It was no ordinary school lunch today at Castle Hills Elementary School in New Castle.
Students got to eat their lunch with Congressman John Carney who was on hand to promote National Farm to School Month.
The program encourages schools to use locally grown produce in school lunch meals. During the month of October, the Colonial School District is serving a variety of farm fresh fruits and vegetables in their lunches.
“The farm to school program is intended to connect local schools with local growers and to promote the consumption of local produce to fuel the local economy and to teach kids about what is available right here in our own state,” said Aimee Beam, education associate for School Nutrition Programs at the Department of Education. “The goal is to try and get a lot of new and different fruits and veggies on the menu to fit in with the new meal patterns.”
Students across the district sampled Brussels sprouts which came from John Detweiler’s farm in Dover.
The sprouts were prepared in a slaw-style salad which was made by culinary students at William Penn High School.
“Today we’re showing children the fun side to vegetables and how you can eat them different ways,” said Kevin Castro, an 11th grade culinary student at WPHS. “We’re serving a Brussels sprout slaw which is made with Brussels sprouts, chopped scallions and parmesan cheese.”
The students gave the dish mixed reviews, some said they’ve never tried Brussels sprouts and several went back for seconds.
“It was actually pretty good,” said one kindergartener. “It tastes like salad.”
“I would trade my whole lunch bag for a bowl of it,” said another student.
Not only do students have the opportunity to try new foods, they’re also learning the importance of where their food comes from.
“I think it’s important to make the connection with local farms and farmers here in the state of Delaware and then to make the connection of good nutrition,” said Congressman Carney. “I’ve been preaching five servings of fruit and vegetables a day for a number of years and it’s easier said then done.”
Castle Hills Principal Michael Rees added that the farm to school program is one of many ways that the school is integrating healthy food into the students everyday routines.
“We’ve been incorporating fresh fruit and vegetables for the past several years into the everyday lives of students,” said Rees. “Every day our students are given a fruit or veggie snack, often times that snack is produce that comes from a local area farm.”
Later this month, the school will serve lunches featuring other locally grown, seasonal produces, such as sweet potatoes, squash and collard greens.