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Would You Pay Extra for Gourmet Food at Your Kid’s Summer Camp?

When the lunch bell rings at Point O’Pines camp in the Adirondacks, campers won’t be dining on “bug juice” and sloppy joes. Instead, the all-girl campers can expect a choice between smoked salmon, hand-rolled sushi, or panko-crusted lemon chicken on any given day reports, The New York Times. The brain behind this gourmet menu, owner Jim Himoff, felt that a healthy menu was the perfect pairing to the summer camp’s existing emphasis on physical activity and healthy lifestyles.

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“We decided the traditional ‘throw some M&M’s on a brownie and call it a day’ wouldn’t work for our campers,” director of Camp Laurel Keith Klein told the Times. At this camp in Readfield, Maine, campers can expect to partake in water-skiing, tennis, and even cooking. To encourage campers to become interested in the food they were being served, Camp Laurel added a 2,200-square-foot culinary arts center to their site. Here campers can participate in the production of their healthy meals—something Klein hopes will encourage better eating habits.

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In order to steer clear of processed, frozen, and preservative-filled food, camp owners are seeing an increase of almost 15% in their budgets. For parents, this means paying top dollar—around $11,000 for seven weeks of healthy fun. Camp owners have realized the switch to local, organic food is a necessary business move, and are even using it as a marketing tool on their websites.

Is summer camp the place for gourmet food? Does “healthy” have to mean “expensive”?