James Larson, Senior Photographer

While residential colleges are not taking on-campus students to Connecticut’s local apple orchards this fall, Yale dining and hospitality staff are continuing the cherished fall tradition by bringing the experience to campus.

On Sunday Oct. 4, Yale Dining provided students with freshly bagged apples from Blue Hills Orchard in Wallingford, Connecticut. In addition, the dining halls prepared a breakfast menu heavily inspired by Rose’s Berry Farm’s traditional breakfast for all students on the meal plan. Students could also take a virtual tour of Rose’s Berry Farm, one of the several farms frequented by Yale students.

“Since we couldn’t bring students to pick their own apples, we wanted to make sure they could still reap the rewards of apple picking!” said Christelle Ramos, senior manager of marketing and communications, in an email to the News.

Saturday’s meal is not the only special event the catering team has been coordinating amid its pivot from usual full-service dining hall operations to catered to-go meals. On Oct. 1, hospitality staff served cinnamon sugar donuts to around 300 students on Cross Campus in what was considered the “Bike Bites” debut.

According to Ramos, the “Bike Bites” series will be an ongoing effort throughout the fall semester. The team has planned five surprise giveaways and snack distributions across campus, and more are in the works for next semester.

These events will be announced on Yale Hospitality’s social media pages as plans are finalized.

With Yale Hospitality’s annual Fall Fest — an event where students gather on Old Campus to enjoy fall activities and themed residential college food stations — out of the picture this year, bringing similar events to students has demanded some “outside-the-box” thinking, according to Director of Culinary Excellence James Benson.

Benson pointed out that the “Bike Bites” launch, the virtual farm tour and farm-inspired breakfast were timed right around midterm season.

“We know that monotony breakers are a necessity — particularly for high-performing students during these circumstances,” said Adam Millman, senior director of residential dining. “Pop up and improvised event formats are very popular among students, and they allow for a brief disruption from the routine.”

Eight students interviewed by the News returned positive feedback for Yale Dining’s fall-themed programming.

“It was really cool that the dining halls gave us farm-fresh apples,” Marley Macarewich ’22 told the News. “It’s really hard right now to leave campus and get out and do fun things like apple picking, so Yale sort of brought the apple picking to us.”

Some students — Claire Nelson ’22, Molly McLaughlin ’22 and Macarewich — mentioned that they would like to see caramel corn, caramel apples and apple cider at future “Bike Bites” events. Kyra Montes ’22 noted that she would want last week’s cinnamon donuts to make a reappearance.

According to Millman, the “Bike Bites” could serve as an opportunity for attendees to “take advantage” of the fresh air and provide a break from a repetitive routine.

“As college students, especially with everything right now, it’s just so difficult to get out of the suite for any reason,” Montes said. “So I think this [Bike Bites] could be nice to make it a thing with your friends.”

The next pop-up event — featuring a “sweet bite prepared from scratch, with unexpected ingredients”— will be held on Oct. 16, in honor of World Food Day.

Maya Geradi | maya.geradi@yale.edu

Emily Tian | emily.tian@yale.edu 

Maya Geradi currently serves as a copy editor. She also covers technology and entrepreneurship as a staff reporter with the Science and Technology Desk. Originally from New Haven, Maya is a junior in Grace Hopper College majoring in chemical engineering.