Scrumptious and Organic

Ask anyone on campus what their favorite part of the day is and you’re likely to get the same answer: meal time! High Mowing's kitchen staff is dedicated to presenting the beauty of nature at each meal — bringing the best of the outdoors, indoors. Only fresh foods are served, and every nutritious meal is presented in a visually appealing way.

The kitchen staff at High Mowing has eleven members, and students and faculty take turns assisting at meals. The kitchen/dining room space is organized in an open design, encouraging a home-like, community atmosphere in our dining room. Students, staff and faculty members dine together. Boarding students are offered three meals and a snack on weekdays (brunch and dinner on weekends) and day students join in for lunch and snack as part of their tuition. In addition, day students are invited for special-occasion dinners at no charge and may choose to stay for other meals at a modest fee.

Meals include options for vegetarians, gluten-free diets, and meat-eaters. The ingredients are organic and locally grown whenever possible. As part of our consciousness about the environment, we feed our scraps to the campus pigs and chickens, and compost the rest.

Home Cooking Videos

    • Home Cooking at HMS - Crepes

Interview with Evan Fielding, Head Chef

High Mowing’s food is legendary; mostly organic, locally sourced, with vegetarian and vegan offerings at every meal, and every bite delicious. With modest means and a small staff, Head Chef Evan Fielding explains what it takes to keep students well-fed...and smiling.

List of 7 items.

  • Q: When did you first start cooking at High Mowing?

    I came in 2002 when (former chefs) Stephen and Eunice Chalmers had left the kitchen to teach and (the late) Hiroshi Hayashi had become the school’s head chef.  I had cooked with Hiroshi in Boston and studied with him at the Monadnock School of Natural Cooking and Philosophy in Peterborough. I felt the devotion to the food here—care was taken in serving the food correctly, serving a balance of foods. I felt at home right away. 
  • Q: How do you ensure the quality of the foods you procure?

    Our offerings are organic whenever possible. We spend a lot of time looking for local ingredients. I’m very flexible, I like to take advantage of what’s available at a given time. Local people offer what they produce: eggs, produce, meat.  And we are careful about our vendors. An example would be Black River Provisions, a Vermont company, where we source beef, chicken, produce and cheese—they’re  committed to sourcing food from local producers. They have distribution network that collects from local sources. They are even able to get produce from local producers in winter. We use organic dairy products from Organic Valley. We strive to utilize what is produced here at school too, such as vegetables and maple syrup—all organic of course.
  • Q: What do you think sets your dining room apart from other schools?

    We are truly open to trying new things which enables us to react to needs and wants in creative ways. Our mid-morning snack break is perfectly tailored to hungry teenagers on the go, many of whom might not have had breakfast. It’s only fifteen minutes—really not long enough for anyone else but kids this age, who are always hungry, to eat and go on to the next thing.  Snack is abundant always. Meals, which are frequently inspired by international cuisines, always feature vegetarian and vegan offerings, fresh greens of some kind, root vegetables and a variety of grains, in addition to a meat entrée and a salad bar.
  • Q: What are your biggest challenges?

    The recession in 2008 affected everyone. Some organic suppliers went back to conventional products. You had to ask them about their sources, which we did. We make it a practice to speak directly to the suppliers about their food. You can tell when they are passionate about what they’re offering.  There was an important life lesson there. If you have knowledge and trust in what you’re doing, it’s convincing to others. Subtle signs of “rightness” will come to you and those around you.  

    And leftovers—we’ve always been committed to wasting as little as possible; we’ve learned to treat leftovers as an invitation to have some fun. Very little is wasted and there is a wide repertoire of offerings of different world cuisines, to keep things interesting.
  • Q: Of the innovations at High Mowing, which are the most satisfying?

    Part of what drew us to High Mowing (Evan’s wife, Wendy Fielding, works alongside him and the staff as the school’s baker) was the invitation to be part of the re-design (the kitchen and dining room were completely rebuilt in the 2008 renovation of the main building). It was something I hadn’t done before and it was an interesting challenge, to collaborate in that way. I could do anything, but I had to cook elsewhere! We were cooking and serving in trailers across campus from June to December that year.  I think the new kitchen/dining area is a nice design. There’s an art gallery in the dining area. It’s an open kitchen. It’s kind of like we’re on stage in a way, performing. There is tremendous interaction with the students. It puts a face on who’s making their food. We can reach out to them and embrace their needs—it’s inclusive.
  • Q: A chef's hours are long. Why do this work?

    If we care about our world and the future, we will work as hard as we can in whatever capacity we can find. Nourishing the young people who will work for a better world is a good way.
  • Q: What is the next big initiative?

    We’re creating a rotational menu that responds in a consistent way to the seasons, school events and everyday dietary and cultural needs of our students. The result we hope for is that everyone can have something at every meal that they can enjoy—something they might remember from home.  We’ve just completed our first full year of six-week menu rotations and we think it went pretty well. It’s especially nice when you can see the students from overseas are delighted with comfort food from home, and they’ll say ‘Hey, my mother makes this! How did you do that?’

Typical Menu

List of 5 items.

  • Breakfast

    • cooked cereal
    • home-made granola
    • yogurt
    • eggs
    • bacon or sausage
    • pancakes
    • toast
    • fresh fruit
  • Snack

    • fresh fruit
    • home-made peanut butter
    • graham crackers
    • rice cakes
    • cheese
    • muffins
    • scones
  • Lunch and Dinner

    • home-made soup
    • salad bar
    • root vegetables
    • green vegetables
    • rice or pasta
    • entrée (baked salmon, ginger chicken, enchiladas, falafel, beef tips, etc,)
    • fresh fruit
    • fresh-baked bread
  • Dessert

    • oatmeal or chocolate chip cookies
    • just-out-of-the-oven peach, apple or blueberry cobbler (with fresh whipped cream)
    • brownies
    • blondies
    • lemon squares
    • flan
    • biscotti
  • Beverages

    • real fruit juices or lemonade
    • milk
    • teas (black, green or herbal)
    • fresh well water

List of 1 items.

  • HMS Dining Room Top Ten Favorites

    Enchiladas with fresh Guacamole and Pico de Gallo
    Farmer in the Alps Mac and Cheese
    Onion, Pepper and Artichoke Pizza (runner up: Hawaiian)
    Sushi – Nori Rolls
    Panko-fried Chicken
    Ginger Chicken
    Vegetable Tempura with citrus dipping sauce
    Chinese Pan-fried Dumplings
    Eggplant Teriyaki Stir-fry
    Vegetable Fried Rice with ginger, garlic and tamari