Smoothies making the grade in Forestville

Rachael Goodrich, a Forestville student, is one of the many students who have enjoyed the new addition to the school’s breakfast menu.

FORESTVILLE — Students at Forestville Middle and High School have a fresh and healthy new menu option thanks to the Farm to School Grant: smoothies.

“They are a big hit with our students,” said Superintendent Renee Garrett. “We are so pleased to be able to offer such a popular and healthy breakfast as part of our school lunch program. I feel like we are just getting started with building more new and exciting ideas into our menu. With our next round of Farm to School grant funding we are planning on adding paninis with locally sourced food as another healthy lunch alternative. I can’t wait to see that take off too!”

Through the Farm to School Grant, Forestville was able to purchase some new kitchen equipment including blenders. The blenders have allowed staff to add smoothies to the breakfast menu three days a week.

“My favorite is the banana-peach … a great way to start your morning,” said Javier, a 10th-grader at Forestville.

So far, students have had a variety of smoothies to try, with favorites being strawberry-banana and banana-peach.

Middle school student Chris Waterman is a fan of the smoothies that the cafeteria now serves to students.

Terry Brown, the district’s shared cook manager, says “We tried some other recipes that students didn’t like as much as they like the strawberry-banana and banana-peach smoothies, so we will continue to experiment. We are also offering samples of new recipes for students.” This time of year, flavored yogurt and frozen fruit are purchased to make the smoothies. Once the fruit harvest season begins, the school will be able to purchase fresh fruit such as berries from local farmers to make the smoothies.

Brandi Pettit, health and physical education teacher at the middle and high school, is working as the Farm to School grant coordinator. This position involves contacting farmers, working with students to learn more about their food preferences, as well as gathering their ideas so they can help plan menu items. Pettit also gets students involved in the farm to school initiative by making posters. “We have noticed several students walking to homeroom with a smoothie cup in their hand,” Garrett said. “We have consistent positive feedback from students. Many students are return customers with smoothies in hand three days a week.”

Pettit said, “I love working with our students to find out what they really like and want more of on our breakfast and lunch menus. The students are getting involved and enjoy adding their ideas for food choice to our menus. Making sure students are well fed and ready for class is so important.”

A survey will soon be passed around the cafeteria for students to share their thoughts and opinions on the new smoothies. The survey results will provide students with an opportunity to share their ideas and help improve the menu choices. Students will also be able to share flavor ideas for future smoothie recipes.

Strawberry-Banana Smoothies (yields six servings):

¯ 24 ounces of vanilla yogurt

¯ 12 ounces of strawberry yogurt

¯ 3 bananas

¯ 8 ounces of milk

Banana-Peach Smoothies (yields six servings)

¯ 24 ounces of vanilla yogurt

¯ 12 ounces of peach yogurt

¯ 3 bananas

¯ 2 cups of pineapple orange juice