Looking for new ideas for Thanksgiving meals? Maybe try asking your kids! As farm to school celebrates 10 years of serving students in Western Nevada County, there’s plenty to be grateful for and lots of seasonal inspiration for eating well. Last month, Sierra Harvest completed its 8th year doing one of the most well-loved parts of farm to school- “Tasting Days.”
Originally billed as “Tasting Week,” this popular part of Farm to School brought 19 real life chefs into 27 schools over the month of October. In past years, all of this happened in one crazy week, but this part of the program has grown to serve so many students (nearly 3,000!) that now it’s a whole delicious month.
Students participated in making and tasting so many different seasonal recipes, it’s hard to keep track! Some favorites were: Tuesday Tacos in a Jar, Beet Relish and Beet Brownies, Fresh Spring Rolls, Tomato Salsa Challenge and Massaged Kale Salad- all starring local produce!
Veteran Chef Shauna Schultz (who is also a farm to school liaison) demoed at Seven Hills where 5th graders prepared and enjoyed Spaghetti Squash (from Posh Squash) with Cilantro Pesto.
Schultz, who is also a Registered Dietitian said, “The kids loved making ‘noodles’ from the squash and were quite adventurous with the pesto! My goal was to inspire kids to eat their veggies in a fun and creative way and overall, I would say it was a success as many kids were excited to make it at home!”
Her report is spot on. 5th grader Alex said, “Today I learned a lot. This was my first time trying squash and I am really thankful for this day. I really hope we get to do this again in 6th, 7th or 8th grade. Today I am going to ask my dad if we can have squash.”
Chef Bill Jensen also got some squash praise, “after students scooped out baked squash, mashed, carefully measured maple syrup and cinnamon, then spread their creations on crackers and enjoyed, one of the first grade students said with a broad smile, “I’m going to ask my mom to make this for my birthday party!”
To get inspired by more Tasting Days goodness (maybe you’ll find your next birthday party menu!), check out this recipe book from past years.
This year, like every year of Tasting Days, would not be possible without the volunteer efforts of each and every one of our amazing chefs! These generous culinary creators not only connected directly with local farmers to get the freshest seasonal fare to share with Nevada County students, but they also crafted recipes that kids from kindergarten all the way through high school could be involved in preparing in a hands on way. As one student from Clear Creek School said, “I actually like something that’s healthy for me!” Now that’s something to be thankful for.