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.
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Kid-Friendly Strawberry Salsa Recipe

strawberries
Strawberries are a versatile fruit- they make a great snack or dessert, but can also pair nicely with salty foods or meats to balance savory flavors with a touch of sweetness! Try this easy 5-ingredient salsa at your next cookout- either on top of some grilled chicken, or as a dip for chips!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pint strawberries, hulled and finely diced
  • 1 jalapeno, stem and seeds removed, finely diced
  • Half of a small red onion, peeled and finely diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2/3 cup finely-chopped fresh cilantro, loosely-packed
  • Juice of 1 lime, about 2 tablespoons
  • (Pinch of salt and black pepper)

DIRECTIONS:

Toss all ingredients together until combined.  Season with extra salt and pepper if needed. If you would like a sweeter salsa, feel free to stir in a few teaspoons of warmed honey.

Recipe From: Gimme Some Oven

 

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!

FFF Sweet Potatoes  (2)