Royal Happenings: WM Schools participating in Farm to School program
Welcome to our first monthly article from Watertown-Mayer Food Service otherwise known as the Royals Café. We spent the summer months training, researching and planning for the school year. All 18 of the staff have returned from summer break ready for the new school year. We are excited to make it through the first month of the school year and look forward to the transition into fall, which in our line of work is celebrated by National Farm to School Month.
Currently we are working with a couple of local farmers. Our first delivery of the season came from Akerberg Acres, which is located in Carver; they have five acres of product and have been growing fruits and vegetables for six years. They deliver their fresh produce directly to the back door of our school and last week we even met one of their junior farmers.
Akerberg Acres also provides their fresh products to other local schools in the area, farmers markets and sell pumpkins and gourds to local nurseries. They are a family run farm and enjoy being outside and watch nature at work.
“It is rewarding to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to people and schools, knowing that the children are eating better!” said Darcy Akerberg of Akerberg Acres.
The growing conditions were not as desired this year with a lack of moisture, extreme heat and now what might turn out to be an earlier frost has everyone struggling to get the maximum quantity and quality out of the fields. One of our yearly visits is out to Fall Harvest Orchards in Delano. If you are looking for a unique place to bring the family and pick your own produce and take a wagon ride this is your place. We handpicked Acorn, Buttercup and Butternut Squash and grabbed up some end of the season huge, delicious watermelons, which will be served on the fruit and vegetable bar in the primary, elementary and secondary schools in the district. As for decorating this season, we found decorative corn, assorted gourds and pumpkins soon to be on display in the cafeteria.
There is a lot going on this month in foodservice. Last year we had requests for a hot breakfast at the elementary school. We are excited to offer our new “Power up with Breakfast Menu” to both elementary, middle and high school students and staff. In addition to the new format, we also offer a la carte breakfast items at the middle and high school level. Some of the other exciting things happening at the Secondary School which services both middle and high school students are the new Chefs Plate and Fun Food Fridays.
The Chefs Plate is available during lunch on scheduled days in the Royals Café as an a la carte choice. This is an “On Display” exhibition-style cooking station prepared by Chef Amy, offering a seasonal menu. Some of her menu items: Herb crusted Pork Loin with Sun Dried Cherry Barbecue, Royals Pasta Station, WM Sliders, Santa Fe Chicken Rice Bowl, Chop Salad Station, Homemade Soup and Sandwich and Calzones. Fun Food Fridays is on its third year, Mary Miller, Food Service Director and Chef Amy offer a range of culinary goodies for $1.00. The students and staff at the secondary school have an option of buying from our station: ice cream sundaes, yogurt parfaits, banana splits, fresh fruit smoothies, chili dogs and homemade ice cream sandwiches. For more information on this and other promotions please search for our Facebook page at watertownroyalscafe.
– By Mary Miller, WM Food Service Director