Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Some Sharples-goers may have noticed a reduction in fresh produce at Sharples. At the sandwich bar, the sliced tomatoes have disappeared and been replaced with pickled peppers or onions. Tomatoes were also missing from Patty-Grilla Bar and Burger Bar and fewer fresh vegetables appear to be available at the salad bar.
According to the Director of Dining Services, Linda McDougall, “This is something that happens most every year and is weather related.” This year however, the erratic weather has been particularly harsh for the produce industry, driving up costs across numerous items. McDougall says a case of tomatoes would usually cost $20, but are currently going for $50–more than double the normal price. The rising cost of produce appears to be the primary reason for its rationing. Eventually, as the weather improves and prices go down, the produce will return.
In terms of how Dining Services is dealing with the current situation, McDougall states her philosophy: ”We are trying our best to use the produce thoughtfully and to have it all but in more limited manner.”