Farm to School in the Cafeteria Manual - Preparing Fresh Foods

Lafayette Parish School System - Preparing Locally Grown Radishes for Lunch at Acadiana High

Lafayette Parish School System - Preparing Locally Grown Radishes for Lunch at Acadiana High

Preparing Fresh Foods

There are many ways to use local food in your cafeteria. At the heart of meal preparation is planning. Once you have decided to procure local items for your school district, you will need a plan how to incorporate those items into your meal program.

Menu Planning

Seasonal Recipes

Recipe Planning Tips

When exploring new recipes, think about:

Supplemental ingredients your kitchen usually has on hand
Available equipment (See Recommended Kitchen Equipment for Light Processing)
Staff experience and ability to handle the time requirements to prepare a recipe
Total cost for the meal (See Characteristics of Your School/District and Produce Calculator)
Whether students will be interested in the food item(s) being prepared (See Promoting Healthy Foods - Taste Testing Tips and Resources)

Recipes for Seasonal Items

Find out when seasonal food items are available by using the Louisiana Fit Kids Cycle Menu Seasonality Wheel. Promote your seasonal recipes using complimentary Louisiana Harvest of the Month promotional materials!

If you have a recipe featuring a seasonal item available in Louisiana, please send it to the Louisiana Fit Kids File Drop.


Links, Tools and Guides

Recommended Kitchen Equipment for Light Processing: This is a list of recommended equipment for scratch cooking in cafeterias.
Fruits and Vegetables Galore: This resource, developed for school food service professionals by USDA Team Nutrition, provides tools for planning, purchasing, protecting, preparing, presenting and promoting fruits and vegetables.
New School Cuisine Cookbook: This cookbook features over 75 kid-tested recipes; local, seasonal ingredients; and Farm to School resources (Developed by Vermont school nutrition professionals, with collaboration from the New England Culinary Institute and other partners).
USDA What’s In Season? Grouped by seasonality, this web page offers an easy layout for selecting commodities by their respective available seasons with commodity-specific recipes, fact sheets and educational tie-ins (i.e. a story about the item, including a recipe students can make in the classroom).
USDA Recipes for Schools: This user-friendly site, compiled by the Institute of Child Nutrition, lists USDA recipes alphabetically by name and notes the year a recipe was updated.
Louisiana Fit Kids Meal Pattern Resources: There are many more resources and planning tools available on the Meal Pattern page on this website.

Success Stories/In the News

Farm to School Activities (listed by SFAs - School Food Authorities)

Food Service teams throughout Louisiana are working with their schools and communities to engage students in Farm to School activities. Below are highlights from schools across the state. If you have a nutritional education or outreach activity that you’d like to share, please send an email to the Louisiana Fit Kids File Drop with a link to an article or information and photos about your program.

Lafayette Parish School System
Farm to School Network Helps Acadiana High Develop School Farm (PDF of news article)