Students at the Curley Upper School, in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood, had the opportunity to “preview” and sample the salad bar that will operate in their cafeteria next year.  The Salad Bar, provided via the Salad Bars to Schools Foundation, was funded by the local Jamaica Plain Whole Foods Market.

Curley Principal Jeff Slater, along with Guidance Counselor Susan Trotz, both instrumental in the success of the project, were thrilled to see their students excited about healthy eating.  On the three days the bar operated this year, almost half of the students eating lunch in the cafeteria at the Curley school opted for the salad bar.  The bar was stocked with fresh romaine lettuce, baby spinach, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, sliced red cabbage, bean salads, turkey, ham, and low-fat mozzarella cheese.  Served with a choice of milk and whole wheat pita or rolls, the salad bar option is a full reimbursable school meal.

The Curley salad bar is the first salad bar in BPS to open and operate at the Middle School level, and along with 5 bars in BPS High Schools, is one of 6 bars currently in service across the district.  FNS staff, lead by Cafeteria Manager Rina Santillian, are excited about continuing the salad bar in the 2012-2013 school year.

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Wednesday April 4, Boston Public School’s Department of Food & Nutrition Services (FNS) in partnership with Whitsons Culinary Group launched a travelling salad bar program at the Nathan Hale School in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood. 

The salad bar was overwhelmingly well-received by students and staff at the Hale School, thanks in large to the support of the entire FNS team and Principal Sandra Mitchell-Woods.  Students were offered fresh lettuces, cherry tomatoes, sliced peaches, cucumbers, shredded carrots, low fat shredded mozzarella, and garbanzo beans as a side salad along with a choice of whole grain mac and cheese or a whole grain turkey sandwich. 

The Nathan Hale is one of our “Satellite Schools” – schools without a kitchen on site – serviced by Whitsons Culinary.  Between the spring and fall of 2011, FNS launched permanent bars in 5 high schools with full cafeterias.  The travelling salad bar is a pilot project with the intention of increasing the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables at Satellite Schools, and fostering food equity across the district. 

Pending a positive response from students and staff, the program will expanded with additional travelling salad bars next year.

Last week, Boston Public Schools launched salad bars in two high schools: Boston Arts Academy / Fenway High School and East Boston High School.

At Boston Arts Academy /  Fenway High School, the Salad Bar is available Monday through Thursday, and so far serving over 120 students daily.  Students are able to select their favorite vegetables along with protein choices of turkey, chicken, hummus, ham, and cheeses.  A variety of low-fat dressings are available, along with whole grain rolls and pita bread. 

Lynder Thomas and her staff are very excited about this new addition to their menu and thrilled with the feedback from students.  The administrative and custodial staff is also very enthusiastic and cooperative and has worked with Debra Korzec, Field Coordinator, and the entire Department of Food and Nutrition Services in making this new addition a success!

Over at East Boston High School, the salad bar initiative was initially undertaken by the Healthy Hood Club, a youth organization which was launched last year by Cait Van Damm and Alison Smizer of the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center.  The Healthy Hood Club applied to the Salad Bars to Schools Foundation last spring for the $2500.00 needed to purchase a salad bar for their school. 

In a surprising turn of events, the Salad Bars to Schools Foundation approved more salad bars than they had money to fund, meaning that East Boston High and the Healthy Hood Club would need to find alternative funding to make the salad bar a reality at their school. 

The Healthy Hood Club turned to Cafeteria Manger, Jennie Hall, and Field Supervisor, Patty Courteau, for help.  In collaboration with the school administration along with Shamil Mohammed, the Interim Director of Food and Nutrition Services at BPS, Jennie and Patty were able to set up a self-service “salad line” with equipment already available in the school cafeteria. 

So far, the salad line at East Boston High School has been a tremendous success.  Over 200 students were served the first day, and that number is on the rise!