Cole Turpin, Logan Lin, Jarvis Green and Josh Turpin on the opening day of the Poly Produce Stand at Vista Grande. Credit: Logan Lin / Courtesy

Editor’s note: This article is available in Spanish here.

Disappointed by the lack of fresh fruit and vegetable options available at Campus Dining locations, three freshmen roommates took matters into their own hands and started a business that would provide students with easy access to fresh fruit and vegetables. 

After composing a proposal, business administration freshmen Logan Lin and siblings Cole Turpin and Josh Turpin sent their idea to Campus Dining officials. After a couple of months, the idea turned into what is now Poly Produce, a stand outside of Vista Grande that sells a variety of fresh produce to students on Tuesdays from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.

According to Director of Campus Dining Jess Dozier, students often come to Campus Dining with observations of problems, but they do not always have a clear solution or vision to fix the problem. 

These three roommates, however, came to Dozier and executive chef Chris Dunham with data from students and a well-thought-out idea. 

In a survey the three roommates sent out to freshmen, 85% of the 1,012 who responded claimed they did not have easy access to fresh fruit and vegetables on campus, and 95% answered that there was not enough variety of fruits and vegetables on campus.  

A few years ago, a couple of students put together a similar concept where they sold fruits and vegetables at night by the University Union, but it was not very successful, Dunham said. 

Knowing that the previous model for this business idea was not successful, the team came up with solutions that would hopefully get more traffic such as putting the stand closer to the freshmen dorms and doing it during the day. 

According to Lin, on Tuesday, February 14, the stand opened to students for the very first time, and sold out completely within 15 minutes. 

For the first day, they sold $650 worth of produce. For the next Tuesday, they bought $3,000 worth of produce and sold about $2,500 of it, Lin said. 

“The second time we did it there was around 50 to 100 people waiting in line, which was [a] pretty great feeling,” Lin said. “It felt like this is working, and you know we can see this as a long term thing.”

Using the Cal Poly class of 2026 Snapchat story, Lin sends out a survey each week for students to take, asking which produce they would like to buy for an upcoming week. He then puts this information into a pie chart and sends it over to Dunham, who orders the produce based on the most popular answers. 

According to Lin, the most popular produce so far has been mangoes, strawberries and blueberries.

The produce is sourced from Vesta Foodservice and is sold to students at a minimal cost plus arrangement. Students are able to purchase the produce using their meal plan money on their PolyCard. 

“In this case, this is very much a service model,” Dozier said. “It’s meant just to cover its own cost. It’s not actually making a profit really at all yet.”

Lin and his roommates were hired by Campus Dining as associates to get paid for their time selling the produce. However, Lin said that his top priority was to give back to Cal Poly and its students. 

“It’s not a way for me to make money,” Lin said. “It’s a way for me to help other students.”