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Huden getting fresher

For years, Castleton College students have complained about eating the same old “stale” menu, said Michael Williams, director of campus dinning. Soon, he said, that’s going to change!

Since he came to the school 18 months ago, Williams has been working with the staff and students to make the dining experience more fun.

Now he’s also trying to make the food fresher.

Recently the Aramark Corp. and Castleton State College have teamed up with the Vermont Fresh Network, an organization of local farmers and food producers who try to build stronger relationships between local communities

“The organization has seen a huge change in college participation over the past five years,” Vermont Fresh Networks’ Meghan Sheradian said. “It’s great the students are getting involved, and that they understand how important it is to buy local.”

Aramark and its staff have been working hard to get more local quality foods on Huden tables, Williams said.

Some students feel that the food is starting to get better, “but it has its days,” said Castleton junior Tony D’Ottavio.

Others, however, say the food is still the same as it has ever been.

“It’s showing little to no improvements,” Joel St. Amand said after being asked his thoughts about Huden’s progress to get healthier; better tasting foods on their tables.

Little do the students know, but Huden is involved with at least three local farms and the staff has increased local purchasing by about 40 percent, Williams said. The staff is not only trying to give the students more variety and healthier choices, but “we really want the kids to be involved,” Williams said.

From themed dinners to scheduled events, Huden is trying to do anything possible to attract students. Recently Aramark held a 3 for 1 themed dinner with various decorations to celebrate holidays including Mardi Gras, Valentine’s Day, and President’s Day. In March, Huden is hosting a hot wing eating contest. There will be a special guest announcer and referee, and tons of prizes like hats and tee-shirts for the contestants, Williams said.

Another exciting event being held in April is the “Throw Down Challenge.” It’s a competition between faculty members who feel like they can whip up a mean dish. There will be student judges and tons of prizes, Williams said.

“Even if you don’t compete, come and watch. it will be a lot of fun,” Executive Chef Lisa Brown said. “It’s all about you students.