Thursday, March 12, 2015

Local NYS Beef At Haldane Central School District

Haldane's Farm to School Initiative just added something new to the menu: Local New York State ground beef!

After a very successful Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser last fall, the Haldane Cafeteria is now serving once, or sometimes twice a month, local ground beef from the Slope Farm to School project.

They started serving the Slope Farm beef on Feb. 23rd with their Blue Devil Burger Bags. I asked kids what they thought about the burgers. Well, they all said they were much better than the burgers the cafeteria usually serves. But pictures tell the story much better than I can:

Stay tuned for the next Slope Farm Beef Day at Haldane: Nachos Supreme with 
Slope Farm ground beef!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Cabbage Science: Something Fun to do on a Snow Day!

Cabbage Science
Test Whether a Substance is an Acid or a Base

Make your own pH indicator and use it to test the pH of various household solutions.
How do you tell if something is an acid or a base? You use a chemical called an indicator, which changes in color depending on whether a solution is acidic or basic. (Specifically, an indicator works by responding to the levels of hydrogen ions in a solution.) Red cabbage contains an indicator pigment molecule. Very acidic solutions will turn a red color. Neutral solutions result in a purplish color. Basic solutions make a greenish-yellow or yellow color.

Purple cabbage
Medium pot
Liquid soap
Baking soda
Clorox (for younger kids, use lemon juice instead)
4 jars or test tubes

Procedure: Place leaves of a purple cabbage in a pot and boil it in water. When the liquid turns purple, let it cool. 
Pour the purple liquid in four jars or test tubes. Predict whether the color of the liquid will change after adding the substance and what color it will be.

Pretty cool, right?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Happy New Year from Haldane Farm to School!

Haldane's Farm to School Initiative is growing like an eager young tree, reaching its branches in all different directions. The fall of 2014 was filled with fun activities in the garden, yummy recipes with the chef in the classroom, and popular taste tests and creative specials in the cafeteria.

Here are some of the highlights:

We started off the year with fresh corn on the cob in the cafeteria donated by a local farm in Garrison.
Parents volunteered to shuck the corn.

The kids couldn't get enough of it!

Mrs. Pray's class couldn't get enough Haldane garden tomatoes!
September's Veggie of the Month was Tomatoes.

Mrs. Moeller's and Mrs. Pray's 3rd grade classes' enjoyed their Farm to School Month starting with a Farmer in the Classroom visit from farm educator, Carolyn Llewellyn. This was followed by Chef Nick's Chef in the Classroom visit where the students became his prep cooks and learned how to make a fabulous classic tomato sauce.

October's Veggie of the Month was Broccoli. It was Mrs. Satterlee's 3rd grade and Mr. Dudar's 4th grade classes' Farm to School Month.
Chef Nick taught them how to make a Broccoli and Carrot Chinese Stir Fry.

Haldane 8th graders made a large batch for the taste test, and when it was served in the cafeteria, we had the biggest turnout in the history of the program: Over 350 tasters and 75% likes!

In late October, Mrs. Scrocca's 2nd grade class went to the school garden to plant garlic.
They planted over 50 garlic cloves which will grow into 50 heads of garlic by mid summer.

In the spring before school is out, students will have the chance to try the tender young greens called garlic scapes. Next fall the garlic will be given to the cafeteria to go into Lauren's special tomato sauce.

Later, Mrs. Scrocca's second graders had fun digging up carrots and munching on them for morning snack.

November's Veggie of the Month was Butternut Squash. Mrs. Windels' and Mrs. Hartford's 4th grade classes had their Farm to School Month coincide with their unit on Native Americans.

In the garden they learned about the Three Sisters and why the Native Americans planted corn, squash and beans together.
They harvested dried corn and ground it into cornmeal with an old fashioned mortar and pestle.

During their Farmer in the Classroom visit, 4th graders learned all about winter squash and tasted different varieties.

Then chef Evelyn taught them how to make a tasty variation on traditional cornbread by adding roasted butternut squash.

We had a few families volunteer to make the butternut squash cornbread for the school-wide taste test.

Posters advertised the event.

And we served over 400 pieces!

Students voted by putting a bean in one of the jars. We got a lot of thumbs up. (Some of the kids got carried away and dumped a bunch of beans in the "Thumbs Up" jar because they loved it so much.)

On November 13th, Haldane had its first Annual Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser for Farm to School. The tomatoes and garlic came from Haldane's school garden, supplemented by local farm tomatoes. The ground beef was donated by Slope Farms. The kale and arugula for the salad were donated by Glynwood Farm. The baked apples were donated by Fishkill Farms. Over $1,200 was raised to purchase Slope Farm ground beef for the school lunch. Stay tuned to find out when the first local burgers will be served in the cafeteria!

Also in November on pizza Friday, in honor of the Veggie of the Month, Chef Lauren made a specialty pizza with butternut squash and carmelized onions on top.

December's Veggie of the Month was Kale.
It was Mr. Peparo's and Mrs. Isler's 2nd grade classes' Farm to School Month. First they got their Farmer in the Classroom visit from Carolyn Llewellyn. She took them to the school garden and they saw that kale was still growing in mid December! Most were eager to try it as well as a few other varieties of kale she brought in, both cooked and raw.

Chef Evelyn came in next with a recipe for Kale Salad with Maple Citrus Dressing and an easy recipe for kale chips. The salad had local kale, local carrots, local apples and local maple syrup!

Massaging the kale was the most fun!

The kale chips were simply kale mixed with a little olive oil and sea salt. (Any teacher who would like to do this with his/her students can find the dehydrator in the garden shed.)

The Kale Salad with Maple Citrus Dressing was made by the 8th graders in their Home and Careers class and served on the last day of school before the holiday break.

The cafeteria also served special kale dish in December: Creamy Kale and Potato Soup. The word is the high school students thought it was terrific!

Don't forget to check out our growing recipe bank. Over fifty kid-approved recipes to try at home with your family.

Happy New Year!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Kale Chips Anyone??

December's featured Veggie of the Month for Haldane Elementary School was Kale.

Wait a second! Do kids even like kale?

Haldane's 2nd graders sure did!

Mr. Peparo and Mrs. Isler's classes had their Farm to School Month in December.
First they got a visit from the Farmer in the Classroom, Carolyn Llewellyn. She took them to the school garden and saw that kale was still growing in mid December! She also brought with her other varieties of kale both cooked and raw. The rule is, if you don't have an allergy, you have to at least try it. Everyone did. And most were begging for more!

By the time Chef Evelyn came in a few days later for Chef in the Classroom, the 2nd graders were eager for more kale.

Two things were on the menu:

Kale Salad topped with shredded carrots and apples, pomegranate seeds and roasted pumpkin seeds served with a Maple Citrus Dressing.

And Kale Chips.
Everyone enjoyed getting their hands in the kale and massaging it with the olive oil and salt. It's fun to do, but it also serves an important purpose. It breaks down the fibers to make it easier to digest and releases some of the bitter taste, making it taste naturally sweet.

One group worked on making the dressing and the toppings and another prepared the kale chips.

Fresh squeezed orange juice and lemon juice with local maple syrup and olive oil made for a sweet and tangy salad dressing.

Kale chips are a super easy treat to make in the classroom if you have a small dehydrator.

Massage the kale with a little olive oil and sea salt. Place the leaves on the individual trays. Plug it in and wait about three hours. By the afternoon you have a nice treat to give the kids before they go home.

We got a near unanimous thumbs up from the 2nd graders after tasting the Kale Salad. One student responded when we asked if he liked it, "I ate everything on my plate, and you know what that means."

The following week, the salad was served in the cafeteria as a school-wide taste test. And to round out the month, the cafeteria served a creamy potato and kale soup with fresh garlic from the school garden. The feedback from the high school students was that it was a big hit.

Here is the Chef in the Classroom recipe to try at home. Enjoy!

Kale Salad with Maple Citrus Dressing

A large bunch of kale, stems and ribs removed
Carrot shavings
Local Mutsu apples, thinly sliced
Pomegranate seeds
Pumpkin toasted seeds (pepitas)

6 Tbs. Fresh orange juice
2 Tbs. Fresh lemon juice
1 Tbs. Maple Syrup
½ tsp. Mustard
¼ cup olive oil
½ tsp. salt
Black Pepper to taste

Remove stems and ribs from kale. Rip kale into small, bite-size pieces and place in a large bowl. Add a little olive oil and a pinch of salt to coat. Massage kale until it softens and starts to turn a darker color.

In a large bowl combine freshly squeezed orange juice, lemon juice, maple syrup, mustard, olive oil and salt. Whisk until emulsified. Add to the bowl of kale and massage further.


Top with carrot shavings, green apple slices, pomegranate seeds and pumpkin seeds

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Haldane Elementary School Raises Funds for Farm to School at Family Spaghetti Dinner

Last Thursday, Haldane Elementary School had their first Annual Family Spaghetti Dinner to raise money for their growing farm to school initiative. "It had been my dream to have a family spaghetti dinner at Haldane ever since I started working here," announced Assistant Principal Julia Sniffen at the dinner last week.

Over the past few months, there had been some discussion about bringing local New York State ground beef from Slope Farm into the school lunch program, but the cost was higher than what food service could include in their budget. So at the September Wellness Committee meeting, Julia Sniffen came up with the idea of combining the spaghetti dinner with a fundraiser for the local beef. Sandy McKelvey, director of Hudson Valley Farm to School loved the idea, and the two of them immediately began planning for the event.

Food Service Director, Lauren Collica soon got on board and began processing and freezing local tomatoes and basil, including those growing in her very own Tomato Sauce Garden the Haldane Garden Committee planted for her over the summer!

"None of us could have guessed this would be so popular! Being our first event, we expected maybe 100 people," stated McKelvey. "But the rsvp's kept on coming, and by the afternoon of the event, we had over 240!"

The Family Spaghetti Dinner was truly a community event. It wouldn't have been possible without all the generous donations and volunteers.

Kory Riesterer, chair of Haldane's Garden Committee created the exquisite dried flower arrangements on the tables.

Slope Farm donated the ground beef for the bolognese sauce.
Glynwood Farm donated the kale and arugula for the salad. 

Fishkill Farms donated the apples for the baked apple dish.
Nature's Pantry donated all the ingredients for the baked apples.
Beacon Bread Company donated the baguettes.
The Haldane PTA donated funds to purchase the pasta.

BOE President, Joe Curto donated four pounds of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

Food Service Director, Lauren Collica said, "Last night was such a positive experience in all of my time running a kitchen. The amount of time, effort, and generosity from everyone involved is something that will continue to inspire me to keep fresh, local choices in our cafeteria."

And a big thank you goes out to all the parent, staff, and student volunteers that made this event so fun and memorable.

We can't wait to do it again!

Beacon Bread Company