The Charlotte, N.C. club teams with Myers Park High School’s culinary department to source some of its produce. The school has now become the club’s primary source for bibb lettuce, green leaf, red leaf and frisee. Also, Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md. hosted “Thanksgiving Tips and Tricks” classes in mid-November to offer interactive cooking and cocktailing techniques highlighted at different stations.
(As featured in C+RB’s 14th Annual Ideas Issue, June 2020.)
Myers Park Country Club (MPCC) in Charlotte, N.C., is always on the lookout for new partnerships, especially ones that support the local community.
A little more than a year ago, Myers Park learned that the local high school’s culinary program was in the nascent stages of creating a hydroponic program. The club’s leadership team, led by Director of Culinary Operations Scott Craig, CEC, CCA, WCMC, reached out to Myers Park High School (MPHS) to see if the club might be able to source its lettuce from the students.
“We performed an analysis of the quantity of leafy greens our club consumed, as well as the cost, and worked with MPHS over the summer to tailor their output to our needs,” says Craig.
MPCC began using the school’s product in full at the beginning of the 2019/2020 school year, and the results have been outstanding, Craig reports—to the point where the high school has now become the club’s primary source for bibb lettuce, green leaf, red leaf and frisee.
“We are receiving a product that is exceptionally fresh and grown only a mile from the club,” says Craig. “The cost is lower than the imported product it replaced, and the proceeds from the salads our members are purchasing are being funneled directly into our neighborhood school, which many of our members’ children attend.”
As Myers Park moved through the quarantine phase of the COVID-19 crisis, the club continued its partnership with the school, to send healthy product into food-insecure neighborhoods.
“Our membership has been extremely excited about the partnership we have created with MPHS,” says Craig. “They have enjoyed the beautiful, fresh lettuce, and are very proud of the ‘closed loop’ we have created.”
The Goal: Myers Park Country Club was looking for a local partner to source fresh, leafy greens.
The plan: Form a partnership with Myers Park High School to get products produced through the school’s hydroponic program. The school tailors its output and product mix to the needs of the club.
The payoff: The club now sources all of its leafy greens from the high school, getting products that are exceptionally fresh and grown just a mile from the club. The cost is lower than imported product, and the proceeds are funneled directly back into the community.
Recognizing that preparing Thanksgiving dinner may not always be the most fun thing to do on your own, Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md. offered an alternative approach to its members: Learn how to do it from our Executive Chef and his culinary team, with a glass of wine in your hand.
The club hosted its “Thanksgiving Tips and Tricks” classes in mid-November, and saw the full range of its membership demographic—couples, singles, friends and family—sign up for this new event. The aspiring chefs packed Congressional’s transformed Capitol Dining Room and Main Kitchen to learn from the pros, and the club’s culinary leaders and Wine Director created an experience to remember, with interactive cooking and cocktailing techniques highlighted at different stations.
While the students sipped libations and moved from station to station, they took notes, asked questions, and picked up a program with recipe cards and cooking instructions (for cocktails as well as dishes) that they could take home to be reminded of all they’d seen and heard.
Members enjoyed the concept so much, they’ve requested that the club host more events with the format throughout 2020.