Tis the season for local produce in New Jersey!
The benefits of foods from local farms are manifold: transporting fruits and vegetables fewer miles results in less transportation-related carbon emissions, and food from small farms is less likely to be tainted with pesticides.
And, of course, buying locally supports the state’s economy. While some of us may be voraciously loading up on our famed Jersey tomatoes, most TCNJ students are dependent on the cuisine provided by their meal plans. Thus, the decision to buy local falls out of our hands.
At this year’s first food services meeting, John Higgins, General Manager of Dining Services, assured student and staff attendees that Sodexo buys seasonal produce from local farms as often as possible. Higgins added that local farms are simply unable to provide the sheer quantity of food needed to fit the needs of the campus, despite there being over 10,000 New Jersey farms from which to feed our hungry students.
However, Mikey Azzara, founder of Zone 7 Food Providers, said that there are several medium-sized farms in the area that could provide fresh produce to TCNJ. Muth Family Farm, located an hour south in Gloucester county, would fit the bill, he said.
Nevertheless, in the case of the fresh fruit that is provided by dining services, Higgins guaranteed that it comes from the Garden State.
However, upon inspection of Eickhoff’s fruit selection, that cheerful red and green “Jersey Fresh” sticker was nowhere to be seen. The only fruit that could possibly be of New Jersey origins were the peaches, wearing an ambiguous “USA” sticker. Plumbs and nectarines hailed from California, while apples came from Washington State. While these fruits are domestic, they are a coast away from being local. It is unfortunate that The College of the “Garden State” is not utilizing one of its tastiest assets.