MARCH PROGRAM TIPS AND INFORMATION
Johnny Appleseed, A hero of American folklore!
A hero of American folklore, Johnny Appleseed was said to be a barefoot wanderer with a tin pot hat, and a sack of apples, so he might leave the start of trees everywhere he went. But unlike his tall tale colleagues Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox, Appleseed’s story was based on a real man. His name was John Chapman, and his real life was far richer and more interesting than his legend.
You can still visit one of his trees in Nova, Ohio. This site is home to a 176-year-old tree, the last known to be planted by Johnny Appleseed himself. It grows tart green apples, which are now used for applesauce and baking in addition to cider making. While Chapman might be glad to see his seeds still bearing fruit, he’d likely be sad to hear this tree is a noted bud source for grafting new apple trees. You can read more about John Chapman at: MentalFloss.com
March’s featured fruit is APPLES! Regional/local apples are a winter storage crop and are grown in Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Indiana, and in Missouri, (for our western and southern Illinois schools!). There are two companies selling sliced regional apples (when available) to schools: Richland Hills Farms in Wisconsin and Peterson Farms in Michigan. Check with your produce distributor to order. If you cannot get these pre-cut products try contacting the companies directly to locate a distributor near you.
We have a new recipe!! Apple Crunch Salad
Several studies have looked at the effect of apples on risk factors for heart disease. One of the studies, done in hamsters, showed that apples can reduce total cholesterol levels and lead to drastic reductions (48%) in plaque buildup inside the arteries. If these animal studies were to apply to humans, it would mean that apples could be highly useful in helping to prevent cardiovascular disease (heart attacks and strokes).
Apples contain many vitamins and minerals, but not in high amounts. However, apples are usually a good source of vitamin C.
- Vitamin C: Also called ascorbic acid, vitamin C is a common antioxidant in fruits. It is an essential dietary nutrient that has many important functions in the body (12).
- Potassium: The main mineral in apples. High intake of potassium may have beneficial effects for heart health.
- The pectin in apples is a prebiotic, providing food for friendly gut bacteria.
- The phytochemicals in apples provide as much antioxidant health-protected capacity as a mega-dose of vitamin C.
Nutrition Summary: One medium apple, about the size of a baseball, delivers all this:
- One-fifth of the dietary fiber you should be eating each day for cardiovascular and digestive health. That’s more than a bowl of bran cereal – and better tasting, too.
- None of the bad stuff- no fat, no saturated fat, no trans fat, no sodium and no cholesterol. Apples are guilt-free!
- Small amounts of vitamin C, the best-known antioxidant vitamin.
- Small amounts of potassium, an electrolyte that’s key for heart health.
- All that, and only 80-100 calories depending on the variety.
FEBRUARY PROGRAM TIPS AND INFORMATION
Valentine Celebrations with Beets!
If your students aren’t eating your Harvest of the Month monthly veggies providing a little fun on your lunch lines and education to improve your customer response could be the boost your program needs! Let’s face it, beets are not an easy sell to school-age children. Building a celebration sprinkled with fun education can influence your students and help to gain acceptance of these earthy beauties!
Here are a few examples of this technique.
- Beets used as a dye: Cutting beets into simple shapes and using them as a stamp is a great way to decorate serving line and cafeteria signage. Fun facts with red beet hearts stamped all around will draw student interest.
- Creating temporary tattoos for students in the shape of a red heart that are a safe and fun way to celebrate this dark, red vegetable during February.
- “Will You Beet My Valentine?” This is a fun and inexpensive way to promote your February Harvest of the Month. Create a theme lunch for younger students, such as k-5 with a sweetheart beet promotion!
- “With Every Beet of My Heart” is a wonderful way to tie beets to that popular February holiday! Create signage in the form of giant beet love valentines to paper your wall space using beet stamps cut into the shape of hearts.
- Veggie Love Is In the Air! Utilizing a Valentine theme can provide a fun learning opportunity in the lunchroom and in the classroom. Themed lunch celebrations also increase participation numbers, which is something we can all appreciate!
- “Pickle Me Pink!“ Sharing how foods were preserved in the past by serving pickled local beets with a side of education on the preserving process is a sure win. Adding these pickled beauties to a themed Valentine celebration may be the catalyst you need to encourage kids to taste something new. Our Quick Pickled Beets recipe can take the center stage on salad bars, a special mainline salad or in cold sandwich lunches throughout February!
Happy Beet month!
JANUARY PROGRAM TIPS AND INFORMATION
Warm Up! with Harvest of the Month
The holidays are over and schools are settling back into their routine. It’s time to catch your student customers attention and bring them back into the lunch lines with Harvest of the Month!
Recipe of the Month: Cranberry Apple Coleslaw, hitting the trifecta of monthly featured foods!
For a colorful and healthy treat try Cranberry Apple Coleslaw as your Harvest of the Month recipe. This recipe is rated Basic for prep skills and has a sweet and tart crunch your students will love!
DECEMBER PROGRAM TIPS AND INFORMATION
Healthy Celebrations with Harvest of the Month
Change the Celebration Focus to Healthier Choices
On the Meal Lines
- New! (Your district name) (your district’s mascot) Ranch Carrot Fries are available today on the lunch line!
- Limited Time Only! (Your district name) (mascot) Fiesta Carrot Fries are available today on a lunch line near you! Add some spice to your holidays!