Squash pizza lovers, rejoice — for a brief period, there will be more opportunities to sample sustainable food in Yale’s dining halls.
For the next few weeks, the Yale Sustainable Food Project will sponsor four entirely sustainable meals each week, up from one per week last year. In addition, late-night dining options in Commons will now include sustainable items.
But the greater presence of sustainable food on campus may not be permanent, said Ernst Huff, associate vice president for student financial and administrative services.
“There’s no commitment that [the extra all-YSFP meals] will continue,” Huff said.
Senior administration officials will hear a presentation on the future of the entire YSFP program later this fall, Huff said.
But in the meantime, sustainable meals will feature new menu items such as vegetarian minestrone, barbecue chicken, organic cranberry sauce from Massachusetts and raspberry cupcakes.
During the trial weeks, YSFP items will comprise the entire menu at Wednesday lunch, Thursday lunch and dinner, and Sunday brunch. As with last year, there will be at least one sustainable entree and accompanying dish at all other meals, along with sustainable items like organic milk, yogurt, bananas and granola.
The late-night menu at Commons — available until 9 p.m. on weeknights — has been expanded to include more substantial options including sustainable items. Offerings will include organic pasta with sauces like organic red sauce, roasted corn and tomatoes, grass-fed beef red sauce, and organic alfredo sauce.
Positive student feedback influenced the decision to expand the program, YSFP co-director Joshua Viertel said. In a spring 2007 survey, 40 percent of students said they often chose sustainable food over other offerings, while 25 percent said they always chose sustainable food.
The project adds variety to the diets of vegans and vegetarians in particular, some students said.
“I find that the YSFP meals are much more accommodating for vegetarians,” Claire Bucholz ’09 said.
But others complained about a lack of variety in YSFP menus.
“The butternut squash pizza is okay the first time you have it,” Roger Kim ’10 said. “But after a couple of times, you have to hold your nose before eating it.”
Student farm manager Emily Casaretto ’09 said she understands that students might be frustrated after the fifth night of pappardelle with Swiss chard, but that part of the sustainable food project’s mission is to increase awareness about eating foods in season.
“I love getting carrots in the winter after the first frost,” Casaretto said. “They’re so sweet. But you can’t expect to have tomatoes in the winter, too.”