Campus Dining


Dining news, upcoming special events and responses to your suggestions

Use our E-Suggestion Box for a response within 7 days or posted on our blog below.


October 29, 2013

This week’s local highlight is Pomegranates from Wawona Packing Co.

The farm, located about 200 miles from Oxy, grows many varieties of fruit. Wawona has been ramping up its commitment to sustainable production in the past few years. In 2012 it installed a solar array which produces 70% of its power, including for processing and cold storage. For a company that farms more than 6,500 acres and packs 5 million cartons annually, that’s a lot of sustainably produced power.

Pomegranates, which grow on a small deciduous tree, are thought to have originated in Iran, and have been cultivated since ancient times. The fruit has also featured heavily in religious traditions, appearing repeatedly throughout Christian, Jewish, Taoist, Hindu, and Islamic theology, often symbolizing fertility.  Pomegranates have also been used medicinally throughout history, featuring heavily in the...

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October 21, 2013

Wondering where those fantastic California avocados at the fruit stand are coming from?

This week’s local highlight is Morro Bay Avocados from Shanley Farms, which is located in San Luis Obispo County, about 190 miles from Oxy. Avocados are native to Central Mexico, but were introduced to the United States in the early 19th century and have thrived since. Southern California produces 95% of the nation’s avocados, but Morro Bay Avocados are grown in northernmost avocado growing region – San Luis Obispo. This variety is the last to be harvested in the California avocado season, and Shanley Farms is committed to letting harvesting only once the avocados have achieved peak oil content, making for a flavorful, creamy, rich avocado.


Shanley Farms started as a hobby farm for Jim Shanley in 1998, but he quickly caught the farming bug and by 2010 had hired his family...

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October 16, 2013

This week’s local highlight is Red Bell Peppers from Prime Time International Marketing.

Prime Time has several locations which they grow at, but during October their outdoor bell peppers are grown in Oxnard, CA, just 62 miles from Oxy. Originating in Mexico and Central America, the name “pepper,” applied to all the fruit of the Capsicum genus, is actually a misnomer. When Christopher Columbus brought pepper seeds back to Spain the peppercorn was a highly prized spice, and most spices which were similarly spicy were called some variance of pepper. Incidentally, the bell pepper, sometimes called the sweet pepper, is the only member of the Capsicum genus which doesn’t produce capsaicin, the chemical responsible for the burning spicy sensation we associate with other varieties.

Prime Time International has expanded to being the top supplier of peppers today. They have been dedicated...

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October 7, 2013

This week’s local highlight is Lacinato Kale from Babé Farms, grown just 160 miles from Oxy.

Lacinato kale is often featured in specialty salads and as a sauteed green. Also known as “Dinosaur Kale,” lacinato kale is extremely hardy and can survive through frosts, and is actually sweeter and more flavorful after being exposed to cold weather. This variety of kale originates from Tuscany, and is cultivated there extensively. It is a dietary staple and key ingredient in dishes such as Minestrone, Ribollita, and pastas. Lacinato Kale, which is more tender than other varieties, is also increasingly popular raw as a superfood’ in salads.

Kale is closely related to cabbage, broccoli, and other leafy green vegetables. Very high in a variety of vitamins, minerals (especially calcium), kale also contains high levels of sulforaphane, which is thought to have potent anti-carcinogenic properties. The...

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October 1, 2013

Did you know the tofu served in the Marketplace is local and organic?

This week’s local highlight is certified organic Tofu produced by the House Foods America Corporation. When House Foods Japan partnered with Hinode Tofu brand in 1983, House Foods America was born, and they have been premium tofu purveyors ever since. Made from 100% U.S. grown soybeans, House Foods Organic Tofu is made just 32 miles from Oxy. Dedicated to healthy products and environmental preservation, they have earned a variety of certifications including Non GMO Project Verified, Quality Insurance International Organic, Good Manufacturing Practice, and more. They also installed a rooftop solar system in 2010 to help deal with the carbon footprint of making 70 million blocks of tofu per year.

Accepted theory holds that tofu was invented in 179 BC by a prince in the Han Dynasty of China – yours won...

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September 26, 2013

Occidental ranks #14 in The Daily Meal's annual study of almost 2,000 campus dining facilities in colleges around the nation. 

On September 19th The Daily Meal released their annual top 60 rankings of four year college food services. Some of the schools, the study notes, failed to pass even the most basic health inspection, while others excelled, with fresh, healthy food prepared with creativity. Occidental, a newcomer to the list, jumped right to the top, outranking such schools as Harvard, Stanford, the Claremont Colleges, and almost 2,000 others. The Daily Meal called Oxy's food service impressive "on all fronts." 

A few of the categories the study examined included:

Health Food/Local and Sustainable: This category...

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September 16, 2013

DID YOU KNOW? Nearly every single carrot served at Oxy is from a local farm!

This week’s local highlight is Carrots from Grimmway Farms. Grimmway Farms is located just 110 miles from Oxy in the San Joaquin Valley in central California. The farm was established in 1968 when the Grimm brothers Rod and Bob decided to set up a roadside produce stand in Anaheim. Three years later the Grimm brothers realized that carrots were a perfect crop to rotate with their corn, and soon they moved to Bakersfield where the climate allows for two carrot crops per year. After more than 4 decades, Grimmway Farms (AKA Cal-Organic) has grown to be the largest grower, producer, and distributor of carrots in the world, and supplies nearly all the carrots that Campus Dining uses at...

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September 9, 2013

This week’s local highlight is shiitake mushrooms from New Union Farm.

New Union Farm was incorporated in 1995 in Riverside, CA after Andy Quach emigrated from Hong Kong to try his hand at mushroom farming, so these mushrooms only need to travel 50 miles to be a part of your meal. New Union Farm now operates over 500,000 mushroom beds, growing primarily organic shiitake and oyster mushrooms.

Growing mushrooms is a complex process that starts with creating the perfect substrate mixture – Quach uses sawdust, limestone, organic cornmeal and organic soybean meal. In addition, the mushroom spores have to be heated to get rid of any potential molds or bad bacteria. The growing process also requires constant attention because mushrooms are extremely temperature sensitive. Andy still works with a small crew of eight, delivering fresh mushrooms daily to local buyers. Find New Union Farm...

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September 3, 2013

This week’s local highlight is Tomatoes from Deardorff Family Farms, located just 60 miles away in Oxnard, CA.

Originally started in 1937 right here in Los Angeles, Deardorff-Jackson had to move its operations to Ventura and Orange counties because of urbanization. Today it is operated by the fourth generation of Deardorffs, and is focusing more than ever on sustainability. They strive to mitigate chemical usage, and increasingly rely on ‘soft’ tactics such as beneficial insects for pest management. They also work to maintain healthy soil with cover crops and crop rotation. Deardorff Family Farms is also responsible about giving back to the community, providing all their employees with good health care and donating to educational charity.

Now grown and consumed en masse in every state in the U.S., tomatoes were slow to catch on because of a...

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August 29, 2013

The FAQ Page for the new meal plan structure is up. Send additional questions or comments to


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