Solstice Kitchen and Organic Food

Solstice has come a long way in how we prepare and serve food over the years. Summer Solstice 2010 saw just over 1400 total people for the event. In 2011, we saw almost a 33% increase, to just over 2000 people, and have steadily maintained Summer attendance over the 2000 mark since then. With greater numbers also came greater group and individual consciousness, calling for improvements regarding what, from whom, and how we prepare and order our Solstice food.

These are some of the ways we’ve invested in different areas of improving our kitchen facility and food quality in recent years:

  1. Since at least 2007, we’ve had organic mung beans, quinoa, and rice for all Solstice events
  2. Extended the outdoor work area behind the kitchen and added fence in 2009
  3. Bought large food kettle in 2009
  4. Supplemented food buckets with some metal serving pails in 2012
  5. We replaced the old kitchen burners with 10 new ones in 2013
  6. Replaced all food serving buckets with white food-grade buckets, and all kitchen food barrels with food-grade barrels in 2013
  7. Updated fire safely and plumbing infrastructure and added hand washing sink in 2013
  8. Audited the entire food order in 2013 and evaluated what items to order organic each year

Please help us to continue to improve our kitchen facilities, services, and food offerings by donating to our 2014 Kitchen and Organic Food Campaign. We are aiming to raise 25K to help cover the following 2014 improvements:

  1. Replace all plastic food serving buckets with stainless steel pails
  2. Buy new work counter surfaces and storage cabinets for the Children’s Food Area
  3. Purchase a large refrigerator unit to supplement refrigerated trucks
  4. Buy various kitchen equipment and replacement parts, like our Robot Coupe veggie chopping units
  5. Increase the amount of Organic Produce. We decide what to order organic based on current “Dirty Dozen” produce rules, availability, and cost. We know that there are other benefits to eating Organic besides just pesticide residue, including GMO’s, nutrient density, environmental impact and sustainability. We plan on expanding the amount of organic produce we buy each year so that in 5 years, by 2019, 95% of the Solstice Diet is organic.
  6. Currently food cost per person with our current natural and organic offerings is roughly $61 per person for the whole Solstice event. In order to have an eventual 95% organic diet, the estimated cost per person will grow to $112.50 for the whole event. Your donation gives support to future organic growth and covers camp overages for variable organic produce prices.

Here are some common questions about the food at Solstice that we’d like to address so that everyone knows what current and past practices are regarding Organic Food.

Solstice Organic Food FAQ’s

  1. Q: What Produce items are ordered Organic each year?

A: In the past few years, we have committed to the following produce items organic (when available):

  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Red Potatoes
  • Yukon/Russet Potatoes
  • Whole Iceburg Lettuce
  • Celery
  • Cilantro and Parsley
  • Tomatoes
  • Apples
  • Leafy Greens

 2. Q: I’ve seen packages of one of these above produce items at solstice that aren’t Organic

A: We request all of these ingredients organic prior to the event. There are 2 reasons you might see non-organic versions of these produce items during solstice.

  • The supplier had a problem obtaining organics of that item at the last minute
  • We ran out of the organic item already and had to order more. We cannot get next-day organics from our Summer food vendors, so if we run out of pre-ordered Organic produce during solstice, we get next-day conventional.

 3. Q: What other items are ordered Organic each year?

A: We have been ordering the following organic for the past few years at Solstice

  • Cow’s Milk
  • Basmati Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Mung Beans
  • Mustard
  • All Bulk Spices
  • Lots of various Children’s Camp food items

4.  Q: How do you justify the other food items that aren’t Organic?

A: Whenever it is accessible and reasonably affordable, we order other ingredients that are of a higher, natural quality. We also follow current “Dirty Dozen” produce rules, and agricultural guidelines. Examples of how we’ve been increasing the health quality of other ingredients in recent years are:

  • Ordering Raw Honey for use in Yogi Tea and Golden Milk
  • Buying non-organic condiments and oils from reputable companies, like Spectrum, Napa Valley, Muir Glenn, Braggs.
  • Offering Gluten-free Tantric Burger buns and wraps

Here is a more complete list of sources to view on what items are safer to order non-organic and organic:

Summary Title: 
Organic Food Facts