Food by the Numbers: Inside Dansbury Commons

Whoopie pies being prepared by baker Debbie Seip in Dansbury Commons. Photo Courtesy / Peggy Diaco
Whoopie pies being prepared by baker Debbie Seip in Dansbury Commons. Photo Courtesy / Peggy Diaco
Whoopie pies being prepared by baker Debbie Seip in Dansbury Commons. Photo Courtesy / Peggy Diaco
Whoopie pies being prepared by baker Debbie Seip in Dansbury Commons.
Photo Courtesy / Peggy Diaco

By Peggy Diaco
Staff Writer

Every day, 3,000 hungry ESU students descend on Dansbury Commons for something to eat, but where does the food come from, who prepares it and how much food does it take to satisfy hungry college students?

Aramark employees are preparing for breakfast in Dansbury Commons at 5:30 a.m. Most of the recipes they use are from Corporate Aramark.

“We also use some localized recipes that we prepare in-house. I worked with a few students that want to see some of their dishes served. Most all of our international dishes are based on recipes we obtained online or from international students who help out with recipes during International week,” said Christopher Brown, ESU Alumni and Operations Manager for food services.

Beginning in April, a lot of the vegetables will be obtained from local Gould’s farm in Brodheadsville.

“We utilize the farm as much as possible, mostly from August through Thanksgiving,” said Brown.

He also said that Gould’s farm has 20 different apple trees and apple cider that they purchase in the fall.

Most fresh fruit and other vegetables are purchased in-state from Kegel’s Produce in Lancaster, Pa.

“Pizza dough is made from scratch in the bakery,” said Brown. “Ninety percent of items from the bakery are homemade and all made in-house.”

A variety of scents emanated from the bakery where Debbie Seip was busy creating peanut butter-filled chocolate whoopie pies.

The walk-in refrigerator displayed racks of fresh pizza dough ready to be rolled-out and made into pizza.

Large brown, wrapped sacks of flour were piled up against one wall in the bakery.

“These sacks of flour were just delivered,” Brown said. “There are 800 lbs. total and we go through all of this flour weekly.”

Approximately 3 tons of homemade dough is made monthly. This equals out to 30 tons in one school year.

The statistics of consumed products for ESU is staggering.

According to Christopher Brown, 20,000 gallons of milk are consumed in two semesters, which is enough to fill the average home swimming pool.

There are 320 cookies in a case and 50 cases are used per week.

At the end of the school year, approximately 512,000 cookies are consumed or thrown away.

Weekly consumption of soda is 1050 gallons or 13,400 ten ounce cups.

To date, 1900 cases of fries have been consumed in Dansbury Commons.

This equals out to approximately 55 cases on a weekly average or 28.5 tons of fries. According to Brown, this is equivalent to ten 6,000 lb. elephants.

Christopher Brown also said that so far this semester, 2,142 cases of chicken have been used.

There are 80 patties per case, 171,360 chicken patties total that equal to a total of 42,840 lbs. or 21 tons.

Each patty is four inches long so statistically, according to Brown, if those patties were laid side by side, they would have 10.8 miles of chicken patties, which is enough to reach all the way to the Crossings Premium outlets.

But were all those products consumed?

“Food waste that we deal with in our kitchen that is ‘preconsumer food waste,’ we either donate or compost with our food production manager.” said Brown.

The food not eaten and left on students’ plates cannot be recycled and gets thrown in the trash.

“Current student food waste on average is about 250 – 300 lbs. daily, 2000 lbs. a week. Roughly 30 tons a school year,” said Brown.

Aramark tries to cut back on student waste by cutting products like bagels in half or making things smaller according to Brown.

They also suggest to students not to take too much at one time.

“Students can always return and get a second plate if they are still hungry.” said Brown.

Keep that in mind the next time your eyes are bigger than your stomach.
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