Hello hello. This is Erin writing from the CAE's office on this June afternoon (I love how that rhymes). I come in to help out here about three times a week, but last Friday I had the opportunity to join Elena outside of the office for the Taste Test for a local lunch at the schools in Craftsbury.
First I'd like to say how pleased I was when I first heard about this project. I was a kid who brought lunch from home when I was in school because the generic options of pizza and chicken nuggets were nothing to the fresh fruit salad my mom would pack. Having a not only fresh and healthy, but local lunch at these schools is a wonderful idea and now I'm happy to say that I have had a (small) part in implementing it.
So, on Friday afternoon I arrived to the Craftsbury Elementary School and helped hand out the surveys I had copied and cut on Thursday afternoon for the kids to rate how they liked the food. (I'm the redhead in yellow on the right :) )
Then I got to help down the hall prepare bowls of salad as the kids lined up to receive samples of macaroni and cheese, pizza and a veggie wrap. I was surprised at how willing the kids were to chose their bowls of salad and take the pickles I was putting on their plates has they went back to their classrooms to eat and rate the food.
The process was similar at the middle/high school up the hill. I handed out the surveys and the students were surprisingly open to trying out these locally made food choices. After I had collected the surveys I got to have a sample! Everything was delicious, believe me. I almost wish I could go back to high school so I can have that veggie wrap for lunch.
This week I tallied up the student's opinions on the food. The Mac & Cheese was the winner with the most "love it" rating. The salad bar, surprisingly enough, was next in popularity. While there were plenty of "didn't like it" responses, that is expected, especially among k-12 graders. But overall I'd say this taste test was a success, and I hope this once a week local lunch program proves to be successful as well. I'll have to pay a visit during lunch time next year to make sure the food is meeting the same high standards. :p