On October 14, Bend-La Pine Schools will celebrate National Farm to School month by serving up from-scratch chicken pot pie featuring locally grown potatoes at schools throughout the district. The effort is a partnership between Bend-La Pine Schools, Sakari Farms in Tumalo and the Garden for Every School team at The Environmental Center in Bend.
The local potatoes are just one example of how Bend-La Pine Schools works with local agricultural businesses. Every week, Bend-La Pine Schools serves 3,500 pounds of apples, pears, and nectarines fruit from Thomas Orchards in Kimberly and 500 pounds of beef from Painted Hills Natural beef ranchers in Fossil. Schools also use berries and melons from Mount Angel, wheat flour from Camas Country Mills in Eugene to make from-scratch breads, pizzas, cinnamon rolls and pastries and fish and shrimp from the Oregon coast.
“We are lucky to live in an area where we can use locally grown produce in the meals we serve to students,” said Garra Schluter, Nutrition Services Supervisor. “Our made-from-scratch chicken pot pie is a great way to showcase potatoes grown nearby while providing students with delicious and nutritious meals.”
This year, the potatoes were planted assistance from the Garden for Every School team. On Oct. 4, the locally grown potatoes were diced and transformed into pot pie filling at the schools’ production kitchen. On Oct. 14, the pot pie will be served up in thousands of school lunches. You can watch the potatoes being planted, harvested and prepped here, Potatoes from Sakari Farms.
“We enjoy partnering with Bend-La Pine Schools during National Farm to School Month and year-round, as they are committed to providing nutritious meals using Oregon-grown ingredients,” said Denise Rowcroft, Program Manager with the Environmental Center.
The National Farm to School Month celebration falls during National School Lunch Week, an annual week of recognition dedicated to highlighting programs and the nutritious food served every day throughout the year.
According to Schluter, Bend-La Pine Schools serves thousands of free meals to students each day, including 3,000 breakfasts, 8,000 lunches and 3,500 suppers with at least one entrée made from scratch. Families can find out what fresh food is served up each day online at bls.fyi/menu.