Vail Mountain menus go organic
October 11, 2007
DENVER ” The pricey hamburger you get at Mid-Vail may not look any different this season, but its ingredients will supposedly be more friendly to the earth.
Vail Resorts will use “natural,” hormone-free meats and organic dairy products at its mountain restaurants this year, the company said Wednesday.
That will mean the company will serve more meals with “natural” meats and organic dairy than any other restaurateur in the North America, Chief Executive Officer Rob Katz said.
“It’s something that we really see as groundbreaking, both in the food industry and the travel industry,” Katz said.
The use of the natural foods will start this ski season, including at Vail and Beaver Creek restaurants such as Spruce Saddle, Eagle’s Nest and Two Elk Lodge.
At a news conference in a downtown Denver hotel, Katz explained that Vail Resorts would form something called the “Good Food Partnership” with Coleman Natural Foods and WhiteWave Foods Company, the maker of Horizon Organic dairy products and Silk soy milk.
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Katz said he hopes the use of natural foods will be a hit with environmentally sensitive skiers. “The environment really is our business,” he said.
The organic food will cost Vail Resorts more than conventionally grown ingredients, but customers will only see standard yearly increases in food costs, Katz said. The company will absorb the premium from the organic foods, he said.
Caroline Haines, an Eagle-Vail resident who tries to eat organic food when possible ” for her own health as well as the health of the environment ” said she applauds Vail Resorts’ move.
“They buy in large quantities, so they will have a larger impact than just an individual,” she said.
It makes a statement about what’s important to the company, Haines said, and hopefully that will educate skiers and snowboarders about organic food.
“Since they have people come from all over the world, the impact is potentially big,” she said.
The move is another initiative in a line of announcements that seek to heighten Vail Resorts’ profile as a green company.
Last year, Vail Resorts announced that it would buy enough wind credits to offset all of its electricity use. It then formed a partnership with the National Forest Foundation in which season-pass holders and hotel guests could donate money to the local forests.
The company is also planning a $1 billion development in West Lionshead called Ever Vail that will use green-building techniques.
“Natural” meats are free from antibiotics, added hormones, artificial ingredients and preservatives. Coleman Natural ranches use “humane” and “sustainable” raising practices. Organic milk does not use antibiotics, added growth hormones or pesticides.
Broomfield-based Vail Resorts, which owns Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Heavenly, serves 2.5 million lunches at its five resorts each winter, Katz said.