As the winter snows thaw and spring makes its way out of hibernation, U.S. fruit and vegetable production will begin to prop up, offering relief to anyone who has been awaiting the joy of eating fresh and local produce. The warmer weather means summertime grilling is right around the corner, but this isn't the only thing Spring offers. One of my favorite days of the year is just over a week away: Opening Day for Major League Baseball.
Growing up as a New York Yankees fan, a day at the Old Yankee Stadium typically meant my brother and I would enjoy a ballpark feast, including hot dogs, peanuts, popcorn and sodas. As we grew up and the Yankees moved across the street, the feast remained the same with the notable inclusion of a beer or two as our beverage of choice.
When you search the menu boards at concession stands, you'll see a lot more variety today than you used to. Now, you can order Shake Shack at Citi Field or Papa John's Pizza at Yankee Stadium. Minute Maid Park in Houston will offer a chicken and waffle cone this season. At Miller Park in Milwaukee, you can even order a nacho on a stick, whatever that is. Garlic fries, super-sized pretzels, gourmet hamburgers and more line the menu boards but it begs a question: where's the produce?
How can a pastime, so rooted in Americana, not match up with the amazing produce this country offers? It seems incoherent that the two are not matched up. Afraid of my own bias and experiences, I searched online for better produce options in other ballparks. It turns out that Citizen Bank Park in Philadelphia proudly notes that they are no. 1 at offering vegetarian options, with a full line of veggie wraps, salads, sandwiches and even gluten-free beer. Maybe they can bring some of their produce options with them when the Phillies play the Yankees this June.
Do you know of any stadiums serving more produce options? Is this likely to influence your fandom or attendance in those parks?
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Chris focuses on fresh, canned and frozen fruit and fresh and dried vegetables for the Food Institute Report. In addition, he assists in compiling data for various Food Institute publications throughout the year. He is a proud Rutgers University alumnus with a degree in English, and has a background in web writing for a variety of industries, including legal, foodservice and small-to-medium sized businesses. In his downtime you can find him watching New York Yankees baseball, hiking, enjoying live music and spending time with his dog Kaiden. He invites you to contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to talk about anything food-related.
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