Eating Fresh and Local = Joseph Charter School Lunches!

Post date: May 31, 2012 3:42:02 PM

School lunches have long had a bad reputation for being greasy, unhealthy, and overall not very appetizing. But, at Joseph Charter School, our lunches are quite different. Our cooks, Ann Dundas and Linda Farless, work hard to ensure that the students and staff at Joseph are fed healthy, local, and fresh options.

Most of our food comes from a supplier, Food Services of America, but Ann tries to buy local if at all possible. She often purchases produce from Sherry Curry, who regularly gets produce from Walla Walla. She also buys produce from Beth Gibbons, who owns Backyard Gardens, and produces and sells locally grown produce. Not only that, produce from our very own Magic Garden is given to the cafeteria in the fall months.

The salad bar is one of the best features of our lunches, as all of the lettuce (whether it is purchased locally or from our supplier) is washed and hand chopped each day. The variety and amount of vegetables vary with the seasons, but carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, beets, tomatoes, peas, and cucumbers are generally always available for salad toppers or sides. Not only that, they most always have sunflower seeds, croutons, kidney beans, craisins, and cottage cheese to add additional flavor and/or crunch to salads and entrees. In addition to vegetables, fruit is always offered as well.

While Ann often purchases produce locally, she also buys our beef locally. Ann buys beef from Fluit Family Farms, which is a local ranch just a few miles from town. At first, the kids were not used to the flavor of grassfed beef, and were unsure of the hamburgers. But, now, hamburger day is quite a popular lunch!

Ann says that she always tries to mix homemade meal choices with some fast food entrees (such as pizza, chicken nuggets, etc.). She also tries new recipes, and recently offered curried chicken as an entree choice. It was a hit, and will hopefully make a regular appearance on the lunch menu next year!

Each day, the ladies serve between 160 and 210 lunches. In addition to that, they also serve breakfast to any 5th - 12th grade students who need or want to eat breakfast at school. All elementary classes, K-4, receive breakfast in the classroom each and every day.

Not only do Ann and Linda cook breakfast and lunch for our entire school, they also often prepare seperate meals for students with allergies.These days, food allergies seem to be commonplace but they can cause serious reactions to some children. Ann and Linda are very diligent about ensuring that some foods do not contact each other, so that the students with allergies are not exposed to foods that can make them sick or cause a reaction. For example, nuts are always kept seperate from all other foods. Not only that, they are also very good about finding other options or substitutes for students with allergies. If your child has a food allergy, be sure to let the school know at the very beginning of the school year to ensure that our staff knows and can take necessary precautions.

As you can see, our school lunch program is not your ordinary school lunch. With a full salad bar, fresh produce, and local beef, the students and staff are pretty lucky! When school is in session, we always keep our breakfast and lunch menus updated here on the website. We welcome you to find a day that works for you, and come enjoy a meal with us and your child!

Joseph lunches are #1!

Ann Dundas

Linda Farless

Yummy salad bar!

Many dressing choices.

More salad bar deliciousness!

Kindergartners LOVE lunch!

Fresh fruit!

More lunch love!