The panoramic alpine views draw outdoor lovers to the Berkeley-run Echo Lake Camp

As we head into the final long weekend of the season, the proverbial last hurrah of summer, it’s time for reflection on summer vacation (mis)adventures before fall sets in and school gets going in earnest.

Which brings to mind bad camp food. Specifically, the truly awful eats served at the Berkeley-run Echo Lake Camp. It’s shocking, really, that a city known for fine food and charming cheap chow can’t seem to dish up anything vaguely edible not-so-far from home.

The dining hall at Echo Lake Camp

The really woeful food on offer was a source of bonding among the 50 or so campers on the weekend we attended Echo Lake Camp in early August. We’re talking mystery meat, industrial, processed glop, and pathetic produce. Meals as misery.

Here’s the back story: on a whim, this reporter opted for a getaway with a friend and our kids to the lovely Echo Lake, gateway to the vast Desolation Wilderness, in the southern end of the Tahoe Basin region. A cursory check drew rave reviews for the location and family-friendly fun. No one mentioned the food.

During the week, local kids head to this camp for adventures in the wild without parents. On the weekends, the camp is open to families and others drawn to the area’s outdoor activities, including access to stellar Sierra mountain range hiking along the Pacific Crest Trail and Tahoe Rim Trail.

Working up an appetite canoeing at Echo Lake Camp

It’s the low-key alternative to the better-known family camps, Berkeley’s Tuolumne Family Camp and San Francisco’s Camp Mather — both closed to campers at times this year due to outbreaks of gastroenteritis, known as the “Tuolumne trots.”

(More on this, alas, later. Oh, hell, let’s get it over with now: I got sick, acutely ill, in fact, on Day Two at Echo Lake, despite bringing enough hand sanitizer to serve the Armed Forces.)

Back to the matter at hand: Five of us — including a birthday boy — piled into a car late on a Friday afternoon in August (hello traffic jam) for a weekend of swimming, canoeing, and hiking.

With work obligations and day camp schedules, an earlier departure wasn’t possible, so we knew we’d encounter some congestion on the road.

No worries. As savvy Berkeley parents we’d packed accordingly: Summer Kitchen marinara pizza, Kirala vegetarian sushi and Love at First Bite mini cupcakes, in honor of said birthday boy. Unfortunately, both moms hadn’t had time for lunch, the kids were ravenous from running around all day, and the freeway looked like a parking lot for long stretches of the trip. Needless to say, hunger and boredom got the better of us all and pretty much everything was scarfed up before we’d seen a pine tree.

We made it to camp before dark. Dumped our bags in the as-advertised but perfectly acceptable rustic accommodations, and headed to the dining hall in search of food. In fairness, we’d missed the dinner hour, so we were forced to make do with stale garlic bread and chunks of unknown animal matter in a scary-looking sauce. We divided up what we had left over from the car ride — seaweed salad and a couple of cupcakes — got the kids some milk, and called it a night.

On the way to breakfast the next morning this one-time investigative reporter noted the presence of bear boxes (we were under the erroneous impression none existed and there’s no mention of them on the camp website). Bear boxes meant that a bag of groceries and a small cooler of home-cooked food could have come on our travels and saved us some grief. Note to self: don’t make that mistake again.

Breakfast consisted of commercial cereal, sugar-laden yogurt, serviceable eggs, and French toast. The kids consumed the toast, but its odd texture and color put this eater off. We were invited to make our own sandwiches for lunch, and the ingredients included processed meats and cheese, condiments loaded with additives, and ordinary sliced bread — along with bruised apples and out-of-season oranges that were disappointingly dry when peeled by thirsty hikers along the trail.

Everyone tried to make the best of the slim pickings, but hunger really set in by dinner time. Maybe at this meal things would look up? Not likely. The vegetarian enchiladas were simply inedible. This camper was actually forced to discreetly deposit the only mouthful she tried into a napkin bound for the compost bin. The nine-year-old who picked the same dish just wrinkled her nose and didn’t touch a bite. I opted for the frozen vegetable medley, which seemed the safest bet at the time.

Oh dear. By now there was plenty of grumbling among the unhappy campers, not just our crew — and not just my stomach. One dad confessed his vegetarian family of four was having a hard time finding enough to eat. He said earnestly: “At this stage, my kids are pretty committed to never coming back.” Somehow this wording struck me as funny at the time.

A seasoned hiker, part of a group of seniors taking wildflower walks that weekend, lamented the lousy food while mentioning that Camp Tuolumne, where she’d been earlier in the summer, served tastier meals. It’s been a few years, but if memory serves me correctly, I’d have to agree.

Regardless, since I caught a bug, I spent the last day subsisting on Cheerios.

Photos courtesy of Echo Lake Camp site: If only the food looked this good

Here’s what we all decided: it wouldn’t take a lot of tweaking to make the camp food more palatable: homemade granola with plain yogurt for breakfast, served with in-season, local fruit. Hummus and pesto instead of processed cold cuts and industrial relish for lunch. Rice and beans or pasta with made-from-scratch tomato sauce, in a nod to summer’s bounty, for dinner. Fresh corn. Salad greens instead of iceberg lettuce. Nothing fancy, minimal cooking, filling and nourishing nonetheless.

Presumably it’s challenging to find trained kitchen staff for such seasonal work and managing a program from afar, as the city does, may impact campers’ on-site dining experiences. And, of course, cost may be a factor. The camp is as cheap as chips: $50 a night for adults and $30-$42 for kids. But this writer would be willing to wager that Berkeley folks would pay a little extra to get some decent grub. After all, there’s nothing like the great outdoors to work up a hearty appetite.

Come Sunday afternoon we loaded the ravenous brood into the automobile and set out in search of food. Everyone ate an astounding amount at the River Grill in Tahoe City; you could sense the shift in mood as each person got stuck into some satisfying real food.

We devoured vine-ripened tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella with micro-greens and green chard raviolis stuffed with goat cheese and portabello mushrooms. And, as we ate, we adults debated whether or not we were just, you know, Berkeley food snobs raising kids who will have a tough time finding chow to rival what’s on offer in this town, flush as it is with farmers’ markets, global groceries, and organic, unprocessed foods.

What say you readers?

Hat tip: Margaret P, who endured two days of unappetizing eats with this writer and a trio of hungry children. 

Sarah Henry is the voice behind Lettuce Eat Kale. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Tuolumne Camp closed for intestinal illness [07.16.11]
Tuolumne Camp closed for weekend due to virus [07.11.11]

115 replies on “Hungry for better food at Berkeley’s Echo Lake Camp”

  1. I just returned from Berkeley Echo Lake Camp and the food was Dreadful. I went with the BHS X-Country team for a week long training/bonding experience. All the food was packaged, the people clearly do not know how to cook, it the same thing almost everyday, pancakes or french toast and sausage for breakfast with packaged cereal and some melon. The pancakes and toast were awful, the team got stomach aches after eating the pancakes the second to last day and many had diarrhea including myself. I had to visit the bathroom more times that day than the rest of the week together. The vegetarian options stink, I would know, I am a vegetarian.

    Frankly, many of us lost our appetites and stopped eating or tried and ended up wasting food that we could not bare eating anymore.

    In addition, there were NO compost bins and NO recycling bins. The food stank, was not very nutritious and there was no decent way to dispose of what you could not stomach. I am disappointed an upset with this disservice to the children at the camp, why is the expense of healthy (but really just decent) food put before the children?

    I do not want to get started with how poor the staff was. The City of Berkeley claims that the staff creates a nurturing environment on their webpage. I witnessed some of the most disinterested and uncaring staff at the camp, when asked why they worked there by me, they responded its good money.

    IT MAKES ME MAD!!!! The children deserve much better

  2. Well, how do you know it wasn’t some bad seaweed salad or stale designer mini cupcakes?  After all, seaweed salad is about the only thing that doesn’t need to be put in bear boxes.  The bears won’t touch it.  

  3. I know what the answer to your two questions above are but in fairness will give Sarah time to respond first.

  4. I know what the answer to your two questions above are but in fairness will give Sarah time to respond first.

  5. Ms Henry says,  “I got sick, acutely ill, in fact, on Day Two at Echo Lake”.  Did she report this to anyone other than here?  There’s a full-time nurse at the camp (also is included in the $50/day rate) who I will bet has no record of seeing Sarah. This entire piece is rife with dishonesty.

  6. Moderator.  BTW, How does someone “Edit” a post if they don’t have administrative access to your site?

  7. Moderator.  When you remove my post and then allow Sharkey to excerpt and respond to it (BTW, I thought he was too bored?)  it’s not clear to the readers what he’s responding to nor allow them to judge for themselves.    Integrity counts.

  8. Moderator.  When you remove my post and then allow Sharkey to excerpt and respond to it (BTW, I thought he was too bored?)  it’s not clear to the readers what he’s responding to nor allow them to judge for themselves.    Integrity counts.

  9. Sharkey I agree that that Sarah’s comments are not necessarily an example of WHITE entitlement….but entitlement nonetheless.  The thought that a City run camp in the High Sierra should cater to the specific tastes of a self proclaimed ‘saavy’ consumer for next to nothing is ludicrous.  Sarah would have been better served if she had spent more time enjoying the gorgeous scenery instead of taking notes on what she, herself, ALL BY HERSELF, found unpleasant about the iceberg lettuce.

  10. Maureen, Thanks for adding your perspective to the mix. And for pointing out that the city site does indeed mention a small amount of bear-proof food storage. I missed that information and have corrected the post accordingly, with a strike out.

    As noted in my post, while it would have been advantageous to have known this in advance, that information doesn’t change the eating experience in the dining hall that weekend.

  11. Sarah?  Are you there? They aren’t trick questions.  What are your answers?   The World wonders……

  12. Apparently Sharkey thinks it’s the responsibility of non-journalists to advise journalists as to how to verify their sources.   He also didn’t get it that you need not even be concerned about the accuracy of a website IF YOU’RE NOT ATTRIBUTING IT IMPROPERLY TO AN UNAFFILIATED PARTY!  Sorry, (moderator) I’ll try to be a nicer Troll, it’s just so hard sometimes.

  13. Jasmin.    I’m  ……….SORRY!   Please forgive me ……I’m just a lowly Troll …. living under a bridge ……commenting on ethics …….etc ……….etc…..etc. 

    I think I’ll go poach a goat.

  14. Ceonothus,  You hurt the Sharkie’s feelings.   Shame on you.  I was waiting for him to say why it’s everybody else’s responsibility to tell a writer how to research their sources.

  15. The quality of mercy may not be strained, but the premise of this story sure is. The author was unprepared for attending Echo Lake Camp, either through her own miscalculations (despite her self-characterization as savvy) or through deliberate decisions so as to create a narrative arc. This may be an opinion piece, but I believe published opinion pieces should be informed opinion pieces. She didn’t know about the bear boxes? It’s a little hard to imagine.

    This article has a patronizing air that is unfortunately way too common in Berkeley. The author attends a municipal camp for rock-bottom prices in one of the most beautiful spots in the world and focuses on…the menu? Wow. This is an excellent example of misplaced priorities. And she decides she should opine on what everybody in camp should eat after her first two night visit?

    It would be perfectly appropriate to go to an outdoor family camp like Emandal on the Eel River or Drakesbad in Lassen, camps that heavily promote their food offerings, and write about the food. But to do that to a municipal camp that does not make itself out to be a food Valhalla seems…petty. This article left a bad taste in my mouth.

  16. Hey, exactly like how when I asked you what you thought Berkeleyside’s editors should have done to verify the information from and you replied with a non-answer saying “not up to me to instruct you as to how to verify  the accuracy or affiliation of your sources.”

    Have fun trolling without me. This is too boring to continue.

  17. Sharkey.

    That is a perfect response.

    There are people who, if you accuse them of killing thirty men and a dog, will produce the live dog and then accuse you of exaggeration.

  18. Sharkey.

    That is a perfect response.

    There are people who, if you accuse them of killing thirty men and a dog, will produce the live dog and then accuse you of exaggeration.

  19. ceonothus, you need to verify your sources and check your information before you continue repeating lies. I am not a representative, employee, or spokesperson for Berkeleyside.

    If I was, you would have been banned for trolling several posts ago.

  20. Sharkey.    Also,  it’s not up to me to instruct you as to how to verify  the accuracy or affiliation of your sources.  

    You guys really won’t take responsibility for anything you do, will you?  Pretty pathetic.

  21. I have been hanging back from commenting on your comments, but want to weigh in and ask why you have so much hostility toward this story and its author? I can understand if you feel she does not represent your views, or even that of others, but I am curious about your inquiries into the journalistic credibility of the article. First you question the websites linked to in the story, then you question whether the city was given enough time to respond. You also seem to argue that this piece is a scheme to enrich Berkeleyside. Of all the articles we have published on Berkeleyside, I find it bizarre that you focus on this one.

  22. A old “journalistic” trick is to request that a target respond to a pending article but to do so in such a way as to make a timely and careful response difficult.  The writer then can have it both ways, she can say that the target didn’t respond and leave all sorts of insinuations hanging or,  if the target responds in a hurried fashion, she can then make much of any mistakes.

    So Sarah, as a competant and experienced journalist, you know that large organizations like cities need a reasonable amount of time to research public responses.   You took about 30 days to “research” your “opinion” piece.  Exactly how much time, in hours, did you give the City to respond to your article before you went to publication?

  23. Sharkey,

    So Berkeleyside suggests, in front of it’s readers, advertisers and (16 yr old) targets, that the ethical burden of factual accuracy shifts to somebody else because 1) The target didn’t respond on Berkeleyside’s terms and 2) It’s just an “opinion” piece.

    BTW, (and I actually check this stuff before I write),  Bayard Geis hasn’t been a city employee for years.  

  24. How would you suggest that they verify the accuracy of the website, ceonothus? They wrote to the city in advance of publishing the article, and the city did not respond.

     “Tracey Taylor and Sarah Henry knowingly attributed representations to a
    party that that party didn’t make which was then used as a basis for an
    article in which they had a financial interest.

    Sara Henry’s experience at the camp was used as the basis for the article. The website was used to get information about the camp by Ms. Henry before and after her trip. If you have such a problem with the information provided at the website (so much so that you created an account just to complain about this article), I wonder why you haven’t contacted Mr. Bayard Geis about it in the 3 years since his last website revision? I’m also curious why you think Mr. Bayard Geis, an employee of the camp, would knowingly put forth inaccurate information for the public.


  25. Who knew that an elitist food spy would cause such a ruckus over less than 5 star meals at a wilderness camp? Good Grief.  BTW I recently hosted a family of vegetarians…one thing I noticed…they were obsessed with food…and they never stopped eating.  It truly got in the way of other activities the had expressed they wanted to do….Maybe that kind of diet leaves vegetarians always feeling unsatisfied and needing more.  I know my friends never met a fruit stand they could drive past….I’m not trying to be insulting…just kind of curious

  26. Point taken: On at least one website (when, why and by whom created uncertain) the food looks fresh and inviting. 
    Point taken: The city website of the city-run camp doesn’t pitch the gastronomical highs of the experience.
    Beyond this, I think this is an opinion piece, well-written with a bit of snark. No problemo. It invites other opinions, which seems to be the point. 
    It also reflects a tipping point, I think, of how some Berkeley citizens are groaning in response to the food faddisms attributed to their city, evident in the over-the-top media orgy of the recent Chez Panisse anniversary. (Basta!) In this vein, let me add that my son loves the food at Echo Lake, which he’s helped prepare for years. He thinks it’s better than anything he gets at home. (Alas.0 He also describes something a little, though not a lot, different than the writer’s experience, which makes me thing something was amiss on this particular Echo weekend. He also, by the way, is annoyed by the assumptions made of students who’ve attended King Middle School, and the tutelege of the Edible School Yard. He and many of his buds find that whole thing too precious. And yes, they’ve rebelled by liking a wide variety of foods, and not wanting to be pigeon-holed — if this is rebellion. But that’s another story.
    I like this piece because it’s provocative. 

  27. I apologize if you feel my post was accusing you of consciously misinforming the public. There was no intent of accusing you of anything. The point of that post was to indicate that, after a few minutes at each website, I didn’t come away with the idea that I’d be feasting on grilled squab nestled in arugula. Now I see from your link that the phrase ‘gourmet meals’ is on the non-city website under ‘Activities.’ I checked ‘Grounds and Facilities’.

    Here’s the description about the food that I read on the non-City website:

    Gourmet meals are not mentioned, as far as I could discover, on the City website. But I was able to easily find information on the bear storage boxes:

    That letter also points out that groceries and sandwiches are half a mile away from camp.

    After visiting both websites, I did not come away with the idea that Echo Lake Camp offered gourmet meals. But as my earlier post stated, I only did a quick visit to both websites. I do think it’s fair to say that most people who visit either website do not assume that gourmet meals are part of the experience.

  28. I love OFRC and have been camping there with my family for the past 5 years — much less long than many of the other families we’ve met there!  I agree that it is a wonderful bargain and a fabulous place. However, I hope that if Sarah or other Berkleyside readers choose to attend it they will accept it for what it is, not hold it to unreasonable expectations given its mission of inclusivity and its annual budget and then complain petulantly when those unreasonable standards aren’t met. Many people, even savvy Berkeleyans, choose not to view every experience through their upscale foodie microscope. 


  29. I love OFRC and have been camping there with my family for the past 5 years — much less long than many of the other families we’ve met there!  I agree that it is a wonderful bargain and a fabulous place. However, I hope that if Sarah or other Berkleyside readers choose to attend it they will accept it for what it is, not hold it to unreasonable expectations given its mission of inclusivity and its annual budget and then complain petulantly when those unreasonable standards aren’t met. Many people, even savvy Berkeleyans, choose not to view every experience through their upscale foodie microscope. 


  30. Feather River Camp is a nice place and is run by good people.   People may wish to donate to help keep it going.  However, it’s not exactly Echo Lake.  Much lower elevation, hot, dusty, no view, large, crowded and more expensive.  Food’s ok but no gourmet food there either.  See entry above by vgerviz for description of Echo Lake Camp.

  31. When mentioning Bay Area Camps, writers often fail to remember Oakland Feather River Camp!   The food and facilities will not disappoint. OFRC camp is owned by the City of Oakland, run by a non-profit Camps in Common, and is nestled in the Sierra Mountains outside Quincy, CA. 
    Since 1924 OFRC has provided family and kid camps at affordable prices.  There are different themed weeks, family and kid programming, Horseback riding, Spanish Creek swimming, and amazing food!  There is both Vegetarian/ Vegan and Traditional Chef prepared food served buffet style at meals and fresh in-season fruit served all day.
    Memorial Day is a Free Work Weekend – a great way to teach the kids about community service, provide families opportunities to connect with nature, and learn about the camp offerings.
    The camp is available to rent for retreats, school trips, and other special occasions.
    Visit for more info and please donate to the camp to help improve the facilities, fund programming, and provide camperships to everyone who wants to attend camp.
    I think that because the camp is missed in press about family camps is why the camp is both one of the best kept secrets but also having financial struggles. Sarah and readers, please come visit Oakland Feather River Camp! 

  32. Tracey.   By again citing and referring someone to a website, years old, that YOU ARE AWARE THAT THE CAMP HAS NO CONTROL OVER,  you are clearly engaging in a dishonorable activity.

    “We are not in the habit of lying”.  OK, maybe you just do it occasionally.  So prove it.  RETRACT !

  33. And remember, the total cost for an adult for an everything-included stay at one of the most beautiful locations anywhere is …$50 per day!  Absurdly low.  Kids are even less.

  34. Sharkey,     “The images and descriptions in the source material may or may not be accurate,”… !!!???   Are you serious?   Whose responsibility is it to check THAT before publishing?  Maybe a responsible author?   And regarding the non-city website (by which you further deceive by again referring to it as “The Echo Camp promotional website …it is not.  It is an obvious truism that the camp does not have control over that which it has no control.

    Stop the contorted excuses. Retract !

  35. I agree about the difficulty of a parallel food operation, but I somehow doubt that folks like these are aware enough of social/class distinctions to ever really abandon them.

    I’ve never been to either, but just from a value-per-dollar standpoint the attempt at a comparison between River Grill and Echo Lake Camp’s dining hall is still a bit of a boggler. You’d have to be so flush with cash that you were just burning the stuff for fun to not be able to do the math here.

    $50 per day for lodging, activities, and three square meals for an adult means that you’re paying no more than $8.50 for each entire all-you-can-eat meal. Drinks, salad, entree, etc. I’m not sure what they expected, but I can’t for the life of me understand how they could then compare it to the food that they got at a restaurant where an adult could easily spend $50 on a single meal.

  36. Berkeley Resident:     What’s the point of your post except to silence somebody else?    If you “Get It”  isn’t it time for YOU to “move on”?

  37. ceonothus, there is nothing dishonest or inaccurate in the article.In case you are too tone-deaf to realize it, this is an opinion piece, and not hard news. You and I may disagree with the author’s opinion about some aspects of the camp, but there is no malicious falsehood here. The images and descriptions in the source material may or may not be accurate, but if you have a problem with them then you should take it up with the Echo Camp promotional website’s author, Bayard Geis.

    I agree with you that it would have been better for the author to use original photographs of the food & amenities that she objected to instead of relying on the accuracy of web sourcing, but you need to lay off the personal attacks on the authors and this website, and stick to the story.

  38. Berkeley Resident:    A standard ploy, when exposed, is to simply whine that the exposer should “Move on”.  Sorry, I’m with coenothus, I guess some people are just more offended by unwarranted snob attacks on kids than others.   Measured responses are sometimes too dignified.  A retraction might help.

    BTW, “Oh my god, get over yourself” ??  …do you hang out in So Cal shopping malls?

  39. Oh my god!  Get over yourself.  We get it, you don’t agree with the article.  I don’t either but that is no reason to act out!  Just state what is on your mind and move on instead of attacking the author.  She documented her opinion, so did you, now time to get over it and move forward.  You DO realize there are much bigger issues and challenges in life.  Your commentary is simply self serving.  We get it, you DISAGREE with the author.

  40. Maureen: We are not in the habit of lying on Berkeleyside. Here is the link to the Echo Lake Camp website page that cites “gourmet meals”:

  41. Sharkey:  Well, if you don’t like the tone, and if all the Oooo’s and other strong arguments fail, maybe you could respond to the substance?   The fact that you, and others don’t is revealing.  It’s always easy to just wag a finger and say “Now be nice”.   In substance, Henry and Taylor, so they can sell advertising,  make a dishonest, inaccurate and elitist attack on the honest work of a bunch low paid teenagers who provide a  lot, for a lot, for a little.   Why not respond to THAT?  You can be as nice as you like. 

  42. Oooh, good job, ceonothus! Attack people who agree with your position for not being sufficiently nasty! That’s a great way to get more people to agree with you!


  43. Valleen:  This would seem to make sense at first but is really not workable for several reasons.  1)  It’s not as easy as it sounds.  It would require a second and parallel food operation.  Given the many constraints, this would be a logistical nightmare. 2.)  Having “Regular” and “Deluxe” menus would tend to bring attention to disparities in the financial abilities of the various families which is counter to the general spirit of a camp.  Part of the nice thing about the camp is the brief opportunity to abandon social status and distinction.

  44. Is there any reason why upgraded meals can’t be sold at correspondingly high prices to picky ..uhmmm … more selective diners?

  45. Berkeley Echo Lake Camp has been known for it’s sometimes suspicious food, but then again, aren’t all/most camps? You state an interesting point in campers paying a little extra for better food…personally I think this is a very smart and fair compromise.
    However, I must say that given the conditions, the food is excellent. Needless to say, we are in a financial crisis worldwide, so giving the camp’s menu a little umph is a struggle. Might I add that the sandwich meat and sliced cheese is not something unusual to Berkeley?
    Any travel to the great outdoors will have its setbacks. This is one of the cases where one must see the situation as “glass half full.”
    If you really feel that the food is that dastardly, it might be proactive to take it to the City. Otherwise, why bother with the topic so much?

  46. If Julia Child had visited Echo Lake Camp, I’m sure she would have brought some fabulous wine, chilled it in the lake, grabbed some bread and cheese and bruised apple, and toasted the glory that is the Sierras. She would have had a wonderful time.

  47. All I have to add to this debate is that Wow! It only costs $50, I’m making a reservation for my family for next summer!!! Although a bit of a food snob myself, I have absolutely NO problem eating processed food, regular bread, packaged granola etcetera.  

    I hope that Berkeley doesn’t try to ‘upscale’ the food at Echo Lake Camp, for to do so would price it out of the reaches of those of us who can’t afford Tuolumne. 

    Please, Author, don’t complain to City of Berkeley, this may be the only way they can keep Echo Lake affordable for the rest of us….

  48. All I have to add to this debate is that Wow! It only costs $50, I’m making a reservation for my family for next summer!!! Although a bit of a food snob myself, I have absolutely NO problem eating processed food, regular bread, packaged granola etcetera.  

    I hope that Berkeley doesn’t try to ‘upscale’ the food at Echo Lake Camp, for to do so would price it out of the reaches of those of us who can’t afford Tuolumne. 

    Please, Author, don’t complain to City of Berkeley, this may be the only way they can keep Echo Lake affordable for the rest of us….

  49. Sarah’s  list of objectionable food products is the standard product line of south Berkeley corner stores. See her previous coverage celebrating corner stores as a food source for us flatlanders.
    The same class divisions are expressed in both threads of comments. I criticized  Sarah for ignoring the public health and safety issues related to corner store operations, in response Berkeley elites ( living in “gated communities”)  attempted to school me, race baiting reactionaries jumped in adding more confusion.

    Staff at the camp should have been interviewed for this piece, the corner store piece should have included at least some reference to the crime problem, health issues that have long been at the center of city hall discussion about affects of corner stores on community health and safety.

    That said, while I have not met Sarah I bet she is a good person, a great mom, and I probably would like her just fine.  I do not agree with her views on the benefits of funding local food security projects, and the elitism promoted by the Alice Waters food industry.

  50. “It will not be soon enough when this precious attitude toward food becomes history.’

    Exactly, I remember how the BUSD food activist used to explain to me, that if kids ate organic food they would less aggressive and well behaved in school.


    Sarah seems like a well meaning person, and probably  a really good  mom.

    Food, Food, Glorious Food.

  51. I just did a quick visit to both Echo Lake websites from the links in the above article.  I could not find any mention of a promise
    of gourmet meals. The non-city website says, “Dining hall serves up to
    140 meals in a buffet style. Vegetarian meals are available.” The City
    website has a family camp information letter that states, “…a small
    amount of bear-proof food storage is provided in several locations
    throughout camp.” I did not assume after visiting both websites that
    gourmet food would be available, but I did find info on bear-proof storage.

    What about buying food at Echo Chalet if things are so dire in the cafeteria?

    Or what about taking freeze-dried backpacking food like Loch Ness Stew, which lives up to its name but is a basic part of supplies for savvy wilderness visitors?

    It will not be soon enough when this precious attitude toward food becomes history. Honestly, people really can exist for a few days without every bite of food they ingest being the tastiest or healthiest morsel possible.

  52. There are many things about Berkeley I love.  This kind of privileged thinking is not one of them.  There’s already a ton of families in town that could never afford to send their kids to Echo Lake for a week.  So why not “improve” the food, thus raising the cost of the camp by 25-200% and make it even more exclusive?  That way, you’d guarantee that you wouldn’t ever see any kid from the west side.  I’m speechless at how elitist this whole article is.

    “commercial cereal”!?!?!? “sugar-laden yogurt”?!?!?!  “processed cold cuts and industrial relish”?!?!?! 

    Sounds like a great time to me.

  53. Sharkey.  You are facilitator of dishonest “journalism”.  Tracey Taylor and Sarah Henry knowingly attributed representations to a party that that party didn’t make which was then used as a basis for an article in which they had a financial interest.  You don’t have to have  “stringent” standards to expose that.  Sometimes rudeness IS called for. 

    And does it really take a group effort to smear a bunch of hard working teenagers?

  54. Yawn. Seriously-the author apparantly must not have much business experience-$50 day for food (and lodging?) is basically free (i.e. “cost”), if you consider how much it costs to operate, maintain, insure a large camp. Thank goodness this camp is kept affordable for the hundreds of families who use it per year. Ms. Henry would really go further by spending a few days at the camp, planning meals, purchasing the food, and working in the kitchen to prepare those meals. It would actually give an article such as this a thread of credibility if it was written after such an endeavor. Otherwise it is simply an exercise in “look at how smart I am” empty writing. Berkeley used to be cool place to live but has been invaded by too many agressive, self important hyper parents and critics….go Jackets!

  55. Ceonothus, your extreme rudeness is uncalled for. You embarrass only yourself when you act like such a spoiled brat.

    Ms. Taylor is a writer and staff member for Berkeleyside. This local news website is a group effort. If you have a serious problem with the way they report news, you are free to go and start our own news website that can meet your stringent journalistic standards.

  56. What is with the attack on McDonalds? Don’t you realize children are starving in Marin City? Stay on topic people, please!

  57. ‘The Author’ seems to not understand the basics of camping.  It is supposed to be an opportunity to expose yourself to nature and ‘rough it’, though having been at Echo Lake Camp before, it isn’t exactly ‘rough’ at all.  If your purpose for a family trip is food tasting, there may be culinary camps in Napa or Yountville.  You really don’t need to go to Echo lake for the designer cupcakes.  I found the food average to very good, and I have an educated palate.  I confess I am NOT a vegetarian, but the Tri Tip was delicious.  There was always an alternative for those who chose to deprive themselves of the medium rare delight that I partook of.  Of note…if the food was so much better at Tuolumne Camp, why was it closed due to the  ‘Tuolumne Trots’? Have I had better food at a camp before?  Yes…and it cost exactly $2000.00 per person per week.  Have I had perfectly acceptable nutritious food and lodging for a better price?  NEVER.

  58. That’s rude.  If ANYBODY can write a so-called snarky-cutesy-foodie article, then let’s see one from you.  And I guess if Sarah writes another article which appears in Berkeleyside, you wouldn’t want to read it, right?  Unless you just enjoying picking apart someone elses work.  Me, I stay away from things I don’t care for.  I found Sarah’s article interesting.  There was humor in it, which I appreciated. And are YOU managing an actual productive effort under difficult circumstances, or just criticizing someone’s opinion?

  59. Our family has gone to  Echo Lake Berkeley Family Camp for the last 3 years.  Food we bring is left in the refrigerator behind the kitchen. Our kids  clear their plates at breakfast and dinner.  Can’t say it compares to Gregroire or the Cheese Board but it does the trick – especially after a long day of hiking, swimming and canoeing.  We love camp and cant wait to go back next summer.

  60. Yep they are. And so is the water taxi that takes you to the trailhead for Desolation Wilderness, cutting off 4 miles of trails on the trek to Desolation and the unbelievable Lake Aloha. All my family cares about when we go backpacking there is enough calories to be able to hike and a way to keep the bears from the food stash. Worrying about gourmet dining in the Sierras seems pretty silly.

  61. To Tracey below.  Who is “we”.   Is this a group effort?  If so why did you caption a picture of amusement-park like Angora Lake: “Working up an appetite at Echo Lake Camp”   In addition, you dishonestly attribute statements from a website that you apparently KNEW was neither City nor Camp controlled as representations of the City or Camp.  And when revealed you weakly say “It is still as far as I know a showcase and advertisement for the camp”.  Maybe you need to know a little farther before you set pen to paper.

  62. Actually, you get ridiculously more than you pay for.  And Sarah, unlike managing an actual  productive effort under difficult circumstances, anybody can write a snarky-cutesy-foodie article.

  63. I think anonymous means that this is just another example of “soft whiny entitlement culture” that could perhaps benefit from moving off the carpet and on to the concrete for awhile.  The always abundant  food at Echo Lake Camp, notwithstanding the ABSURDLY low price, varies from average camp food in some cases to exceptional in other cases.  The “Vegetarians need not apply” chili, “Loaded” oatmeal, parmesean-crusted 3 cheese garlic bread, bacon candy, garlic chicken on al dente penne pasta and several other dishes ….are as good or better than found ANYWHERE at ANY price.  And they are prepared by a seasonal teenage staff under difficult conditions.

  64. The only person being snarky here is you, ceonothus. We are perfectly aware there are two websites for Echo Lake Camp. We included hyperlinks to both in the story. The photos came from the one that is not part of the city’s website. It is still as far as I know a showcase and advertisement for the camp.

  65. The CITY website DOES NOT promise “gourmet” meals. See my response to Tracey Taylor below.  Her erroneous report is due to amateurish research pursuant to a typical food snark column.  Tizzielish, you were correct the first time.

  66. Sarah and friends can always sign up to be the cooks next summer at Echo Lake.

    I would give my eye teeth to be able to go back to Echo Lake. Gorgeous.
    As I recall from way back,  the milkshakes at the lodge there are incredible.

  67. And you forgot to mention that I forgot to mention and everybody else forgot to mention that ….$50 PER DAY IS ONLY FOR ADULTS!   KIDS ARE EVEN CHEAPER!!!!   

    15+    $50/day
    7-14   $42/day
    3-6     $30/day
    Under 3 …..FREE!

    But you’re right Sarah, for that you don’t get freshly-picked seaweed salad or organic cupcakes   …yet, anyways.

  68. Maybe you could learn to read more carefully.  That is not the City website
    which is located at:   That is a
    private website.  The City has no control over it’s content nor ability
    to caution “savvy” foodies who write fashionably whiny columns that the photos they are lifting from it’s
    pages are of other locations or years out of date.   Moreover, why would anyone who pretends to professional standards, and if she has actually been up to the camp, post pictures of an obviously different location?  (the always- crowded Angora Lake).

  69. Sure, maybe they could even have aqua culture ponds so the author could have that fresh seaweed salad that all the $50 per night savvy people are asking for.

  70. You forgot to mention campfires every night with cookies or smores and fruit and snacks available all the time.

    And private cabins with decks.

    And did you say $50 PER DAY?….!   All inclusive!

  71. Sarah did not explain that the website promises gourmet meals. That would have influenced my response. 

    I am sorry my comments offended but I don’t think I made many assumptions about Sarah.

  72. I did not know that bear boxes were needed to protect food from bears. If Ms.  Henry had explained what bear boxes were, I would not have suggested keeping food in a car but my comment about keeping food in the car was not really essential to my comments.  I withdraw my suggestion of food in cars. And I can see why she didn’t bring food but that she might have if she had been apprised that bear boxes were at Echo Lake. And I would have made very different comments if the article had reported that the website promises goumet meals and vegie options.

    As far as my comment about white entitlement, you are technically correct when you say it might be an example of class difference but, all in all, and I am white, if that matters, I think white folks live with a great deal of unconscious, unearned rank and privilege and white privilege is very different than class privilege.  Your point is fair if you want to technically scrutinize my comment but the gist of my comment — it is a special kind of sense of entitlement to think parents these days have to feed their kids only fresh, locally sourced, homemade food.

  73. By satisfactory I mean that the owner of the McDonald’s franchises must be doing quite a lot of business to stay open. Also, by satisfactory I meant to suggest that plenty of Berkeley residents, it would seem, think eating at McDonald’s is satisfactory.And also, I meant to imply that many Berkeley resisdents that patronize crappy food purveyors like McDonald’s are savvy parents doing their best for their kids.

    Not everyone that lives in Berkeley is a hipster foodie who only eats organic local fresh.  I happen to eat only organic, local and fresh produce.  I rarely eat in restaurants but when I do, it is only at restaurants that use organic produce, source locally as much as they can, etc.

    I never would have gone to a cheap city-owned summer camp expecting good food. If I went with kids — and I have gone to publicly-funded family camps, just not in California or recently, with kids, and I did not expect homemade granola.

    I am sorry you thought my comments are Sarah were harsh and mean-spirited. They were not.  I live in a country where, so far, I still have a right to express my opinions. And I very much appreciate forums such as berkeleyside that allow me to exercise my right of free speech. I did not make any personally insulting comments about Sarah Henry.

    I made the suggestion that she could have made homemade cupcakes to illustrate that it takes time to make things homemade. She called for homemade granola at Echo Lake, without addressing that homemade granola would require a lot of additional staff time, to source the ingredients and then to prepare the granola.  I was trying to illustrate that for, likely, the same reason she did not bake homemade cupcakes, it is expensive to provide homemade granola cause it takes time and in the case of paid employees’ time, like food workers at Echo Lake, time is money.

    I was responding to things Sarah wrote, trying to demonstrate other ways of looking at the things she wrote. Not meanspiritedly criticizing her.

  74. And the picture of “Echo Lake” is obviously another lake about ten miles away.   Maybe the author was actually at another camp?  Anyway, if you’re going to decorate your calumny against the hardest working staff in the city with images, at least try to be accurate.

  75. BTW.  Though mis-represented otherwise, none of the photos presented come from the City Echo Lake Camp website.   Amateurish research practice.

  76. Wait, what was true?  The fact that McDonald’s stays open because of the volume they do (even though the food there is CRAP)?  Or, that Tizzielish’s comments were true?  I would have to disagree with you on that latter if that is what you were referring to.

  77. Thank you, Elsa, for your astute insights. I did not know that the camp chef left mid-season. You may well be onto something there. I did contact the city for comment prior to publication. If/when I receive a response I will pass on what I learn.

  78. The author asked what people think. She doesn’t seem to be having a problem with the comments. So dig it, the flavors of responses will vary. A cornucopia. Try to remember, even if someone comments with a seemingly personal criticism, it’s a response to the article, not the person. If commenters used the phrase, “the author,” rather than the author’s name, would that make it more palatable? A provocative article, it seems. 

  79. I was there the same weekend (one of the senior wildflower seekers) and have to agree with all you said.  One mitigating factor: the chef at camp left mid-summer and was not replaced.  What that had to do with the bad quality I don’t know, but maybe something.  I hope you will contact the Berkeley city folks; maybe if enough of us do so, things will improve next year.  Since Tuolumne food is excellent, it should be possible to provide the healthy things many of us like–it’s not rocket science.

  80. In her book, “Blood, Bones and Butter:  The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef”, Gabrielle Hamilton writes about her stint working at a summer camp and the challenges she faced with, among other things, cost of food, etc.  But it occurs to me, just one week after Chez Panisse 40th, that the beginning of change can begin with articles like this.  Could summer camps include gardens, with gardening classes for the kids?  Or hiring paid interns from cooking schools?  Or?  So much is possible.

  81. Tizzielish: 

    Sarah explained in the piece that she didn’t see anything on the Echo Lake website about bear boxes at the camp (safe containers in which to keep food away from bears). It would be highly inadvisable to take food to a camp in such a geographic area which did not have bear boxes. That is why the group deliberately did not bring food with them to consume at the camp.For what it’s worth, the website promises “gourmet meals” and “buffet style meals” with vegetarian options. Your tone is very unpleasant in your comment and you make many assumptions about Sarah and her “privileged life”. I’m sure you would not want people jumping to conclusions about you based on what you write, so please don’t do it on Berkeleyside.

  82. Seriously?  Perched on a glacial ridge at 7400 ft overlooking the entire Tahoe Basin.  Water spilled on the east side of camp runs to the Great Basin.  Water spilled on the west side of camp runs to the Pacific. Dug out every season at the last moment from under the heaviest snow pack in the US.  Echo Lake five min away.  Canoeing, Fishing, Mountain Climbing.  The Pacific Crest Trail runs from Mexico to Canada – through the camp. Heated pool and spa.  The historical birthplace of the modern environmental movement. Bears to Chipmunks.  Saturday evening music program often with professional musicians.  Spectacular stars!!!  Telescopes for astronomy.  Traditional sports.  Pure water.  Every meal is all you can eat.  The chili – 2″ chunks of prime beef cooked 8 hrs- no beans or other adulterants.  All you can eat tri tip on Saturday night.  Secret reicpe 3 cheese garlic bread. Apple cobbler, ice cream, fresh baked cookies.  Large breakfast selection every day including thick rolled oat/cinnamon/cardamom/walnuts/raisin/strawberry/brown sugar oatmeal.  Always vegetarian option.  Spectacular sunrises over Tahoe and the mountains to the east.  Cloud shows.  NO CROWDS.  Not even Alice Waters.  All run for $50 PER DAY by a staff of teenage temps who are even patient with run-of-the-mill food snobs.

  83. Woah.  T, your comment is really out of line and seems like an ad-hominem attack on the author.  You think the author is a food snob? Your comment gives the impression of a WAY sanctimonious, better-than-thou Berkeley stereotype too.   PS:  the idea of storing snacks in a cooler in the car is like offering candy to the bears.

  84.  Your comment “We do have a few McDonald’s in Berkeley and they must do a satisfactory volume of business because they stay open”  That’s crazy-talk.  Define satisfactory.  ARGGHHHHHHHHHHHH!

    I thought your criticism of Sarah’s article was harsh and mean-spirited!

  85. I thought it was an interesting article. I can understand how someone would assume that a camp associated with Berkeley would have fresh, local, exciting food, no matter how cheap. And I think the author had some good, low cost suggestions about how to give healthier alternatives. And was fair in her analysis about the tradeoffs of cost versus quality. 

  86. Agreed in general, but cars are not bear-proof.
    Using your car as a way to store food when you’re in bear country is a good way of getting your car’s door ripped off.

    Also, I don’t think Sarah’s comments are an example of white entitlement. An example of class differences, sure. But I don’t see anything racial about it. There are plenty of poor white folk in the Bay Area too.

  87. Eric: Thanks for weighing in, your points are duly noted.

    To be clear: I was simply trying to convey that we had packed food for the kids for the car ride — something I usually do, typically homemade and nothing fancy: sandwiches, fruit, and the like. I ran out of time on this particular day, and it was a little “special” due to a birthday among the brood.  Since the food was sourced in Berkeley I noted where it came from, as I thought this might be of interest to our audience. The “savvy” was simply meant to indicate that I’d thought to pack food at all.

    As for covering food deserts in our communities: Regular readers of my work know that I do this frequently.

  88. You claim, Sarah, that you and your parent friend are ‘savvy Berkeley parents’ but it sounds like you two savvy Berkeley parents went away for 2.5 days without much savvy preparation.  It’s hard to believe that you seriously expected high quality food at the prices you paid for family camp.  It’s even harder for me to believe that a serious foodie and ‘savvy’ mom went away for the weekend without bringing lots of food for her family. With or without ‘bear boxes’ (whatever those are), you could have kept a couple coolers in your car and brought along plenty of local fruits and even hardy vegies like cukes and tomatoes.  I think most savvy parents bring lots of fall-back food supplies, esp. when they are headed to a camp whose fees are ‘cheap as chips’.

    You snobbishly denigrate the breakfast of commercial cereals and sugared yogurts. Do you realize that the vast majority of Americans eat like that daily?  Do you realize that plain yogurt is something that many Americans have never tried? Processed meats, cheese and relishes with chemical additives on ordinary bread is most Americans idea of a decent lunch. 

    You knew the camp is ‘as cheap as chips’ but you savvy Berkeley parents headed off for a weekend without protein bars,granola bars, crackers and flatbreads, hummus, fresh produce.

    I can’t believe you call for homemade granola at this cheap as chips camp.

    Sarah Henry says she thinks most Berkeley folks would be willing to pay ‘a little extra’ to get decent grub. This is classic white entitlement.  Did you see a lot of nonwhite folks at Echo Lake the weekend you were there? Berkeley has plenty of families of color who would see the ‘cheap as chips’ rate as prices far beyond their means.  I bet you did not see many nonwhite campers when you were at Echo Lake. Raise the prices to better grub and you would eliminate the family camp option for many families who lack your sense of entitlement. Believe it or not, Summer Kitchen marinara pizza and Kirala vegetarian sushi is beyond the means of quite a lot of many savvy Berkeley parents. Don’t get me started on those Love at First Bite cupcakes. Why didn’t you make homemade cupcakes for your birthday boy? Because it takes time and time is a precious resources and that’s the same reason why Echo Lake serves heat-and-eat and processed food: paying staffers to organize menus, shop, cook, serve then clean takes time and time of paid staff means money. Echo Lake served the kind of food they served for the same reason you fed your birthday kid expensive Love at First Bite cupcakes. For the price of just a few of their cupcakes, you could have had two dozen homemade cupcakes. But I bet you savvy Berkeley moms didn’t have time to bake cupcakes. And, why didn’t you and your co-savvy Berkeley mom friend make your own marinara pizza and vegetarian sushi?

    I have considered going to Echo Lake, as it happens. I go to the website, look at the dates, look at my calendar. And each time I have done that, I have also begun to mentally plan the food I would bring, food that would keep over a couple days, because I have always assumed the food would kinda suck. It is priced, after all, as cheap as chips.

    If you were really a savvy parent, Sarah, you would have packed protein bars, granola bars, good crackers and dry breads, even started out the weekend with some good bread bought on Friday afternoon. Say, when you picked up that Summer kitchen pizza, you could have swung by a grocery store.  You could have used a couple coolers, kept them in your car, assumed that the camp food would suck and planned accordingly. There is a ton of good food that can be kept for just a couple days and a really savvy parent would have planned good food.

    It sounds like you live a privileged life,Sarah.  I am happy for you.  I wish you were more aware of the bubble of white middle class privilege you live in. Lots of people in this community can’t afford the cheap as chips experience you just had. And many of them could not have stopped and fed their kids forty dollar restaurant meals when they left camp.  Believe it or not, some folks would have left Echo Lake camp and headed to the nearest McDonald’s. We do have a few McDonald’s here in Berkeley and they must do a satisfactory volume of business because they stay open. Not all savvy Berkeley parents live in your foodie bubble Sarah.

  89. What type of “local” and seasonal produce can one really find in the Sierras? I haven’t seen any farm stands on my trips up there…because there’s nowhere to farm. To make so many things from scratch, as the writer would like, would require a large increase in working hours, which would certainly make the price of the camp go up. It takes hours to make a tomato sauce from scratch, for example—chopping, stirring. Which is more important: an affordable place for city families to go enjoy the wilderness or a more expensive place that has yummy food like you can get at home? There are plenty of options if the latter is your priority.

  90. Agreed.  Now that you mention it, it seems hard to believe that they serve more than one meal a day if the camp is $50 per adult.  It’s true, you get what you pay for. 

    For those interested in a family camp experience with good fresh food, expertly cooked, check out Cazadero Family Camp near the Russian River.  Two years ago they recruited a couple of chefs with great credentials to overhaul the meal service.  Now there’s three great meals a day, good strong coffee, fresh fruit.  (Sadly, the Family Camp chefs do not prepare meals for the Cazadero youth music camp.)

  91. I couldn’t agree more, Eric.

    As soon as I read the words “despite bringing enough hand sanitizer to serve the Armed Forces” I thought to myself Oh God, one of those!

    This is precisely the kind of tone-deaf whining that makes most of America think that everyone who lives in Berkeley is a snobby leftist.

  92. You know what I tell my little food snob Berkeley Public School fancy-school-lunch-program-lunch eating kids when they don’t like what I serve for dinner?

    “If you don’t like it, don’t eat it.  There will be breakfast here at the table in the morning.”

    Please note that your salad at the River Grill cost $10, the ravioli cost $19, and tax and tip would add another $10, for a total bill person, without beverage or an appetizer, of $39.  For one meal.  For one person.  I don’t see where Berkeley can supply that kind of food at $50 a head for room and three meals, and a “little tweak” would have to be in the $50 range, and that’s NOT a “little tweak” in my book.  Not with a family of four. 

    To answer the question posed at the end of the article, I say no, you are not “Berkeley food snobs raising kids”,
    I say you are over-privlieged, out of touch, obnoxious, self-centered, arrogant Berkeley food snobs raising kids.

    But that’s just me.


  93. I also wanted to add that while vegetarian cooking can certainly be cheaper, putting it out on a big scale AND having it taste good takes skill.  That skill needs and deserves adequate compensation, which again, drives up costs.  You get what you pay for.  A family camp that I have seen that does vegetarian really well and keeps food costs relatively low basically recruits the camper families to help cook.  We don’t do that at our camp, as that is not what our families are looking for per se, but it is a viable solution to higher camp tuition.  

  94. Like many Berkeleyans, I am spoiled by an abundance of delicious food that is frequently inexpensive relative to its quality. I would probably also have found the camp’s offerings just as unappetizing as the writer. There may even be ways the camp could at least marginally improve its fare (vegetarian or otherwise) at relatively low expense.

    Nevertheless, the way this article is presented strikes me as tone-deaf white whine in a world of famine in Africa and food deserts in our own communities.

    Reading passages like this make me cringe: “As savvy Berkeley parents we’d packed accordingly: Summer Kitchen marinara pizza, Kirala vegetarian sushi and Love at First Bite mini cupcakes.”

    Do I think those things sound tasty? Yes. Would I would to be able to give them to my own hypothetical children? Yes. But in the context of complaining about food at an inexpensive, publicly run summer camp in the Sierra wilderness, it sounds downright smug. Not to mention it also implies that being a savvy parent involves giving your children gourmet food. Does this mean that parents whose means or location compel them to give their children conventional or processed foods are somehow un-savvy? I’m sure this is not what the author intended, but I still think she–indeed, all of us–would do well to check our privilege.

  95. Were’s good ol’ Alice Walker now?  They’re serving crap worst then anything  you would  find at  a Oakland corner Liquor Store, but she won’t raise a finger to stop the slop they’re serving at that  sewage hole they call a lake.

  96. Interesting perspective to read.  I run a family camp in the northeast (Maine) and immediately what came to mind is the question of what you were paying?  In-season food is expensive and preparing things from scratch is expensive.  I know it seems counter-intuitive, but I can tell you from analyzing food costs for the last 15 years, that is the case.  Processed, heat ‘n eat food is cheap.  And since this is run as a children’s camp during the week, they probably made the decision to address the majority of their clients (the kids).  Kids are used to the crap they serve in school lunch programs and are used to what you saw there.  Anyhow, I digress, because what I really want to say is that you can indeed find a family camp that serves the kind of food you are looking for.  You will also pay double to triple what you paid.  Basically, you get what you pay for is a true adage when it comes to family camps.

    Keep looking for other ones out there.  What you are looking for exists.

    Best of luck.

    David B.
    Medomak Camp

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