Students try local lettuce.

A Special Serving of Farm-to-School Cookbooks

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Our intern, Rebecca Mount, culled these cookbooks from the web to help schools serve up local food kids will love.

Cookbooks that focus Farm to School are a great way to provide support to schools that wish to add local foods to their food service operations. These cookbooks serve as valuable resources for school food service professionals because they contain recipes as well as tips and other information about how to safely and successfully include Farm to School foods in their cafeterias.

1. New School Cuisine, Vermont
Created “for school cooks, by school cooks”, this cookbook focuses on seasonal and nutritious recipes for school food service. Each recipe indicates which season(s)- fall, winter, spring, or summer- the recipe fits into so schools can easily incorporate local and seasonal produce. Every recipe has been tested and evaluated three times by culinary professionals, school foodservice professionals, and students. Yields for most of the recipes is 40-50 servings, so the recipes may need to be scaled up to meet the needs of larger schools. Recipes can be easily scaled up, but need to be tested again to ensure quality with higher yields.

2. Kidchen Expedition: Oklahoma Farm to School Cookbook, Oklahoma
Recipes were collected from nutrition, culinary, and food service professionals to create this cookbook. The book is organized by fruit or vegetable and several recipes are provided for each food. Before the recipes are presented, there are several interesting facts about the selected produce, which is useful for marketing the farm to school items in the food service operation. Throughout the book, there are testimonials from school foodservice professionals that highlight the importance of the Farm to School program. Recipes are formatted like recipes for the home rather than a standardized recipe format, which may be less efficient for some food service operations.

3. The Colorado Farm to School Cookbook, Colorado
Prepared by the Spark Policy Institute, this cookbook is a collection of recipes used in Farm to School programs across the state of Colorado. The book includes a variety of recipes for service at both breakfast and lunch. There is a wide variety of recipe yields this cookbook, so some recipes are better suited for smaller schools and some are better suited for larger schools. It is unclear if these recipes meet current USDA nutrition standards for school meals, so recipes may have to be adjusted to fit within the standards.

4. Now We’re Cooking! Minnesota
This cookbook is collection of recipes from school districts all around the state of Minnesota that are kid-approved and meet the nutrition standards for school meals. The table of contents for this cookbook indicates what food group each recipe provides (whole grain or vegetable subcategory) and whether or not the recipes includes local produce. Each recipe has a different yield, so some recipes will fit better with larger operations and some will fit better with smaller operations.

5. Menus that Move, Ohio
This is not a cohesive cookbook, but a series of seasonal five week cycle menus available through the Ohio Department of Education’s website. This resource has recipes, nutrient analyses, and the USDA certification worksheets available along with the menus. The collection of recipes is not specifically focused on Farm to School, but each menu includes recipes that highlight local foods. Recipes are provided in the format typically seen for home recipes rather than the typical standardized format, which may be a less efficient format for food service operations.

6. Fresh From the Farm: The Massachusetts Farm to School Cookbook
Developed by school food service professionals, the cookbook is organized into sections by vegetable and includes several recipes with varying degrees difficulty for each vegetable. Recipes for each vegetable are presented in order of difficulty, from the easiest to the more difficult. This structure for the cookbook makes it easy for the food service professionals to integrate the vegetable depending on their constraints, be it time or other resources. This is a well designed cookbook, but was written in 2007 and may need some updates to be in compliance with current nutrition standards.

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