In many ways Pj’s Restaurant acts as UGSRP’s home base. It is where the project started with the introduction of new sustainably focused curriculum for students taking our Restaurant Operations course. The leadership team at Pj’s has embraced sustainability seeing the restaurant recognized as one of Canada’s ‘greenest’ restaurants. http://leafme.ca/leaf-releases-latest-list-of-canadas-greenest-restaurants-in-honour-of-environment-week/ It’s even a place where Mike, Simon and I will gather for a coffee and discuss the state of the project.
This past summer saw Pj’s venture into new territory. Partnering with the Guelph Center for Urban Organic Farming (GCUOF) http://gcuof.wordpress.com/ , Pj’s took produce harvested at the farm and canned it for use during the fall semester. Garlic scapes, green beans, zucchini relish and tomato jam were just a few of the products that got made in the kitchen shortly after being harvested. Instructors and student volunteers worked side by side, in many cases learning along the way. Equipment was purchased, food safety procedures followed, produce was canned for use on the menu in the fall.
The result was a learning experience for all, and an real attempt to ‘extend’ the growing season that is so short in Ontario. Several menu items like the ‘Ploughmans’ Platter hosted an assortment of the canned vegetables during the year and received excellent feedback. Two HTM students Andria Baxter and Madison Hurst even conducted an independent study called “Love, Local, Longer’. It is worth your time to check out the blog they kept on their project. http://lovelocallonger.wordpress.com/tag/local-food/
The addition of ‘canning’ to the Pj’s kitchen has provided many wonderful lessons for the students involved at HTM. Sustainability is about changing the status quo and Pj’s is leading the way in doing that!!