Monday, November 9, 2020

Schools and farmers take part in unique 2020 Taste Washington Day

Chris Iberle
WSDA Farm to School Lead

Yakima School District school nutrition staff did a Washington
Apple Crunch during meal distribution.
The 10th annual Taste Washington Day took place on Oct. 7 during an unprecedented, challenging time. Even during school closures and distance learning, farm to school connections between farmers, schools, and students allow communities to respond with resilience.

Schools showed inspiring creativity and flexibility to continue providing locally sourced meals, virtual Washington Apple Crunches, and other food and agriculture education during COVID-19.

At least 43 school districts statewide participated and embraced this year’s theme of  “What’s in the Bag from Washington." Heroic efforts of school nutrition staff and farmers helped make sure thousands of students ate seasonal, Washington-grown lunches and learned more about local food and farms. 

More than 80 Washington farmers participated, providing everything from apples to beef and kohlrabi to milk for school lunches across the state. Some even offered virtual farm tours and education.

Pullman Public Schools featured local apples,
lentil harvest chili, and educational handouts.
 Gov. Jay Inslee’s Taste Washington Day Proclamation recognized school nutrition staff, farmers, and farmworkers for their inspiring efforts, and the diversity they and their products represent. Farm to school increases opportunities for more producers to supply fresh, local foods to schools and students, particularly while so many of farmers’ other markets are closed.

In addition, First Lady Trudi Inslee recorded a video message for Taste Washington Day, expressing appreciation for the essential work of school nutrition staff and local farmers to provide nutritious food to students statewide. 

It was a great way to celebrate and kick off National Farm to School Month.

Here are a few highlights from the many ways Washington school districts celebrated Taste Washington Day 2020.

  • Chief Leschi Schools bagged up local pluots and pears.
  • Chimacum School District served local carrots, tomatoes, flour, eggs, pie pumpkins from Finnriver Farm, Red Dog Farm, SpringRain Farm, and Sunfield Farm.
  • Edmonds School District did a virtual field trip to meet a local dairy farmer.
  • Everett School District shared What’s in the Bag from Washington: cucumbers, apples, milk, yogurt, kohlrabi, and Asian pears.
  • Grandview High School students produced a fun Washington Apple Crunch video to celebrate.
  • Oakesdale FFA gave presentations on growing fruits and vegetables to elementary students.
  • Pullman Public Schools featured local lentil harvest chili and apples from Palouse Brand, Bishops’ Orchard and Whitestone Mountain Orchards, and sent students home with educational fliers about Washington lentils and apples.
  • Riverview School District featured local items and student-grown tomatoes from Cedarcrest FFA, pickling recipes for radishes from Carnation Farms, and Okanogan grown apples.
  • Seattle Public Schools featured a smoked salmon chowder bowl with locally grown fennel and dill, cucumbers for a side salad, Washington grown milk and yogurt with ingredients from Lummi Island Wild, Crow’s Farm, Ralph’s Greenhouse (sourced through Puget Sound Food Hub) and Hayton Farms, Darigold and Yami Yogurt.

Everett Public School lunches and
snacks included Washington-grown
cucumbers, apples, milk, yogurt, kohlrabi,
and Asian pears in bagged meals,
with stickers from the Washington State
Dairy Council.
Go to Taste Washington Day 2020 activities to see more highlights of the day from schools around the state, as well as find links to social media, photos, videos and more!

See the list of participating school districts and farmers and follow the school links to see their Taste Washington Day menus and more on their programs. 

Taste Washington Day was organized by the Washington State Department of Agriculture, Washington School Nutrition Association, and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction Child Nutrition Services, and many regional Farm to School partner organizations.