All of the Houston Zoo residents have favorite meals, and having over 6,000 hungry animals to feed every day can make our grocery bill a bit expensive.
As the year comes to a close, the Houston Zoo is kicking off a holiday-time fundraising campaign – the Gift of Grub — to help defray the costs of caring for our animals and provide everything we need to keep them healthy and happy in 2011! This is the first in a fun new blog series that will tell the story of exactly what it takes just to feed our furry, finned and fanged friends here at the Houston Zoo.
The Food Starts Here!
From apples to zucchinis and lot of produce in-between, meals for the Houston Zoo’s over 6,000 animals are being prepped in our zoo kitchen, which we call the Commissary. We dice, we slice, we steam, shred, and peel, essentially doing whatever else it takes to prepare food for our zoo animals.
Starting at 5:00 AM, while most are still enjoying that last couple hours of sleep, we are at our tables furiously working to get our chores down so when the animal keepers come in at 7:00 AM, they have all the foods needed for the day.
Some of the diets such as our bird salad is chopped on food processors, other diets by hand.
The first four hours of our day is working with fruits and vegetables… okay, there might be a few other things being weighed, like fish and carnivore meat… but the majority is fresh, Grade A produce. I bet you didn’t know we buy 80,000 pounds of fresh produce a year! That sure can make for one super duper sized salad.
We get fresh produce in from our suppliers three times a week, using seasonal produce whenever we can to reduce cost. I will list some of the fruits/vegetables we use but the list can go on and on: apples, bananas, carrots, mangos, yams, corn, strawberries, watermelons, green beans, papayas (okay I better stop while I can!). Add in the 79,180 heads of assorted lettuces such as endive, romaine, cabbage, kale, red and green leaf, salad savoy and others when in season.
We not only work with produce but there many more food items we weigh or process — and this just the beginning of what we do! I’ll tell you more about that in the next post, so please check back!
We’re reaching out to all Zoo lovers to give the Gift of Grub to our animal ambassadors by making a year-end, tax-deductible donation at www.houstonzoo.org/gift-of-grub.
Or email email@example.com for more information.
Jonathan thanks you from the bottom of his stomach!