meat actually comes from real live animals.


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