September 2011

Wally and friends from the Dearborn in their new school garden.

Thursday September 22, 2011, Dearborn Middle School celebrated MA Harvest for Students with a very special guest: Red Sox mascot, Wally the Green Monster! Wally along with other distinguished guests, including City Councilors John Connolly and Tito Jackson, School Committee member Mary Tamer, and Edith Murnane, Director of Food Initiatives for the Mayor, encouraged students to fuel their minds and bodies with healthy foods such as the locally grown green beans on the school lunch menu.

The auditorium roared with excitement for Wally the Green Monsteras he was introduced as a “champion for eating his greens”. Wally gave two thumbs up for locally grown green beans and high fives to all the students as they filed out of the auditorium and up to the cafeteria.

Jose Duarte, Principal at the Dearborn, encouraged students to try these healthy options in the cafeteria and emphasized the importance of making healthy food choices by comparing eating well with putting good quality gas into a nice car. “You wouldn’t put cheap gas into a really nice car, would you? What happens if you just eat a big bag of chips from the corner store?” Duarte asked the crowd of middle school students. A few student from the back responded, “You’ll probably crash!” BPS Farm to School Initiative is not only increasing the availability of healthy options in the cafeteria but is also educating students about the importance of making healthy food choices and how these healthy foods are grown through their new school garden.

Wally 'high fives' students at the Dearborn on their way to the cafeteria.

Dearborn Middle School is one of Boston Public Schools’ 44 full service cafeterias that served up a share of the local harvest with Massachusetts grown apples, pears, collard greens, cabbage (homemade coleslaw), broccoli and roasted green beans this week.

Every Thursday is Local Lunch Thursday in all of the BPS’  full service cafeterias.  So look out for more locally grown items on the lunch line every Thursday this year!


Wondering where to find these delicious locally grown veggies outside of your school cafeteria? Check out your local farmers market!

Through a partnership with Mass Farmers Markets, we’ve put together walking maps from BPS schools to a few nearby markets. Check out these maps on our Resources page.

Many farmers markets are open from June through October.  Take a walk on over to the market after school and check out what’s in season!

For a more extensive listing of farmers markets in the area check out the Mass Farmers Market website.

Reminder: Tomorrow is Local Lunch Thursday! So get in line and try the roasted green beans!

Where are your veggies grown? Many of the locally grown products featured on BPS lunch menus are grown in Hadley, MA in the Pioneer Valley from farms such as Czajkowski Farms.

Meet Joe Czajkowski from Czajkowski Farms in Hadley, MA:

ACRES FARMED: 300, 1/2 organic and 1/2 conventional
FARMING SINCE: Farm founded in 1914
CROPS: Blueberries, carrots, cherries, peaches, peas, raspberries, squash, strawberries, sweet corn, sweet potatoes, tomatoes
EQUIPMENT: Four John Deere tractors, three Farmall tractors, two Landini tractors, assorted trucks, peeling and cutting equipment
FARM ANIMALS: A rabbit named Strawberry

Did you know…There are over 100 farms in MA that sell their products to public schools and universities in MA! For more information about farms in MA that are selling to schools, check out the MA Farm to School Project.

It’s Massachusetts Harvest for Students Week! Boston Public Schools is celebrating all week by serving locally grown fruits and veggies in all full kitchen cafeterias across the district. Wondering what’s on the menu this week? Check out We’ll be featuring fresh apples, collard greens, coleslaw, broccoli and green beans – all grown right here in Massachusetts! So go on, get in line and give these locally grown veggies a try!

Why Massachusetts Grown?
It’s fresh and delicious and healthy for you too! Fruits and vegetables picked at the peak of their season are packed with flavor and nutrients!

Did you know…
217 public school districts purchased locally grown products for their lunch lines last year. Boston Public Schools was one of those school districts!

On Wednesday September 7th, Mayor Menino and over 100 students, parents, teachers and other elected officials gathered for the official opening of the new Roger Clap Innovation School in South Boston. Attendees enjoyed a luncheon prepared and served by BPS Food and Nutrition Services staff and Whitson’s Culinary Group. The luncheon menu included a sampling of this year’s school lunch items such as baked Alaskan pollock, teriyaki chicken, three bean salad, locally grown butternut squash, broccoli, coleslaw and much more. Parents and students seemed excited and eager to give the new school food a try!

Superintendent Johnson sampling Whitson's school lunch options.

Chef Stephen Menyhart working one on one with our staff in the kitchen

Every year, BPS Food and Nutrition Services hosts a back to school training for all of our cafeteria managers. Over the course of 4 days, managers review everything from inventory control to new nutrition guidelines, to culinary basics to get ready for the school year.

One of the highlights from this year’s training included a day long culinary component led by 3 of our partnering chefs and one of our Field Coordinators.  During this training our chefs reviewed basic knife and safety skills and prepared a few recipes from this year’s lunch menu with our managers.  Many of these recipes reflect the department’s move towards “semi-scratch” cooking that incorporates some lightly processed products and some fresh ingredients.

Chef Kirk Conrad leading a team of cafeteria managers in the kitchen

 The kitchen filled with tantalizing aromas as managers worked together in teams to prepare an assortment of dishes including a butternut squash bisque, roasted green beans, sautéed collard greens (all of which were locally grown!), baked Alaskan Pollock (an unbreaded filet), and teriyaki chicken (also unbreaded) over brown rice. The result was a delicious feast and a team of managers who were equipped with new skills and recipes, ready to recreate these dishes in their own cafeterias.

Look out for these tasty recipes on the lunch line this year!

Arlene Whyte, Cafeteria Manager at King K-8 School