In the last few years, Yale Hospitality has created many new partnerships with local farms and food suppliers.
But as the University moves in the direction of sustainability, it has ended some of its older partnerships with local food suppliers. Ward 2 Alder Frank Douglass, who worked for more than 20 years as a chef in Trumbull College, said the University stopped buying from two of his favorite local food vendors, Wozniak’s Meat Products and Lupi-Marchigiano Bakery, toward the end of his time as a chef.
Douglas said he believed the food from the new vendors was not as fresh and said he left his chef job in 2013 partly out of frustration with the University for ending partnerships with city food suppliers like Lupi’s and Wozniak’s.
Lupi’s was founded in 1900 in Hamden. The Lupi family supplied bread to Yale for over 60 years, before the University terminated the partnership in 2014. Peter Lupi, who is still running the family business with his brother more than 100 years later, declined to comment for the article.
The University also stopped buying food from Wozniak’s Meat Products, a company that sent pierogis to Yale’s dining halls, during Douglass’ tenure. Wozniak’s closed in 2015.
Yale Hospitality Director of Sustainability and Supply Management Geraldine Remer said Yale Hospitality spent a little over $500,000 with New Haven food producers in the last 12 months. This includes daily purchases from Whole G Bakery, biweekly purchases from Hummel’s Deli and weekly purchases from Lamberti Sausage.
Remer said Yale also purchases milk and produce from Connecticut farms. The largest change in recent years for Yale purchases, according to Remer, has been to have many of Yale’s suppliers work through the distributors Fresh Point and US Foods instead of delivering directly to Yale Hospitality locations.
She said food safety and quality are paramount when the University decides which vendors to work with. But employee conditions and benefits, sustainability, animal husbandry, and cost are also considered, she said.
Patrick Palmieri Sr., who owns Palmieri Food Products, a New Haven company that sells tomato sauce to Yale, said he is proud to work with the University.
“I grew up in New Haven, and I’ve always admired Yale. … I’ve sort of looked up to it,” Palmieri said. “So I’m very happy to be able to do something for Yale.”
Palmieri said his grandparents started the company in 1920 after moving to New Haven. Since that time, the business has changed locations and expanded, but has always remained in the New Haven area. Palmieri said he sells a unique sauce recipe to Yale that he created in conjunction with University chefs specifically for the dining halls.
Chef Stu Comen, who has worked in Yale’s dining halls for almost 40 years, said it is true that “some of the little guys have died off,” but that he thinks the University does try to source food responsibly.
He explained that while some products, like Wozniak’s pierogis and Lupi’s bread, are no longer carried, many new products, like chicken sausage from Lamberti Sausage Company and hot dogs from Hummel Brothers Deli, have been added. Corn, apples and many other fruits and vegetables come from local farms, Comen said.
“I think Yale tries to be as sustainable and local as possible,” he said.
The Yale Sustainable Food Project began in 2002.
Jon Greenberg | email@example.com | @JonGreenbergYDN
Sara Tabin | firstname.lastname@example.org
Correction, Sept. 6: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Yale Dining founded the Sustainable Food Program when in fact the Sustainable Food Program was launched by students in conjunction with then-University President Richard Levin and restaurateur Alice Waters.