Blueberry salad
Crafting Authentic Experiences: Harvest Table at Springfield College

The start of the day is important for Springfield College students. High nutritional impact is vital for student success as it prepares students physically and mentally for a full day.

A student begins their day by eagerly looking over The Table@Cheney dining menus online with hunger already building with the anticipation of a busy day ahead. As they read through the menu descriptions, they begin to notice a wide variety of new and exciting dishes offered at Cheney Hall. New items that stand out include the new blended burger featuring humanely-raised, grass-fed beef, and roasted mushrooms.

The all-new oven station is offering more than just pizza. Casseroles, pasta bakes, and carving stations have been added to the menu.

The student is excited to see the new dining room and makes their way over to Cheney Hall.

As the student enters Cheney Hall for breakfast, they are immediately met with a sensory experience. Visually, the dining hall is filled with new informative digital displays featuring the day’s menu items, corresponding nutritional values, and a list of local farms the College proudly supports. The aromas are coming from the bakeshop, which produces the morning’s freshly baked pastries. Today’s pastry offerings include orange-scented scones, blueberry muffins, and a new assortment of made-without-gluten and vegan pastries.

Walking toward the grill station, the student notices a new item that they may recognize from their favorite breakfast spot back home. It’s the classic Croque Madame, a lightly fried egg served over griddle ham and Swiss cheese atop toasted brioche from our local bakery, finished with white sauce. The student also notices that there are a number of accoutrements for customization including sliced scallions, oven-roasted tomatoes, and chili flakes.

Moving along to the entrée station, the student notices that in addition to the traditional items of eggs and potatoes, there is a new featured daily item. Today’s feature is oven-baked quiche made with sautéed leeks and fresh goat cheese. While passing by the station, the chef offers to answer any questions. The student asks about the new items and our chef offers a tasting of the day’s item and also informs them of other items they will see on our menu this week, including eggs Shashuka and Tex-Mex-inspired migas tacos with Chipotle salsa. The student tries the sample of the quiche and then decides to take a full piece before heading over to the Chobani bar for a bowl of blended yogurt, freshly cut fruit, and house-made granola topped with toasted coconut and dried papaya.

The student finishes their breakfast, leaving Cheney feeling completely satisfied and ready to start the day.

Later in the day, we find the student tired from a long day and ready to replenish with nutritional fuel. The student enters Cheney and once again is met with tantalizing aromas and the sounds of pans sizzling from the sauté station. On the sauté station, tonight’s features are a choice of spaghetti or gluten-free penne with options including Murray’s chicken, sausage, spinach, broccoli, and tomatoes. The dish is finished with either classic carbonara or a spicy puttanesca sauce and is topped with fresh basil and Parmesan. As the student scans the other options, they notice more aromas of curry, ginger, and spices.

Looking around, the student sees that the oven station is serving traditional Indian cuisine featuring paneer, panchmael, rice with raisins, and roasted eggplant. The station also has a basket filled with freshly grilled pita, sides of a roasted carrot hummus, and baba ghanoush.

The variety is abundant as the student now passes by the True Balance station to find a complete meal offering, free from seven of the top eight allergens. The station is loaded with selections of grilled lemon herb pollock, avocado salad, steamed rice, broccoli, and freshly cut fruit salad.

But the station that the student sets their eyes on tonight is the entrée station. Chef-carved jerk pork loin is being served with whipped sweet potato, red beans, roasted Brussels sprouts, and papaya salsa. The pork, from Applegate Farms, is tender and delivers a bit of heat from the spices, but is well balanced by the sweetness of the papaya. The Brussels sprouts have just the right amount of crispiness on the outside, while the inside is tender and the red beans offer balance to the overall dish.

The student is satisfied, but craving something sweet, as they decide to finish the meal by taking full advantage of the in-house bakeshop. On the menu tonight, there is a choice of lemon mascarpone tart, panna cotta or a spiced apple parfait. The student selects the panna cotta and the parfait. After all, it was a long day and this was just what the student was looking for.

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