DELMAR — You may have noticed a new apple symbol on our school lunch calendars; this is the mark of an exciting new initiative Bethlehem Central School District is taking part in.
An apple appears on school menu items to indicate an item we are sourcing from local New York state farmers and producers.
The New York State Farm-to-School Program was created to connect schools with local farms and food producers to strengthen local agriculture, improve student health, and promote regional food systems awareness.
To incentivize school districts to use more state farm products, the NYS 30% Initiative increased how much each school is reimbursed. The incentive increases how much a school receives, from 5.9 cents a meal to 25 cents a lunch for any district that purchases at least 30 percent of the ingredients for their school lunch program from New York farms. School districts that have reached the 30 percent threshold can apply for reimbursement.
A representative from Smith Packing Company of Utica visited the high school last week to give students a preview of the New York state beef products the school will be serving this year. These products will include; hamburgers, hot dogs, salami, bologna, and ground beef. Additional products may be added as they become available throughout the school year.
BCSD also sources a variety of lunch menu items from New York State farms; apples and cider from Samascott Orchards, onions from Fox Creek Farm, milk from Midlands Farms, and yogurts and cheese sourced from New York states milk. This list will grow as more local produce becomes available.
“I am excited for the opportunity this initiative provides. It allows our food service teams to serve the students delicious, locally-grown food from farmers around the state. It gives BCSD the opportunity to strengthen the local economy while providing fresh, nutritious school meals.” said Jaclyn Adler, Bethlehem Food Services Director.
To view school menus for all of BCSD’s schools, visit the Food Services Website at https://www.bethlehemschools.org/departments-services/food-services/menus/.