Vegetarian, vegan, raw, semi-vegetarian, fruitarian, pescetarian, pollotarian, macrobiotic – who knows which college students are eating what this week or next? Factor in the propensity for experimentation with diets during college years, and how is a college dining program supposed to know what to serve?

Healthy brain foods include wild salmon, blueberries, green tea, coffee and dark chocolate. It is possible this is what the citizens of Boulder, Colo., are eating – for the past two years, Forbes has ranked Boulder, Colo., first among the 25 “smartest cities in America.” Of course, students at the University of Colorado (CU) at Boulder know their brain food comes from the school’s often-honored dining services program.

Thirty-nine years ago, Dr. Sam Bennett was a student at Texas Tech University, washing dishes and working other jobs to pay his way through school. Today, Bennett is the director of the university’s Hospitality Services Department, and he says the experiences he’s had on his climb up to the top have made him a more effective leader. 

Aside from its academic prominence and world-famous football team, there are a number of attributes that set Notre Dame apart, many of which can be found within its innovative foodservice program, according to Mike Davy, manager of continuous improvement for Notre Dame Food Services. 

Railex was founded on a “do it yourself” principle, but ironically now dozens of customers nationwide count on the logistics company to provide them with safe, reliable and fast shipment of their perishables from coast to coast. Senior Vice President of Eastern Operations and Corporate Logistics Paul Esposito explains that although Railex came about as part of an effort by sister companies Hapco Farms, Powerhouse Produce and Freshouse to ensure better transportation of their own products, it has become a trusted partner to a number of shippers and receivers. 

DeWayne McCasland, owner of Pecans.com, thinks he just lucked out getting into the pecan industry. “I wasn’t a pecan grower the first 25 years of my life,” he concedes. His father and he just bought a ranch they thought looked attractive because of its trees. “We were cowboys and raised chickens and turkeys and things,” he recalls. “We didn’t know anything about growing pecans. We bought this place, and it had lots of trees on it. It just looked pretty, and we thought we’d take care of it.”

Cherries can be grown in most temperate climates, but their short growing season ensures they are not available in the stores for very long or very often. Additionally, the small, fleshy fruits can’t be stored for an extended length of time when they are fresh, so it’s likely the cherries you see in a store were harvested only a few days ago.

When Olga Loizon began selling her trademark Greek-style sandwiches out of a small kiosk in a Birmingham, Mich., shopping mall in 1970, she knew the combination of seasoned, broiled beef and lamb topped with onions, tomatoes and tangy “Olgasauce” – and wrapped in her secret-recipe “Olga bread” – would quickly earn a fan following. But what she didn’t know was that Olga’s Kitchen would evolve into a chain of 34 successful restaurants in Michigan, Ohio and Illinois with two more under construction. 

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