Food at Putney

Our food is homegrown—sourced directly from Elm Lea Farm.

At Putney, students help with planting and harvesting of crops and everyday barn tasks such as milking and feeding the cows. We believe that working on the farm creates a connection between the land and food, instilling respect for our place and a deeper sense of community.

Milk Lunch

Milk lunch takes place every weekday around 10 a.m. The phrase “milk lunch” comes from the break that dairy workers would take after milking cows in the morning. It is a much anticipated time for students to take a break from class, enjoy a snack, and catch up with friends. Milk lunch changes every day, but a typical snack could include maple scones in the spring, smoothies in the summer and cheese and crackers in the fall.

March of the Turkeys

When Putney was founded in 1935, travel was inconvenient, so students celebrated Thanksgiving at school. The annual celebration featured colored paddles to announce each course and a “March of the Turkeys” dance performed by the faculty. The ritual faded when the roads improved, but Chef Marty Brennan-Sawyer revived the party when he discovered one of the old programs. Students, teachers, staff, friends, local parents, and others sing, eat, listen, and just have a grand time all the way around. In 2018, March of the Turkeys is celebrated on November 16.

The Putney Special

Legend has it that Mabel Gray (for whom Gray house is named) looked at the shelves in the Putney kitchen one day during World War II and saw cans of stewed tomatoes, some aging bread, and tubs of peanut butter—and the Putney Special was born. We commemorate the occasion once every year by enjoying plates of the original recipe at lunch.

International Food

Our commitment to international learning extends beyond the classroom. Chef Marty and the kitchen staff work with international ambassadors and modern language classes to serve food from different countries and to celebrate international cultures and holidays.

International Cafe

Every year The Harvest Festival features an event called the International Cafe. Putney students from around the world make food from their home countries to share with the school and greater community.

We typically have a large variety of cultures represented, with dishes from Europe, North America, South America, and Asia. The food ranges from breads and dumplings, to soups, to meats and vegetarian options, to rice, and of course, desserts.

The cafe is a fantastic experience to have great food, and support the school’s international program, but most of all is a chance to learn about different cultures and allow students to share a bit of their home with the Putney community.