2017-18 School Food Review
The 2017-18 school year has been a banner year for local, organic food in our schools! For several years now, Sierra Harvest has been working closely with the Nevada Joint Union High School Food Service Director, Theresa Ruiz, to support local purchasing in the school meal program serving NU, Bear River, and Silver Springs. This year, Sierra Harvest also supported the launch of the Foothills Fresh school lunch program serving scratch cooked lunches to Deer Creek and Seven Hills Schools. The Foothills Fresh program was a pilot this year through the NU kitchen, and by all accounts it was a mouth-watering success!
Sourcing over a TON of fresh, organic produce from 13 different local and regional farms- the school lunch program highlighted seasonal favorites such as: pluots, strawberries, pears, butternut squash, peaches, tomatoes, mandarins, melons, broccoli, sweet peppers, kiwis, persimmons, cabbage, and apples! Supported by lunchroom tastings by Sierra Harvest staff and volunteers, students were able to sample the new items and learn about the farms before trying it in the school lunch menu.
And the Secret Ingredient is…
150 students from five culinary classes competed in Nevada Union’s Junior Iron Chef Competition to craft the winning recipe featuring April’s Harvest of the Month ingredient: Microgreens (pea shoots and sunflower greens)! These budding chefs presented their recipes to a talented panel of guest judges. The winning teams went on to sample their recipes to the rest of the student body at lunch. The winners? A Turkey Veggie Wrap and Pineapple Bacon Pizza with Microgreens.
Apples to Apples
This year had the biggest organic food purchase yet! 700 pounds of apples from Cuyama Orchards found their way into school lunch. Special props to the Briar Patch Coop’s produce department who ordered, sored and repackaged the fruit for ease of use!
The Great Chicken Switcheroo
In the Foothill Fresh lunch program, chicken nuggets were swapped out for Mary’s non-GMO chicken drumsticks! The students and parents have loved the new meal option.
In this pilot year of the Foothills Fresh lunch program, participation has doubled at Deer Creek and tripled at 7 Hills! Students from a broad economic spectrum are choosing school lunch as their preferred option, and with good reason. At one open house, a parent asked, “Is it possible to get the recipes for the school lunch food? My kids love it and I want to make it at home!” That’s quite an endorsement.
It sure was a tasty year for school food, and doubtless next year will be even better! To learn more about the school lunch program, contact Lauren@sierraharvest.org