The new school year is exciting in the food service for our district, staff and students. It was very nice to have 99.9% of my team come back for another year. Jackie Massaro retired after many years in the district and I will miss her as she was a very big part of last years accomplishments. We hired Patricia Hoagland to fill the void left behind at the High School Cafeteria. She is fitting in with professionalism that is unsurpassed. Patricia is very friendly and is already getting to know the students that eat breakfast and lunch with us every day.
The start is always a little crazy but with a team like I have it has been a pleasure putting this year together.
I have heard a couple of very positive comments that I need to address in the blog. I had a parent speak to me while I was shopping. She was impressed that we are using only organic meat and no processed food in the district. As much as we strive to better the nutrition of our students ,staff and the families of Salida there is no way we can claim either of those. We will always strive for better food but to say we are only organic and process free is a little over the top.
I have been a chef for many, many years and to say any food establishment is process free is almost impossible and not to mention expensive. My vision for this food service is to teach cooking in a positive direction with the mindset that we can always do better for our students.
The strides we’ve made in the nutrition of our students is not in question but a bit of clarity needs to be established when I get these kind of comments.
I announced recently at one of many meetings that when we serve our students chicken tacos, stir fry, any shredded or pulled chicken the meat comes from Red Bird Farms. Red Bird Farms is located just east of the Greely /Fort Collins area and is one of the first commercial organic chicken farms in Colorado. It along with many other companies are pricing some of there products for the use in schools. When Mike Mendocino brought a sample and price list to me to try, it was simply a great product at an even better price. Mike is proving that rethinking the food in schools is not just the job of the district but the community and professionals like him. Thanks Mike!!!
Another topic in that meeting was the entitlement commodity that we and every district in the nation receives from the federal government. Commodity food has become a scary word in the last few year because of the amounts of highly processed food school districts order. My comment was that this year I ordered no food item from commodities that was processed. Everything I ordered was in a raw state. Fortunately I am a chef and know how to handle food in a raw state. We then minimally process it for our kids. We all have to realize how much food is used in a school district on a daily basis. Too feed, in our case 750-800 kids a day the amounts are huge. Imagine the big districts that feed 100’s of thousands of kids a day. For instance New York City feeds 800+ thousand students a day. That’s a lot of food. There is a place for commodities. We here in Salida serve a lot of food. But we have a leg up in that our families are teaching the students of our town how to eat good nutritious food. We have organizations like Live Well and Guide Stone that give us direction and have really focused our community on the issue of better nutrition. We as a school district have partnered with these folks and our School board and especially our Superintendent Mr. Darryl Webb are 100% in tandem with the direction of the food service. It takes all the little parts of this puzzle to make a sustainable program work. A community like Salida and Chaffee County should be proud. I know the foodservice will keep looking forward and insure better nutrition for our children and community as a whole.
If I can answer these or any questions concerning the Foodservice program in our district please don’t hesitate to email me or call. firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-5433
Below are some picture of from the Garden to Cafeteria program this year. So far it has been wonderful.
Fresh Garlic Onions and Basil From Our Holman Street garden
Picture by Glenda Valdez
Center of The plate/ WW Penne with Roated Pork, garlic and Tomtoe Sauce,
Picture by Glenda Vaaldez
LES Salad bar With an array of freshness for Our Kids grades K-4
Picture by Georgia Yeager