Brown Dining Services Boosts Local Food Economy Through Partnerships

As part of its mission to serve fresh, healthy, high-quality foods, Dining Services at Brown directs its spending power to New England food producers, supporting small businesses and helping to spark growth.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] – From enticing crowds at events and get-togethers to satisfying late-night cravings, pizza is one of the world’s most popular foods and a staple in the college-student diet. At Brown University, the cheesy dish is a menu fixture at campus dining halls, which offer roughly 10,000 meals a day to students, faculty and staff, including about 1,550 slices of pizza.

So when Brown’s dining team brainstormed ways to devote even more of their food budget to local spending, one food product was at the top of the list – cheese.

“We asked ourselves: ‘How can we have the biggest impact with a local vendor?'” said Ty Paup, director of culinary operations for Brown Dining Services. “We turned right to cheese because of all the pizza we make across campus. The amount of shredded mozzarella we need is huge.”

To bake so many slices of pizza, Brown purchases nearly 75,000 pounds of shredded mozzarella each academic year. Paup already ordered some artisan cheeses from Providence-based Narragansett Creamery, and he wanted that same fresh, high-quality, locally sourced ingredient for pizzas. But to Paup’s disappointment, the small business didn’t have the equipment to shred and pack mozzarella, said Mark Federico, owner of Narragansett Creamery.

“Brown’s chefs continued to ask, ‘Mark, can you make us a shredded mozzarella?’ and I had to say no because I didn’t have the equipment,” Federico said. “We hoped to at some point, but we weren’t sure when, so we had to keep saying no.”

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