OUR FOOD ETHOS

OUR FOOD ETHOS

From the very beginning, we have focused on Food to assure the appeal and success of Monkey Business Café. Whenever possible, we use recipes that are made from scratch; food just tastes better when itís made fresh. Our entire staff feels a great sense of pride and responsibility to be in the business of feeding people and earning their delight with each and every meal!

Farm To Table: Our Partnership With The Fullerton Arboretum

The cool, crisp peppers, juicy tomatoes and pungent lemon basil that you experience with Monkey Businessí innovative fare are among the fresh produce we grow only three miles away at the beautiful Fullerton Arboretum on the grounds of Cal State Fullerton. Our harvests often include lettuces, cucumber, herbs, chili peppers, carrots, cilantro, squash, an array of fruits and more. Immediately after picking, we incorporate these fresh items in seasonal and ongoing menu items at Monkey Business. This partnership with the Fullerton Arboretum provides an authentic farm-to-table component to our social enterprise.

The process has another even more important benefit: It provides paid training and work experience for our program participants where they can complement their restaurant training with an agriculture education. At our farm at the Arboretum, program participants learn about various aspects of farming: preparing the soil, planning a crop calendar, planting, best practices for growing, harvesting, composting, responsible watering, cultural responsibility and sustainable practices. They learn how to prepare dishes and seasonal menu items for Monkey Business Café, and they gain food designing and entrepreneurial skills with the Monkey Business Product Line. Using ingredients such as herbs that we cultivate at the Arboretum, we have developed a Monkey Business line of seasonings, a coffee rub, honey butter and fresh salsa. We welcome new recipes inspired by the young men and women working at Monkey Business and give them an opportunity to experiment with potentially new products and menu creations.

U-ACRE

We also work closely with U-ACRE (Urban Agriculture Community-based Research Experience), a USDA-funded research program for graduate students under the direction of CSUF Anthropology Professor Sarah Johnson, PhD. U-ACRE brings the important science element to our farm program. U-ACRE graduate students implement studies in urban settings that help community organizations improve food-growing techniques and achieve sustainable practices. U-ACRE graduate students work with us to plan our crop calendar at the Fullerton Arboretum and advise us on optimal growing techniques. They also measure the nutritional value of our café menu items. Monkey Business program participants work side-by-side university students and thus gain exposure to the university setting.