Rutgers Prep and SAGE Dining Partner With Alum-Owned Happy Valley Meat Co. to Provide Farm-to-Plate Lunch
Rutgers Prep is proud to announce that SAGE Dining Services will be regularly serving products from Happy Valley Meat Co., a farm-to-plate purveyor of locally and ethically sourced meat, co-founded by RPS alum Dan Honig, Class of 2007.
“I'm incredibly excited by the partnership with RPS,” said Honig ’07. “My hope is that anyone in the community can find out where their meat comes from and can feel good about the food they are eating. I vividly remember Career Day from RPS, specifically, a local restaurant and that conversation still informs how I converse with my restaurant customers. ”
According to its website, Happy Valley Meat Co.’s mission is “to improve the lives of the people and animals that feed us. We’re working at this by providing chefs, whether at home or in fine-dining restaurants, access to ethically-raised meat from family farmers.”
The company is also a certified B Corp, a designation that indicates a business is meeting high standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency on factors from employee benefits and charitable giving to supply chain practices and input materials. “We are a mission-based company–we see that there is a real problem for farmers and farm animals in the US meat system,” said Honig. “While we sell meat, what really comes with that is a picture of how things work, and how the meat system can be different.” With this mission-driven business model, Happy Valley Meat Co. has proven itself to be a perfect partner for both SAGE Dining and Rutgers Prep.
“RPS laid the groundwork for me to start my own business,” said Honig, who describes himself as an Ethical Entrepreneur. “One of my favorite classes was Environmental Science, which inspired me to study the environment in college, which eventually brought me to animal agriculture. More than the coursework, RPS helped me think creatively. Before RPS, I went to public school, where most of my tests were scantrons. Once I got to RPS, we had to write more essays and actually think through answers. I think that helped me to have the problem-solving skills to start my own business.”
As for what the future holds for this recent partnership, Honig is hopeful that he and his company can deepen the relationship between Happy Valley Meat Co. and Rutgers Prep. “We take every chance we can to speak to those in our community, often doing classes in schools for students about what it's like to be a farmer and where the students fit into the food web.”
SAGE has been the School’s food-service provider since 2011 and is one of the premier dining services available to independent schools across the country. With its focus on in-season and locally sourced (when available) ingredients, minimal waste, and real food made from scratch, the company employs a rigorous vetting process in order to approve vendors prior to allowing their products to be served in its facilities. Happy Valley Meat passed muster in May of 2021, and as of April 2022 is providing Rutgers Prep students, faculty, and staff with its own brand of beef, bringing things full circle for Honig.