Decorah Community School District
Learnings from the Field
Decorah Middle School
Age Group: 6-8
School Size: Medium (301-900)
School Environment: Town Remote
School F/R: 24%
School ADP: 62%
Using Local Produce To Make Global Recipes
Every school day in October, the 550 students at Decorah Middle School sampled recipes from around the world. This program not only connected students to global foods, they also made local connection by using local, seasonal fruit and vegetables whenever possible.
Cafeteria staff prepared and served recipes alongside information about where and how this food is traditionally prepared and eaten, including a map and flag. The students were also given information about the star ingredient and the recipe.
With an entire month to travel the world through food, the students got to learn about (and taste) familiar and not so familiar fruits and vegetables.
“Sharing recipes and new ingredients with students was my objective, as well as exploring the students’ tasting pallets,” explains Chad Elliott, culinary specialist for the district. “I was thrilled that it was such a successful project.”
- The Food Service Director was able to really get to know the students’ likes and dislikes and gain their trust.
- Although some of the ingredients and recipes they tasted were challenging and intimidating the students handled them like champions. They gave unknown fruits and vegetables a chance and most of the time were pleasantly surprised.
- Decorah hopes to be able to incorporate some of these taste test recipes into their food service menus.
- The Food Service Director had a difficult time prepping everything and timing the seasonal vegetables. Because of an early growing season she ended up having to purchase several items from their prime vendor instead of following their original plan to purchase local fruits and vegetables.
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