Delaware North Parks & Resorts is partnering with National Park Service in implementing the new Healthy and Sustainable Food Program for concessionaires. DNC Parks & Resorts President Rick Abramson and chefs from Shenandoah National Parks joined in the program's announcement event and sign on as a participating concessions provider on Wednesday, June 5, at the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

DNC is concessionaire for several national parks including Yosemite, Yellowstone and Shenandoah.Executive chef at Skyland Resort Steven Sterritt and Executive Chef for Big Meadows Lodge and Big Meadows Wayside Steven Caldwell created and served a number of healthy menu options featured in Delaware North-operated restaurants.

They included an open faced Maryland crab cake slider served with locally-sourced garlic-chive and grilled lemon (dipping sauces: Dijon mustard aioli, tomato horseradish radish sauce) and a vegan black bean burger (see recipe here) with sweet onion relish, roasted garlic aioli, slow roasted tomato and local watercress. The sides: fresh vegetable chips in a basket, marinated and grilled summer vegetables from local grower Miller’s Farms and local strawberries served with sour cream and brown sugar.

Participating dignitaries included Secretary Sally Jewell, NPS Director Jonathan B. Jarvis and Executive Director of Let's Move! and White House Senior Policy Advisor on Nutrition Sam Kass, as well as industry association representatives, school groups, military veteran families and other government representatives. The event was open to the public.

"Delaware North Companies has been a leader in sustainable and healthy cuisine and farm-to-table dining for nearly a decade now," said Abramson. "We are proud to work with other concession providers on bringing even more healthy options into our national parks as part of this new initiative. I know our chefs are excited to continue to bring new and healthy tastes to the millions of visitors who come to these special places each year."

DNC's initiatives are part of its Culinary Wellbeing program. Developed by a team of international chefs in 2008, it formalizes the company's commitment to serving healthy foods while encouraging outdoor activities.

Examples include sourcing 90 percent of all menu items within 200 miles at Shenandoah National Park, offering a selection more than 1,800 organic or natural food choices in the grocery department at Grand Canyon National Park and compiling over a decade of experience in developing relationships with local farms for organic produce in Yosemite National Park.

At Gideon Putnam Resort, the chef actively cultivates community relationships, including a variety of local farmers and producers. He also works with the Saratoga City School District in creating healthy student meals under the "Chefs Move to Schools" program.

The new program is part of NPS's broader Healthy Parks Healthy People Initiative and an extension of White House's "Let's Move" program. Six DNC chefs attended First Lady Michelle Obama's "Chefs Move to Schools" program launch in 2010. DNC's culinary council continues to work with White House's "Chefs Move to Schools" program by finding appropriate linkages for the company's chefs with local schools across the country.

DNC's theme for the June 5 event was Grow Healthy with the company's chefs serving foods that were fresh, local and sustainable. The recipe for the black bean slider was printed on green lettuce seed paper and distributed to guests to encourage them to start vegetable gardens. All food left over from the event was be donated to a local food bank.

Many of the ingredients in the offerings were sourced locally from Miller Farms Market in Locust Grove, VA, a family operation that utilizes natural and sustainable farming practices.