First launched in 2010 by head chef Richie Brown and cook Brian Newcomb and by solicitation from Paula Fielding, Marlboro College opens its doors to its Marlboro senior community for lunch and entertainment on the first Friday of every month.
Fielding is one of the six Marlboro Cares board members, who oversee a total of 60 volunteers in the town.
“Marlboro Cares functions under the umbrella of Windham Cares,” says Fielding. “Citizens of Marlboro volunteer to be on a list of community aides who respond to non-medical needs, such as providing rides to doctor’s appointments, repairing homes, or simply visiting others. When we went to Marlboro College with the idea of a senior lunch to be housed in the Student Center, they were very, very open to it. It brings a lot of people who live alone in our isolated community to gather and have a nice meal and socialize. We often have retired Marlboro College professors come in and do talks on nature, science, and music. A great number of the seniors even attended Marlboro College as students.”
“They are always laughing and enjoying themselves,” says Brown. “It’s just a little something we can do for our senior community.”
“I have heard only positive things. The food is great, and the atmosphere is wonderful,” adds Fielding. In addition to providing senior lunches, Marlboro College’s kitchen continues to strengthen its connection with local food distributors.
“Gluten-free is becoming a huge business and more and more people are doing it, not only because they must due to health risks, but for the health benefits,” says Brown.
In hope of opening up to this growing trend in food products, and with concern for Marlboro College students with celiac disease, the kitchen purchases its bread products from Against the Grain, a six-year producer housed in Brattleboro committed to baking gluten-free products using the natural properties of real foods. “We send our products all over the country,” says Nancy Cain, owner of Against the Grain with her husband Tom Cain. “We strongly believe in supporting our local economy and family farms. We buy all of our ingredients, supplies, and services locally whenever possible and don’t cut costs at their expense.”
“Most of our bread – hamburger rolls, croissants, and so on – comes from right down the road,” says Brown.
Specializing in porridge, a mixture of 13 grains and seeds with no chemicals or sugar or salt, Doug Rogers’ “Earth Supergrains” of Brattleboro have also become a new local product that Marlboro College’s kitchen is excited to give a try.
“I stopped in to Marlboro College in hopes that the kitchen would be willing to try my product,” said Rogers. “It makes a really great dish, and it’s healthy, too. They tried it, they liked it, and they were very open to buying from us. They were very open.”
“It’s our philosophy: Keep the food close, keep it at home, and keep it all in the family,” states Brown. “It’s also the direction of the school as well. None of our products are obtained through Sysco or US Foods. We go through Blackriver and Westminster Organics, which are really local companies. We are trying to keep money flowing locally in the community, as well as stimulating small business owners. We’re doing what we can.”
For more information, call Marlboro Cares at (802) 258-3030 or see the Marlboro Mixer periodical.