Last week members of Live Healthy Nevada County joined Grass Valley Child Nutrition Services Director Suzanne Grass and Grass Valley School Superintendent Eric Frederickson on a field trip down to Davis to see what they were serving for lunch in the Davis Joint Unified School District (DJUSD). DJUSD’s food service director Rafaelita Curva treated us to a tour of her Central Kitchen, one elementary school lunch period (where we witnessed first graders making their own selections from a salad bar), and an actual lunch at a middle school.
Rafaelita takes her school-age customers very seriously – after surveying them to find out what they liked and didn’t like, she developed a menu that promises freshly prepared, scratch-cooked local and seasonal foods that are “prepared with love”.
How does this mission play out in the schools? DJUSD serves a range of menu items, including the ubiquitous chicken “fingers” and pizza, but their pizza is topped with vegetables grown within 300 miles of Davis, paid for by a local bond measure. And the quesadilla going out the door to the elementary schools included butternut squash and kale tucked in with the cheese, providing for extra nutritious (and visually appealing) school lunches. The kids literally “eat it up”. Especially when it includes pesto made from basil that they grew in their own school garden. I personally enjoyed the chicken adobo (baked in the Central Kitchen’s oven) with brown and white rice, a salad from the salad bar, and a locally grown mandarin orange.
Brenda Padilla, food service director for Sacramento City school food, also joined us in Davis to talk about her program. She has her own challenges – 87 different kitchens that prepare food for her students. Sacramento, like Nevada County, is hoping to transform the central kitchen in the near future.
More information (including video clips) here: http://www.djusd.net/district/business/sns/menu