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Bon Appettit Shucks For Students, State

Howard W. Hewitt – In all lines of work effort is sometimes underappreciated, if noticed at all.

Bon Appetit employees put in some special effort Friday morning to benefit not just Wabash students this fall but also the state of Indiana! See a photo album here.

General Manager Mary Jo Arthur has been buying meat from Moody’s Meats in Ladoga for some time. But Friday Mary Jo and Adam Moody were tackling a far different project.

Mary Jo noted her cooks only serve corn on the cob to students during the school year because fresh corn isn’t in season. That corn comes from a supplier, but obviously isn’t local during that time of year.

She wanted to buy and prep some fresh corn this summer to serve in the fall. It turns out her desire was a perfect fit for a project Moody was planning.

Moody is working with other producers on a state grant out of Lt. Governor Becky Skillman’s office to determine the feasability of establishing food processing plants for products like Indiana sweet corn. Moody noted that at one time Indiana had 40-plus food processing plants and now just one.

So the opportunity was great for both sides. Bon Appetit wanted sweet corn and Moody’s group needed some research in the processing side of the research project. Mary Jo got her corn at no cost and Moody took detailed notes on the process from shucking, to cutting, to blanching, freezing, and finally taste. His research could lead to the establishment of a processing plant and help him determine profitability.

Bon Appetit kept 50 percent of the corn it processed for providing the labor and preparing the corn. The other half of the processed corn will be used to further Moody’s research on profitablity of a processing plant.

That meant the staff shucked some 1,400 ears of corn! They planned on freezing the corn and will serve it in Sparks this fall.

It wasn’t a task without some fun. Mary Jo and Catering Manager Kecia Tatman took up work stations right along side the entire crew. The "corny" jokes, "aww shucks" attitude and a bright beautiful morning might have convinced most observers that they weren’t working at all – just having fun!

The fresh corn is an ongoing effort of Bon Appetit to provide fresh, locally-grown products in meals served to Wabash men. The corn was grown just north of the Montgomery County line in Tippecanoe county.

The end result is not just fresh corn for students but the College helped play a role in potential economic development for Indiana.

In photos: Upper right, Kaleb Dulin and Arthur show its not all work, but some fun as well. Lower left, Moody jumped right in to help when he wasn’t taking notes on the process.