The Green Bean staff received its first batch of baked goods from Elsa’s Bakery, their new pastry vendor, March 2. Green Bean Manager Annemarie Schnedler (senior) reported an overall positive customer response to the change in vendors.
Until recently, Pasadena-based Lovebirds Cafe supplied the Green Bean since fall 2015. For several years before that, Porto’s Bakery, a larger bakery chain, supplied the Green Bean. Schnedler made the switch away from Porto’s because, while cheaper than both Lovebirds and Elsa’s, it did not meet the Real Food Challenge requirements. The national food justice movement to which Occidental pledged to participate in October 2014 requires that at least fifty percent of ingredients in baked goods are organic, locally grown and sustainably sourced.
“Since the Green Bean’s main focus is sustainability, we wanted to have our pastries be organic,” Schnedler said.
When Porto’s was unwilling to alter its recipes to meet the Real Food Challenge requirements last fall, staff considered Elsa’s as a possible new vendor, Schnedler said. Elsa’s was undergoing renovation at the time and could not manage the quantity of the Green Bean’s orders. Schnedler said now that Elsa’s recently expanded kitchen could handle larger orders, they could finally make the switch.
A Highland Park staple of 40 years, Elsa’s is closer than Lovebirds and already has a relationship with the school. Schnedler mentioned that the owner’s son is a recent Occidental alumnus, and with its York Boulevard location, Elsa’s is a common study spot for Occidental students.
According to Green Bean Manager Eddy Perezic (junior), Elsa’s is only slightly more expensive than Lovebird’s but a valid trade-off for better quality baked goods. Perezic stated that despite the increase in cost, the prices that students pay for pastries will remain the same.
Delivery schedule changes from Lovebirds to Elsa’s were minimal, according to Schnedler. Since Elsa’s already delivers pastries to the Marketplace three times a week, it only had to increase the number of delivery days.
The new pastries were set to debut Feb. 29, but due to mechanical difficulties with the delivery trucks they could not be delivered until two days later. According to Perezic, the wait was worth it, because the pastries sold out within a couple of hours of the cafe’s opening. Dean Lin (first year) did not enjoy Lovebird’s pastries and is very happy with the switch.
“I tried three of [Elsa’s] pastries so far and the quality is already better,” Lin said. “If I’m going to be paying almost the same thing, it’s way better and it tastes better. There is more variety in products. It’s awesome. I think it’s a great switch, especially from what we had before.”