MissionHill_FarmSchool_CarrotSoupCollageLast Friday, Chef Cristina Garcia from The Farm School brought a farm fresh carrot soup for the students to sample at the Mission Hill School in Jamaica Plain.

The Farm School, a nonprofit educational farming program, located in Athol, has been a central part of a child’s Mission Hill School education since the school’s inception in 1997. Each year, all children, from our youngest to oldest, visit the farm. Visits grow as children grow: younger children visit for a day while children in the 5th grade and older go for three days and two nights each year. While there, children help with the everyday work of the farm including planting, harvesting, cooking, and cleaning. Some of the most favorite moments have included cooking, milking cows, collecting eggs, making maple sugar, and learning how to care for animals and care for the land.

The Mission Hill students and staff loved the carrot soup and some even came back three times for more! Here’s the recipe if you’d like to try making it at home:

The Farm School Carrot Soup
Serves 10-12.

2 Tbsp Butter
2 cups Yellow onions, chopped (2 medium)
1 Tbsp Garlic, minced (4 cloves)
5 cups Carrots, diced (2 lbs)
3 cups Potatoes, diced (3/4 lbs)
3 cups Turnips, diced (3/4 lbs)
5 tsp Cumin, ground
2 tsp Salt (to taste)
10 cups Water
4 tsp Lime Juice
1 Tbsp Honey
1/3 cup Heavy Cream
2 tsp Pepper (to taste)

1. In a large pot melt butter over medium heat.
2. Add onions, stirring occasionally for 4 minutes or until translucent.
3. Add garlic, continue cooking, stirring occasionally for 3 minutes.
4. Stir in carrots, potatoes, turnips, cumin, salt and water.
5. Simmer for 25 minutes or until vegetables are easily pierced with a knife.
6. Puree soup with an immersion blender. Or carefully blend in small batches in a regular blender.
7. Pour soup back into large pot. Whisk in lime juice, honey and heavy cream.
8. Season to taste with salt and pepper

Optional Toppings: chopped cilantro, crema, toasted pepitas.

Also a special thank you to Cafeteria Manager Chris Whitley and his staff in the kitchen, and the Margarita Muniz High School students who helped hand out samples in the cafeteria!

February is American Heart Month! I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, American Heart Month and fresh produce than by making Heart Healthy Valentines.


Try making fruit kabobs and yogurt dip or red pepper and humus for Valentine’s Day. I used a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut my pineapple, but you can use any shape or fruit you like. Red peppers and white humus mimic Valentine’s Day colors, and are full of nutrients that promote a strong heart.


Give your sweetheart a healthy Valentine and keep their heart healthy all year long!

Fruit Kabobs with Fluffy Fruit Dip
6 servings

Ingredients for dip:
1 cup fruit-flavored, low-fat yogurt
1 cup fat-free whipped topping, thawed
1 teaspoon honey

Ingredients for kabobs:
6 to 8 pineapple chunks
6 to 8 whole strawberries
1 banana, cut into 1⁄2 chunks
6 to 8 red or green grapes
6 wooden skewers

1. In a small bowl, make dip by mixing together yogurt, whipped topping and honey.
2. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
3. Thread one piece of each fruit onto a skewer.
4. Repeat until the fruit is gone or skewers are full.
5. Serve with dip.
Variation: Use any of your kids’ favorite fruits.
Serving size: 1/6 of recipe

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:
Calories: 64 Fat: 0.4 g Saturated fat: 0.2 g
Cholesterol: 1.9 mg Sodium: 26 mg Carbohydrates: 16.5 g
Fiber: 1.1 g Protein: 2.5 g

Recipe provided courtesy of Eat Right Press, from Healthy Eating, Healthy Weight for Kids and Teens

Still thinking about making some new year’s resolutions? It’s not too late to kick off 2014 with a healthy start!

Here are some ideas for healthy new year’s resolutions:

-  Incorporate more whole grains into your weekly meals.
According to the Whole Grain Council, studies have shown that the consumption of whole grains may reduce the risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and help with maintaining a healthy weight.

- Commit to eating one more fruit or vegetable EVERY day.
Join America’s More Matters Pledge to Fight Obesity.  Besides being delicious and colorful additions to your plate,  fruits and vegetables provide your body with necessary dietary fibers that support a healthy digestive system, are packed with vitamins and minerals and can help your body reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and some cancers.

- Do something active for 30 minutes each day!
Whether it’s going for a walk or playing basketball, aim to get out there once a day!  For some ideas check out the Obesity Action Coalition’s Winter Fitness Fun Guide.

-Reduce your daily sugar intake.
Here’s an educational video that was shared on the Mother Nature Network about the effects of sugar on your brain.

What healthy habit are you committing to in 2014?


When I say “winter”, what is the first thing that comes to mind?

Perhaps you think of snow, the holidays, hot chocolate, cups of soup and warm slippers. But winter has a secret, citrus surprise. If you are a fresh fruit and vegetable enthusiast, winter is the best time to get your vitamin C boost. Blood oranges are blooming, lemons are lovely and if you are looking for a lime, look no further.


The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program is taking full advantage of the winter citrus season. We are serving tangerines, clementines, minneolas, Cara Cara oranges, blood oranges and satsumas. Students are learning about the immune system boosting benefits of vitamin C and about how sailors ate citrus to prevent scurvy.

Eating winter citrus is one great way to get your daily recommended servings of fruits and vegetables.  Tangerines, clementines and mandarins are small, sweet, and easy to peel. One medium orange is worth about  1 serving of fruit.

Did you know that grapes are actually berries? Did you know that the vitamin K found in fresh fruits and vegetables plays an important role in blood clotting and bone health? The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program is teaching BPS elementary students these fruit facts and many more!


Nancy Urena, FFVP Onsite Coordinator from the JF Kennedy Elementary School in Jamaica Plain.

What is the “Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program”?

The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) is a federally funded program providing additional servings of fresh fruits and vegetables to students in participating elementary schools during the school day. The goal of the FFVP is to improve children’s overall diet and create healthier eating habits to impact their present and future health.

This year FFVP is serving up healthy, fresh produce snacks 3-4 times a week in 27 Boston Public Schools.  This program is not only increasing children’s fruit and vegetable consumption, it is also expanding the variety of fruits and vegetables children experience.

So far this year students have tried pineapples, grape tomatoes, sugar snap  peas, baby bananas, satsumas and more! Stay tuned for other produce trivia, fun lessons for kids, and facts about local foods from FFVP this year!




What is Food Day?  Food Day is a nationwide celebration and a movement for healthy, affordable, and sustainable food.   Every day in Boston Public Schools we are trying to provide our students with healthy affordable, tasty meals.

BPS celebrated Food Day by serving up:

- Cheeseburgers made with 100% ground beef (that means no “fillers”!) on whole wheat buns.

- Homemade Southwest Vegetable Soup featuring locally grown butternut squash.  This was a recipe developed a few years ago by our former Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program Manager, Alex Emmott, and voted on by students in multiple schools across the city.

- Locally grown carrot coins, grown by Joe Czajkowski’s Farm in Hadley, MA (also where the local butternut squash was from!) and a fresh pear.

The best part of this meal is that these items are REGULARLY featured on the menu throughout the year! You don’t have to wait till next year’s Food Day to have a healthy tasty lunch!


What else did we do to celebrate Food Day this year?

At the John F. Kennedy Elementary School in Jamaica Plain, Ms. Moody’s 4th graders talked about their favorite vegetable recipes and planted garlic in their school garden.  Special guests included, Sadie Richards (our former FoodCorps Service Member), Sebastian Downs, BPS Green Schools Volunteer Management Coordinator, and Phoebe Beierle, BPS Sustainability Manager joined Ms. Moody’s class to talk about Food Day and how garlic grows.


How did YOU celebrate Food Day in YOUR school this year?


[1/27/2014] The 2013 Food Day Report is now available! 


MrsVeggieFruit_videoEATING – Mrs. Veggie-Fruit’s Jump Rope Contest from Boston Public Schools AYVProject on Vimeo.

Check out this student-made video about making healthy food choices.  Through a partnership between BPS Office of Instructional and Information Technology (OIIT)  -TechBoston unit and BPS Career and Technical Education, students participated in the Adobe Youth Voices Project (AYVProject) to develop videos on topics that are important to today’s youth.  These videos cover a variety of topics from autism awareness, to teen voting, to making healthy food choices.   To check out all the videos click here.

Congrats to the BPS TechBoston Apprentice Interns for promoting healthy food choices and all the students who created videos through the AYVProject!

Tell us, what does healthy eating look like to YOU?


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