Time to Celebrate the Harvest

Posted by Corey Burdick on 11/6/2019 11:15:00 AM

It's hard to believe that November has arrived. Gardens have been put to bed and their bounty harvested. What better time to gather with one's school community to share an afternoon meal consisting of items harvested right in our region!

The harvest meal has been taking place in various forms for well over 7 years! Carol McQuillen, founder of Common Roots (and retired SBSD teacher) was a key to its implementation prior to current Nutritional Services Director Rhonda Ketner coming on board. Ketner said, "It truly follows the 3C's of Farm to School: Classroom (students participate in preparing and serving. Their level of involvement depends on the school), Cafeteria (Nutritional Services plans, prepares, and organizes set up and serving the meals) and Community (people assist with setup, serving, and partaking in the meals with students). It is truly a joint effort!"

This meal itself is an all hands on deck endeavor. The Kitchen Coordinator is the Coordinator for the event at their school. The staff at the middle school cook the turkey, gravy, and mashed potatoes since the elementary schools do not have the equipment capacity to cook and store it. In addition, each school can also choose to offer extra salad or veggie items based on their distinct culture.

Over the years, menu-wise, there have been significant upgrades, according to Ketner. "During the last 7 years, we have added more local produce, herbs, and veggies from school gardens when available, as well as local farmers both directly from the farm and through our distributor, Reinhart, who sources a lot of local produce. What is offered is tied to what is available that year."

Not into turkey? Veggie lovers rejoice! There's a protein option for you too! Ketner noted that the roasted tofu option is housemade and is served with an herb gravy, most items are gluten free, and there is even a gluten free stuffing. Kenter is working on developing more dairy free items for future events as well.

The harvest meal will take place at Central School Nov. 7, Chamberlin School Nov. 12, Orchard School Nov. 14, and SBHS and FHTMS Nov. 15. The cost is the regular lunch price for students and visiting children: $3.25 for elementary, $3.75 for middle and high school, and the adult cost is $5.00 across the board. Check out the menu here!

Happy harvest!


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