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Eat Local? Marines Say 'yes,sir'

By Liz Biro, posted May 21, 2014
(Photo by Liz Biro)
Wilmington chef Keith Rhodes and North Carolina produce on Tuesday helped introduce Camp Lejeune Marine Corps base’s newest dining facility and push for more local foods on military bases.

Camp Lejeune, about an hour north of Wilmington, unveiled its French Creek 65 dining hall with a lunch menu highlighting local ingredients prepared by Rhodes, who owns Catch, 6623 Market St., and Phun Seafood Bar, 215 Princess St.

Rhodes, known for favoring local foods, worked alongside staff from Sodexo, which oversees the base’s foodservice operations. Foster-Caviness, a North Carolina-based produce distributor, supplied fresh ingredients.

“This is a great example of the state’s two largest industries, agriculture and the military, working together for common goals,” N.C. Department of Agriculture commissioner Steve Troxler said. “Our department has been working with military installations for more than 30 years to promote local agriculture and provide nutritious products to feed our troops and their families.”

The lunch program coincided with the U.S. Department of Defense’s Healthy Base Initiative, which aims to increase the well-being of troops and civilians working and/or living on military bases, the N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services reported.

The program also was part of Food and Fuel for the Forces, a partnership between agriculture and military communities to gauge what types and amounts of local food production are needed to match the consumption of area military forces.
Rhodes’ menu included North Carolina strawberries in a salad with local goat cheese, mixed greens and strawberry vinaigrette. He also prepared sesame-and-panko-crusted North Carolina catfish.

The N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services' marketing division worked closely with Sodexo, Foster-Caviness and Camp Lejeune to create the lunch program. The marketing division and other department programs encourage chefs and food service suppliers to use products grown, raised, caught or made in North Carolina on their menu. For details, click here.

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