Four Winds gets vegan pita and banana soft serve, among other items

photos courtesy of Taylor Meredith/Catalyst

Having the menu boards taken down and replaced with blackboard paint isn’t the only change the Four Winds’ menu has undergone. On Monday, Nov. 7, both subtle and blatant differences were made to café’s list of options.

“None of the sandwiches will be up there listed as sandwiches,” New College alum (’06) and Four Winds manager Dinah Juergens said. “But most of the components will still be around.”

Chips and guacamole are no longer be offered, though it’s possible guacamole will become available at a later date, except it will be made by the staff at the café rather than having “this thing that we order frozen from far away that has lots of salt and sugar and preservatives in it,” Juergens said.

As healthy as the options already were at the Four Winds, the goal is to become “healthier and more responsible.

“We’re not going to get the same pita [bread] anymore,” Juergens added. “We’re going to be getting a vegan pita. We’re also getting rid of a lot of the sugar syrups because we have a million different flavors.”

Among the flavors still available are hazelnut, peppermint and vanilla.

The café definitely did not just remove items; it added a few fun new orders as well.

“We’re going to have banana soft serve,” Juergen said excitedly. “This is important because it’s the new love of my life.”

Juergens explained that the café bought a new machine that essentially grinds up bananas perfectly into soft serve, exactly like ice cream aside from its lack of sugar and dairy, thus making the treat more accessible to vegan students.

“You can get it with a scoop of nut butter, or peanut butter or chocolate hazelnut butter,” Juergens suggested.

Third-year Hannah Ackerman, who tried the soft serve, agreed that it’s a good addition to the menu. “It has a really nice, natural banana flavor,” she said.

First-year Emma Wolin also had good things to say about the new treat. “I’m a fan,” she said. “I suggest everybody try it.”

When asked if the soft serve is better than frozen yogurt, Wolin commented that yes, she believes it is, especially because so many places “in Sarasota sell frozen yogurt by the ounce and it’s too expensive.”

The café is now also offering baked sweet potato fries, which is becoming a quick favorite among customers. “They were seasoned deliciously,” first-year Cassidy Bingham said.

These big changes don’t happen very often at the Four Winds. Juergens, who has been working at the café for several years and who had been a customer even before that, feels that this is probably the first time the café has been able to make such drastic changes.

This is in part due to how the café is no longer obligated to order food the food distribution corporation, Sysco. The Four Winds is now starting to order more from local businesses, and hopes to one day get produce grown right on the New College campus.

“I think [the students] will be really excited about it,” Juergens said when asked how she thinks the students will react to the menu change. “I think it’s in line with a lot of larger, cultural movements everywhere.

“Also the idea is, with fewer menu items, the turnaround time will be faster. There won’t be people ordering a wide variety of things,” Juergens added. “The menu items will change each week. Most of the orders, I suspect, will be from the five things we have for that day.”

Customers are in agreement that the ordering and delivering time is definitely quicker than before. “Even though [the sweet potato fries] had to be baked, they were still out here in ten minutes,” Bingham commented.

“Service has been a lot faster,” Ackerman said. “I’ve been really impressed with it.”

An employee of the Four Winds, third-year Erin Jayes, spoke about the benefits of the menu change from a staff member’s perspective. “[This is] more economically feasible for the Four Winds because we can individually price everything,” Jayes said.

As Wolins would say, “Why not support your fellow students at Four Winds!”

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