Harvest of the Month Recipe: Mushroom Quesadilla

Our Harvest of the Month program is back in full swing for the new school year!! All K-12 students will have the opportunity to try a seasonal fruit or vegetable at no cost during school lunch.  This is open to all students, not just those who purchase school lunch that day.  The first feature items will be mushrooms!  Elementary students can try them on September 15th during Taste It Thursday and our Middle and High School students will get to test their fears of trying new foods on September 16th during Fear Factor Friday.

New this year, we are providing recipes that feature the item our students tried that week.  The recipes have few ingredients, are low in cost, and are easy to make in order to help promote more of our families cooking together at home!  Recipe cards will also be available on the day that these items are offered for students to try.

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Photo Courtesy of Hungry Happens

Check out our first recipe of the year below!

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Recipe adapted from Hungry Happens

School Nutrition Services Wins “One In A Melon Award” for Virginia

One in a Melon BadgeLoudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) School Nutrition Services received a “One in a Melon” Award from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for its efforts to bring fresh, local produce to the students eating in school cafeterias each day.

One district per state received the honor. LCPS was selected from among all of the schools in Virginia with similar initiatives.
School Nutrition Services’ farm-to-school efforts date back to 2014 and include two local farms, Kilmer Farms and Wegmeyer Farms. For example, just last week, LCPS students enjoyed fresh strawberries from Wegmeyer Farms. The berries were actually picked the same day they were served in LCPS cafeterias.
In addition to receiving food from local farms, 31 schools also operate school gardens in an effort to produce some of their own food. Educational programs about farming extend to LCPS classrooms as well. The most successful project to date has been Farmer Trading Cards. The trading cards were released on the opening day of baseball season, which is also the first day of growing season. Instead of featuring baseball players, these trading cards profiled 12 Loudoun County farmers. The trading cards were produced in conjunction with the Loudoun Rural Economic Development Commission.
School Nutrition Services Director Becky Domokos-Bays says that future promotions are planned around Virginia Agriculture Week in October and the creation of more of the popular trading cards.

Health Benefits of Strawberries

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It is no coincidence that our students love strawberries!  This year, we have been fortunate to expose our students to locally grown berries from Wegmeyer’s Farm right here in Loudoun!

Here are some fun facts about strawberries!

  • One cup of strawberries provides more than 100% of the recommend daily allowance of vitamin C for adults as well as roughly 3 grams of fiber.
  • Vitamin C is an important antioxidant with many functions. It protects our cells from damage caused by free radicals, helps with wound healing, and assists with the body’s absorption of iron.
  • Fiber, particularly soluble fiber (which is the type found in strawberries) also has many beneficial functions. It can help lower our “bad” LDL cholesterol, regulate digestion and reduce our risk for cardiovascular disease.
  • Strawberries are a great source of Manganese as well, providing about 30% of the daily value in a one-cup serving.
  • Manganese helps the body utilize key nutrients, helps to maintain strong bones and healthy nerves, assists in synthesizing fatty acids and cholesterol, and maintains normal blood sugar levels- preventing energy spikes and crashes.
  • Strawberry season is in full swing, which is why all students in Loudoun County were able to try strawberries for free at their Taste It Thursday and Fear Factor Friday events in May!

This blog was written by Virginia Tech Dietetic Interns

 

Wegmeyer Farms Donates Over 400 Strawberry Plants to Loudoun County Schools

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Catoctin Elementary students planting the donated berry plants.

Last month, Wegmeyer Farms in Hamilton, Virginia generously donated over 400 plants to 17 schools in the district as a way to enhance their current school gardens and allow School Nutrition Services to help them make connections about their food.  Each school received approximately 30 plants that will mature to fully producing strawberry plants over the next year.  These berries can then be utilized in school meals and classroom education lessons.

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Students are making learning connections with the plants and how they grow.

Wegmeyer Farms has been partnering with school nutrition services this year through the successful farmer trading card series.  In May, some of Loudoun County Schools will see Wegmeyer strawberries on their serving lines for school breakfast and lunch.  Later this month, School Nutrition will be on the strawberry farm to film the first ever, virtual farm field trip that will be accessible to all students on the School Nutrition website.

For more information on Wegmeyer Farms visit their website.

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Catoctin students working with teachers to plant in the school garden.

Promoting New Foods During School Lunch

This year at LCPS, we launched our seasonal fruit and vegetable tasting promotion in all of our schools (Taste It Thursday in elementary and Fear Factor Friday in secondary schools).  In January, our elementary students were able to try seasonal ruby red grapefruit (the secondary promotion was cancelled due to the blizzard).  This promotion was conducted in all of our schools and was made available to ever student, both those who packed and purchased lunch.

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Our managers got creative and decorated their lunch lines with the fruit and even made pics and flowers out of some of them as a way to help encourage the children to try new foods.  The event was a success and managers reported a majority of their students tried them!

Next week the featured vegetable is the sweet potato and will be held on Thursday in the elementary schools and Friday in all secondary schools.  Make sure to ask your children if they tried it!

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