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HUHDS Removes Tomatoes

By Jane Seo, Crimson Staff Writer

Tomato-lovers will soon be at a loss in their dining halls as they search for wedges of soon-to-be-gone fresh tomatoes in the salad bars.

Harvard University Hospitality and Dining Services decided to remove fresh tomatoes from the menus due to severe winter temperatures that have affected tomato quality and availability, said HUHDS spokesperson Crista Martin.

“The small supply of tomatoes at an acceptable quality is cost prohibitive,” she said, citing the 250 percent increase in the price of tomatoes this season.

The dining halls will serve the tomatoes that remain in stock but will not be purchasing additional batches.

Though fresh tomatoes will be missing from salad, sandwich, and taco bars, students will see very slight changes in the menu, Martin said. She did not know when the tomatoes will return.

“We’ll continue to monitor quality and return tomatoes to the menu as soon as the quality is up to our standards,” Martin said.

For the majority of the year, HUHDS buys its tomatoes from Backyard Farms, a 42-acre tomato growing facility in Madison, Maine. During the winter, HUHDS gets them from farms in California and Florida to meet demand at Harvard.

This year, however, freezing temperatures in Florida not only limited the availability of tomatoes but also affected their quality.

Tomato disappearances are not new to Harvard. In 2004, HUHDS removed tomatoes from the salad bar for two months for the same reason when a crop famine in the winter caused the price to skyrocket and the quality to drop.

Joel A. Rojo ’11, a Quincy House resident eating in Adams, said he eats tomatoes every day, either with his salad or as a side.

“Tomatoes add redness to my green salad,” Joel A. Rojo ’11 said as he stuck his fork into a slice of tomato from his plate of green spinach.

Rojo said he agreed with HUHDS’ decision to remove them from the salad bar since they are both expensive and poor in quality, a sentiment echoed by Leverett House resident Elizabeth R. Moroney ’12.

“I wouldn’t want to eat plain tomatoes if they tasted bad,” she said.

Moroney, who said she mostly sticks to salads with greens and beans, said the dining halls should present alternatives to tomatoes.

No other produce was affected by the weather.

—Staff writer Jane Seo can be reached at

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