News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

NOCHE

Akron General

Hennes Paynter Communications


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Social Issues




Farm-to-School: Cafeteria lunch is fresh and local at Tallmadge High School
Fresh Fork Market in Cleveland and Pisanick Partners in Broadview Heights teamed up for "Farm-to-School Week."
by WKSU's VIVIAN GOODMAN
This story is part of a special series.


Reporter
Vivian Goodman
 
Chef Parker Bosley is helping school cafeteria workers tune up their culinary skills to appeal to notoriously picky eaters.
Courtesy of Vivian Goodman
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

Produce from Northeast Ohio’s small farms is starting to show up in school cafeterias. 

That’s thanks to the efforts of a gourmet chef, a local foods entrepreneur, and a dietician on a mission. For today’s Quick Bite, WKSU’s Vivian Goodman visited as they got cooking on their pilot project at Tallmadge High School.

LISTEN: school-supported agriculture

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (4:47)


You don’t expect to see a chef like Parker Bosley slicing up pizza in a school cafeteria.      

“This is the first time I’ve been in a high school for quite a long time," he acknowledges.

The founder of Parker’s New American Bistro retired in 2006 and has been working ever since to help Ohio farmers find markets for what they grow. As chef-in-residence for Cleveland’s Fresh Fork Market farm-buying club, he’s come to Tallmadge High to show lunch ladies good ways to use farm-fresh local produce.     

“For me, an advocate of many years in this wholesome food and food from the farm, etc., this is very encouraging that it is not impossible to bring real food, whole food, nutrient-dense food into a school. And we’re seeing here that students do respond to it much more than a lot of people predict.” 

Better in several ways
Ninth-grader Cameron Figueroa made a beeline to the cafeteria when the lunch bell rang.    

“Bringing the farm to the school. It’s more natural than processed food and better for your body.”

But how does it taste? “A lot better.”  

Jeff Ferguson is Tallmadge’s superintendent.

“I had the summer sensation and then also the meat-lover’s pizza. It’s awesome. Monday we had a phenomenal taco bar. The kids loved that. And yesterday was a wheatberry salad with feta. And then today, I came in and they’re getting the thumbs up so the feedback from

the students. ... They really like the idea of knowing where this is coming from.” 

Farm-to-School Week is a pilot program developed by Pisanick Partners, a school-food consulting firm, and Fresh Fork founder Trevor Clatterbuck.

Fresh Fork picks up food from small farms and delivers weekly to more than 3,000 consumers.

Clatterbuck hopes to leverage his subscribers’ bulk buying power to make local food economical for schools, so they won’t have to rely as heavily on government commodities and big distributors.  

He’s busy this lunch period stirring the béchamel sauce he and Parker Bosley came up with for their “Summer Sensation” pizza.

Tracking down the ingredients
Its spelt crust was custom-made.     

“A bakery called Frickaccio’s down in Fairview Park, they started with spelt flour that was freshly grown and milled down in Holmes County at a place called Stutzman’s. The milk, the flour and the butter, all local sources from Wayne and Holmes County. The spinach here’s from Middlefield. The tomatoes were harvested in the summertime, processed in Cleveland. And the cheese is from a creamery down in Wilmot, Ohio, off of U.S. 62.”  

Transportation costs are less when food comes from nearby, but to make local food truly affordable for Tallmadge High, dietician Maureen Pisanick says they really had to sharpen their pencils.     

“Trevor and I are working really hand-in-hand together. It’s kind of a balancing act of doing the plate cost of $1.20-$1.25 and all of the nutritional components that we’re trying to meet, to meet the national school meal requirements.”  

Those have been stringent since rule changes in 2008. Fat is restricted to 30 percent of calories, and next year sodium restrictions are coming, too.

Plus, school cooks have tough customers to please. Pisanick says students want choices, so Farm-to-School week includes feedback through surveys and social networking.   

“We have to really up our game here in school food service to really get them engaged in the process.” 

The reaction from the toughest of critics
Ninth-grade athletes Jake Perrin and Nate Adolph put votes in for the pizza. They find they can stoke up on this kind of cafeteria fare and stay lean.    

“Fresh fruit and vegetables,” says Jake. “It’s like whole wheat bread and stuff like that.”

"The obesity thing has been a crisis lately," says Nate, “and they’re all trying to help us out.” 

Twelfth-grader Chase Scherzinger has spent his entire academic life in Tallmadge schools, "and school lunches haven’t been wonderful. They’ve been kind of smaller portions, not really that healthy. I mean they’ve been trying to improve them, but not really doing the job.”

How has it been this week with the new approach? “It’s been really good. I mean the lunches have been good.”  

Local economic benefits
And he likes supporting sustainable agriculture.  

“Getting everything from local areas is really nice because it’s really like stimulating the economy.” 

Tallmadge business manager Steve Wood says the popularity of Farm-to-School shows the concept could work.    

“It does cost us a little bit more for the meals. But the more students get excited about it, the more meals that we sell, it enables us to cover our cost.”

Besides, says the superintendent, well-fed students learn better. 

“Sometimes you have to step back and ask, 'What’s really the additional cost in our students not performing at their best?' But if this helps along those lines then a little extra cost is really an investment.” 

February’s Farm-to-School week in Tallmadge was Fresh Fork and Pisanick Partner’s second pilot project.

Hudson Middle School hosted a locally raised turkey dinner just before Thanksgiving.

The hope is to get more school systems involved as well as to teach the next generation the benefits of buying local.

And that’s this week’s Quick Bite. Next week, we’re all about rabbits:  how to raise them for profit, and how to cook them, too. 

(Click image for larger view.)

Listener Comments:

Great job Tallmadge City Schools! So glad to have a progressive business manager and superintendant!


Posted by: Patti Passarelli (Dunbar School) on April 22, 2014 9:04AM
Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook






Stories with Recent Comments

What's it take to take control of cancer?
In the case of bowel/colorectal cancer, the surest method of prevention is to have a colonoscopy, during which pre-cancerous "polyps" are removed - https://t.co...

Western Stark Free Clinic is set to close but to continue its role
WHAT OTHER DENTAL CLINICS AND MEDICAL CLINICS ARE IN THE CANTON AND MASSILLON, OHIO AREAS?

Three exonerated of murder convictions from 18 years ago
Thanks heavens that none of them have been condemned to death. This alons should convince the USA to join the civilized world by abolishing the death penalty. E...

Kombucha: a sweet business brewed with fermented tea
Stevia is not an artificial sweetener. It is a plant. I have one growing in my sunroom. The leaves are dried and added to teas. It's harvested commercially and...

Bringing back ballet in Cleveland
I do think Ballet in Cleveland is doing good things, but the fact that director says "When we have flourishing companies like the New York City Ballet and the A...

Report confirms some Vietnam veterans may have been exposed to Agent Orange
was in nam 1969 exposed va stated lost medical records was in lawsuit from 197? till settled 0 $ 2010 ? said all nam vets will get back disability till 198? jus...

Mentorship grant program redefines "faith-based" provision
Can't anyone have values, beliefs, and morals anymore? How is it anymore unconstitutional for a school partner with a "faith-based" organization than any other ...

Exploradio: The challenge of finding a healthy balance with technology
Thank you, Jeff, for another well done Exploradio. I always learn something interesting about what is happening in NE Ohio.

Northeast Ohio's transgender community rallies around restroom issue
A good first step would be for Cleveland to require restaurants to have a public restroom. Cleveland is the only city I've ever been in where restaurants somet...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University