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CommonWealth Kitchen Takeover 

On Thursday, February 15th, Brandeis Hospitality welcomed CommonWealth Kitchen (CWK) into our residential dining location, Usdan Kitchen. Our very own Chef Sean served up locally made Field Fritters made with Aurora Mills & Farm yellow field peas grown in Linneus, ME, as well as Squash Bisque made with Plainville Farm squash grown in Hadley, MA. Both are processed by CWK, down the road from Brandeis University in Dorchester, Massachusetts.

CommonWealth Kitchen is a food business incubator that provides kitchen and manufacturing spaces to BIPOC and woman-owned enterprises to develop their businesses. They also work with local farmers to transform excess produce into valuable products, which helps to reduce food waste, combat climate change, and support regional farms. By turning surplus crops into revenue, CWK’s initiative helps farmers to expand their offerings. 

So far, CWK has rescued 5,000 pounds of surplus squash grown at Plainville Farm in Hadley, MA, from being discarded as compost or left in the field. From the squash, the culinary team at CWK crafted 1,000 gallons of heart-healthy, nutritious, and savory squash soup. The organization worked with area partners to get this nourishing Squash Bisque on the menu at top hospitals around New England for patients and providers including Beth Israel Lahey Health, Mass General Brigham, and UMass Memorial Health system and into our kitchen for our guests to try. 

In another innovative product development venture, CWK harnessed the power of the yellow pea field in Linneus, ME. The yellow field pea is a protein-rich cover crop that is grown for the protection and enrichment of the soil to reduce erosion, improve soil structure, promote water infiltration, and limit pest and disease outbreaks. Although the peas are great for soil health, they bring very little market value for farmers. CWK purchases the crop from Aurora Mills & Farm and transforms it into crispy-protein-filled nutritious bites to offer a locally made plant-based entree called the Field Fritter. Brandeis Hospitality is working hard to get these fritters on regular rotation on our menus.