We checked in with Joe Czajkowski, our largest local farm partner to find out what’s been happening on the farm since we last interviewed him in late 2014. He’s been busy!
Joe is always working to expand his product line. In the past year, Joe and his staff have begun making homemade spiralized veggies. They even made their own machinery to do so!
Starting with butternut squash, sweet potatoes, or turnips, the veggies are converted into noodles which can be a healthy, delicious alternative to pasta. It’s especially ideal for people who are vegan or have a gluten insensitivity.
Joe’s kids, who are farmers themselves, have also begun raising chickens for sale to UMass. Starting with a small amount of 500 last year, they are ramping up production to 2,000 healthy, humanely-raised chickens this year!
Another important partnership that has developed between UMass Dining and Joe Czajkowski is the freezing of fruit in order to have local berries available throughout the winter. Next winter, Joe plans to freeze strawberries, blueberries, and frozen peach puree for UMass Dining.
Collaborating with Joe Czajkowski has been an incredibly beneficial relationship for both sides. For Joe, the steady stream of demand from UMass has allowed Joe to source from more neighboring farms as well as expand his own farm.
Meanwhile, Joe allows UMass Dining to increase its purchasing each year to meet its Real Food Challenge goal of 20% real food by 2020. Thanks in large part to Joe’s efforts, UMass Dining is right on track to meet that Real Food Challenge target. In fiscal year 2015, 13.5% of food purchased by UMass Dining was classified as “real food”.
Czajkowski Farm is located in Hadley, MA, located just across route 116 from the UMass campus. He aggregates from 20+ local farms to streamline how UMass Dining gets its local produce. Thank you, Joe!
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