The Ballibay Camps

Press Release

Mr. John Jannone, Director
The Ballibay Camps

Growing 'Good Food' Revolution Goes to Camp

NEW YORK, March 22, 2010 — Letters from summer camp are often filled with tales of woe – rain, mosquitoes, poison ivy. And the food? “YUCK! I miss Mom's cooking!”

But campers at The Ballibay Camps write home with rave reviews of gourmet mess hall meals made by hand with organic, locally grown ingredients, perhaps returning to Mom's cooking only to say, “Yuck!”

The chefs, staff members and campers at The Ballibay Camps are at the forefront of the growing food revolution, embracing local growers and suppliers, tending their own garden, and inviting campers into the kitchen to learn how to prepare delicious, healthy meals.

“Our process requires more planning and energy, but I believe parents are looking to send their kids away where there's better food,” said Dr. Susan Rubin, director of Better School Food, a nationally recognized school food advocacy program, and Ballibay's resident food expert.

The use of organic, locally grown foods, healthy, well-balanced, homemade meals and a vegetable garden fertilized with composted leftover food scraps has Ballibay ahead of the curve when it comes to summer camps, Rubin said. “But within the next few years, it's going to be the standard.”

Ballibay has banned the bland, pre-made meals typically associated with summer camps. “Anyone can heat up the stuff you unload from a truck,” Rubin said.

Last year, Ballibay's mountaintop campus in northeastern Pennsylvania hosted a team of experienced gourmet chefs and nutritionists to overhaul their menu, recipes and ingredients.

“We [the senior staff and directors of the camp] really pay attention to food in our own households, and the changes happening in food on a national level.” said John Jannone, Ballibay's director. “We want to make sure that what we
offer our campers meets the high standards of a new, enlightened, approach to eating well.”

For breakfast, they've shelved the puffy, sugar-coated box cereals and set up a homemade yogurt bar with crunchy granola, fresh fruit and hearty porridge. Lunches include veggie pizza, miso soup, quinoa salad, and Korean bi bim bap with brown rice.

Dinners have international flare, ranging from quesadillas to stir fry to Middle Eastern fare such as sautéed tomatoes and chick peas, chicken and coconut soup, pita crisps and roasted cauliflower. And instead of the candy bars and soda that had historically been stocked in the camp store, there are healthy snacks including fresh fruits, smoothies, seltzer and lightly-sweetened herbal teas.

The “real food” initiative at Ballibay has been met with overwhelming enthusiasm from campers and parents.

“I think if I was a tree, my growth ring for those two weeks would be much bigger – not that I gained weight, but that I feel so well-nourished,” said Maya de Silva Chafe, a visiting artist and camp mother.

Established in 1964, The Ballibay Camps are among the premiere arts camps in the northeast. Situated on 174 pristine acres in Northeastern Pennsylvania, the mountaintop campus offers courses in theater, the visual arts, music, dance, video, radio, and rock-n-roll. Ballibay's expert staff and diverse curriculum attract campers ages 6 to 16 from around the country and around the world.

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For additional information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Susan Rubin, DMD, HHC

Mr. John Jannone, Director
The Ballibay Camps