Home­grown School Lunch Week cel­e­brated at FES

Times-Record - - FRONT PAGE - By JACK RODGERS jrodgers@ches­pub.com

FEDERALSBURG — Stu­dents and teach­ers got a taste of farm-fresh dishes Fri­day, Sept. 28, dur­ing the Mary­land Home­grown School Lunch Week show­case at Federalsburg Ele­men­tary School.

The statewide ini­tia­tive high­lights lo­cal farms and pro­duce, along with dishes pre­pared by se­niors study­ing culi­nary arts at Caro­line County’s Ca­reer and Tech­nol­ogy Cen­ter. Federalsburg Ele­men­tary School stu­dents filed into the gym­na­sium and tasted sam­ples from farm to tray pork, to fresh ap­ple cider.

Stu­dents en­joyed lunch with Caro­line County Pub­lic Schools Su­per­in­ten­dent Dr. Pa­tri­cia Sae­lens and other mem­bers of the school sys­tem’s staff.

“We do a large sam­pling so stu­dents get to taste ev­ery­thing,” said Caro­line County Pub­lic Schools Food Op­er­a­tions Man­ager Sam Figueroa. “We try and high­light the classes and the farms.”

Figueroa said ev­ery­thing in the cafe­te­ria at Federalsburg Ele­men­tary School dur­ing the week is from farm to tray. Blue cat­fish cakes, an in­va­sive species to the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay, are be­ing pushed for use in school lunches for their taste and en­vi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fit. Lo­cal Cam­bridge bi­son burg­ers also were on the menu.

An agri­cul­tural trailer with in­ter­ac­tive dis­plays from the Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land Ex­ten­sion pro­gram also parked at the school. Tom Hud­son, a Caro­line County 4-H ed­u­ca­tor, led stu­dents through the trailer, which in­cluded op­por­tu­ni­ties for stu­dents to learn about the state’s agri­cul­tural ex­ports. The state’s most ex­ported

agri­cul­tural prod­ucts are wheat, bar­ley and as­sorted pro­duce, Hud­son said.

Stu­dents also could try milk­ing a cow, fit with a plas­tic and rub­ber ud­der, or mea­sur­ing a horse in hands us­ing a scale set to the in­side of the trailer. Stu­dents also ex­am­ined dis­plays of var­i­ous corn grown around the state, as well as the ver­sa­til­ity of soy, and the prod­ucts it is used in.

“The main pur­pose of the trailer is to pro­mote the main agri­cul­tural prod­ucts in Mar yland,” Hud­son said. “Some trail­ers have hands on labs like this one and stu­dents spend 45 min­utes learn­ing about the farms around them.”

Mary­land Agri­cul­ture Sec­re­tary Joe Barten­felder also spoke dur­ing the event, touch­ing on the im­por tance of us­ing blue cat­fish in school lunches across the state.

“It’s not only good for you and good tast­ing, it also helps one of our most im­por­tant na­tional re­sources, the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay,” Barten­felder said. “With the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay, we want more crabs, more rock­fish and guess what one of the fa­vorite parts of the blue cat­fish diet is? Baby crab and baby rock­fish.”

Jodi Cal­la­han, an­i­mal sci­ence teacher at Caro­line County Ca­reer Tech­nol­ogy Cen­ter, spoke briefly about the re­la­tion­ship be­tween her stu­dents and the farm to tray pro­gram. The new­est ad­di­tion, a barn hous­ing hogs, goats, a dairy cow and other agri­cul­tural prod­ucts, gives stu­dents hands on ex­pe­ri­ence with ba­sic vet­eri­nary care and an­i­mal hus­bandry, she said.

“Stu­dents learn how to ad­min­is­ter med­i­ca­tions, ul­tra­sounds, do ar­ti­fi­cial in­sem­i­na­tion and then they also help with the birthing process of an­i­mals,” Cal­la­han said.

CCPS Food Ser­vices Di­rec­tor Beth Brew­ster talked about cur­rent and fu­ture ini­tia­tives in­volv­ing agri­cul­ture ed­u­ca­tion in the county. Lock­er­man Mid­dle School in Denton pro­duced 7,600 pounds of pro­duce dur­ing the sum­mer, which was then frozen and stored for fu­ture use in lunches, she said.

In 2017, CCPS won the Turnip the Beet! High Qual­ity Sum­mer Meals Award from the United States Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture for serv­ing lo­cal pro­duce through­out the sum­mer. CCPS’s food ser­vice depart­ment also is ap­ply­ing for a grant to pilot a mo­bile farm­ers mar­ket, which will make stops at known “food desert” lo­ca­tions in the county.

The next ini­tia­tive will fo­cus on farm to tray food, as well as tray to farm com­post, Brew­ster said. The project is cur­rently on­go­ing at Rid­g­ley Ele­men­tar y School, where the school com­posts about 800 pounds a day.

PHOTO BY DUSTIN HOLT

Caro­line County Pub­lic Schools Su­per­in­ten­dent Dr. Pa­tri­cia Sae­lens, back left, and Federalsburg Ele­men­tary School Prin­ci­pal Yolanda Hol­loway, back right, have lunch with Federalsburg stu­dents dur­ing the Mary­land Home­grown School Lunch Week show­case at the school Fri­day, Sept. 28.

From left, North Caro­line High School culi­nary stu­dents Johny Cas­tro, left, and Jor­dan Al­brecht serve wa­ter­melon juice from Har­ris Farms dur­ing the Mary­land Home­grown School Lunch Week show­case at Federalsburg Ele­men­tary School Fri­day, Sept. 28.

PHO­TOS BY DUSTIN HOLT

North Caro­line High School culi­nary stu­dent David Ross serves crabs dur­ing the Mary­land Home­grown School Lunch Week show­case at Federalsburg Ele­men­tary School Fri­day, Sept. 28.

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