Good food has always been one of my passions!

Kathy_RagsdaleGood food has always been one of my passions!

When Jane asked if I would write a blog about the food philosophy at Heart, I was delighted –creating camp menus is a favorite assignment!

In a nutshell, the food philosophy for Heart is the same as it was for our growing family: healthy, well-balanced meals made from high quality, fresh ingredients.

At camp, like home, ‘scratch’ cooking is our preference – avoiding mixes and pre-made items which contain preservatives when possible.

Just as Si and I did not have a family food budget, there is not one for camp.  The #1 goal is to serve healthy GOOD TASTING food so that campers, staff AND owners look forward to mealtimes!

Food service at Heart is family-style. In addition to what is served at the table, there are supplemental breakfast and salad bars to provide extra choices.

The active lifestyle of campers calls for lots of protein and energy producing carbs, which camp menus reflect. While there is no guarantee every meal will be a favorite, diverse likes and dislikes, allergies, etc., are taken into consideration in the planning.

Farm-to-table was practiced at Heart long before it was ‘in vogue’. Vegetables picked one evening and in the Heart kitchen the next day is our goal, which happens when we have a local truck farm supplying us! Memories of the succulent taste of vine-ripened tomatoes makes us yearn for summer!

Baking sufficient fresh breads daily is always a challenge, as sometimes the baker has over-estimated his/her abilities, but we TRY. When the baker can’t produce from scratch, the kitchen uses frozen raw bread products that are proofed and baked ‘in house’ so one gets that wonderful yeasty smell wafting through the air just before meals!

The food suppliers know us well and know that we want excellent quality for camp.  They are passionate about what they are providing, which makes for a great partnership.

I am not a trained dietician, but have spent a lifetime reading and learning about food, as well as cooking and eating. (My late husband used to say I traveled from restaurant to restaurant, not from town to town!)  My collection of cookbooks is vast, and I continue to add to it. I have found that while food trends may change with the years, the enjoyment of ‘comfort food’ prepared from the freshest ingredients (and with love!) remains ‘classic’!

When I start talking or writing about food, I get carried away!

More later-

About the Author

Jane Ragsdale

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Jane Ragsdale (Mrs. Dick Howell) is the director of Heart O’ the Hills. She was a Heart camper and counselor, and served as program director from 1978-87. She has been one of the owners since 1976, and director since 1988.


  1. I remember when you cooked the most delicious waffles for me, Julie and Jane, with bacon and pecans in them. That was in the 70s. It is fun to hear that you still enjoy cooking. God bless you. Sue Alice (Jackson) Shay

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