While farm to school efforts are well established for fruits and vegetables in most states, other food groups are just now gearing up for local school delivery. We know about a few fledging efforts to bring local grains to school meal programs, like grits in Burke County, Georgia, and barley in Bethel School District, Eugene, Oregon. Thanks to FoodCorps Montana, Montana beef for Montana schools is becoming a reality – and other districts are sourcing local pork and poultry. Of course, fresh milk is a local product, moving from dairy farm to school carton in as little as two days.
Through innovative partnerships in a few coastal states, schools are now being able to serve fresh local fish to their customers. Students in Oyster River (NH) School District enjoyed that experience yesterday and Director Doris Demers was thrilled. The Acadian Redfish was caught by local fisherman on Wednesday morning, then 100 pounds were fileted and delivered to her schools on Wednesday afternoon by Tri-State Seafood.
By Thursday lunch, they were on the trays of lucky students throughout the district. This tray from Mast Way Elementary in Lee (NH), prepared and photographed by Manager Jess, includes brown rice and carrots, as well as fruit and veggies from the daily produce bar.
Each school cook had the option of preparing the fish ‘to taste’ in their kitchen, using a basic recipe with broccoli and cheese supplied by Director Demers. At Moharimet Elementary, Chef Michael used the broccoli as a stuffing and sprinkled the fillets with cheese before baking.
Chef’s Michael’s creation was very popular – 68 students chose the redfish hot lunch with similar side dishes to Mast Way. Teachers and families were also very positive about local fish lunches, which is a real boost to local fisherman. The Acadian Redfish, served in four New Hampshire district this week is a partnership with UNH Cooperative Extension.
At Oyster River High School, the fish meal was served on real plates because, according to Demers, it was “a very special day.” One student’s review of his redfish – “Excellent!”
With this #RealSchoolFood lunch, Oyster River Child Nutrition joins districts in Alaska, Oregon and Massachusetts in the boat to school movement. They also live up up to their logo: HEALTHY. LOCAL. FRESH.