Farm to School Comes to Life at Dover-Eyota Schools

While many schools have adopted a Farm to School program, Dover-Eyota Public Schools (MN) has gone above and beyond to offer their students fresh, locally-sourced school meals. Using apples from their own school orchard to make homemade applesauce and sourcing beef from a local farm to offer freshly-made hot dogs and hamburgers are examples of how they celebrated Farm to School Month, which wrapped up last week.

A Dover-Eyota PS school lunch: buns are from St. Charles Bakery in St. Charles; the hamburger is from Goldenrust Farm in Eyota, whose children attend Dover-Eyota schools; the tomatoes are from Blattner Farm (Produce Plus), whose children went to Dover-Eyota as well; the lettuce is from Revol Greens in Owatonna – making this entrée 100 percent local! 

Dover-Eyota Public Schools (DEPS) graduates with children currently enrolled in the district, the owners of Goldenrust Farm have continued a fifth-generation farming tradition of bringing local produce and foods to nearby schools. From one steer, Goldenrust Farm can provide DEPS roughly 3,500 beef hot dogs, which are then served in school lunches. The farm also provides the schools with watermelons in late summer, 16 of which are used in one single school day for district lunches.

Goldenrust Farm provided a virtual farm tour during Farm to School Month – October 2020.

Carrie Frank, food and nutrition director for DEPS said that the district started its Farm to School program in 2008, beginning with purchasing apples from Sekapp Orchards in Rochester. In a couple of years, students started their own orchard and planted 15 apples trees. Those trees now provide fresh apples, applesauce and other menu items for school lunch offerings across the district.

Students in DEPS participate in the Great Lakes Apple Crunch, biting into fresh apples from their school orchard.

DEPS promotes their Farm to School program to spread the message that healthy, local foods are being served to support local farmers and to show how school meals are made with less processed foods. They have created their own promotional content for their Food and Nutrition Services, including a video using Minnesota School Nutrition Association‘s (MSNA) “I Dig My Farmer” theme in their Farm to School celebrations. DEPS has highlighted various ways the district utilizes its own school gardens, orchards and local farms in their school meals for Minnesota Thursdays as well, which are Thursday lunch specials made entirely of Minnesota-grown or made food.

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