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Essex County, Farm to School
Learning About the Parts of the Plant That We Eat

In January students across Essex County learned about the different parts of the plant since our Harvest of the Month featured root vegetables. Students identified different vegetables parts and then got to taste test locally grown beets and carrots from Juniper Hill Farm.

Interested in implementing this activity?

Visit the link below to view the lesson! 


 
View the Lesson
Argyle Central School
Dairy Celebration 
 
This February Argyle Central Schools featured Dairy as their Harvest of the Month. To get students more involved and to celebrate local producers, students in grades pre-k through 12 participated in a tasting of yogurt smoothies from Argyle Cheese Farmer. Current Washington County Dairy Princess, Katie Larmon, and staff educators from CCE Washington County spent time with students sampling five different flavors of smoothies that are available for students to purchase as part of their lunch. For more information on Argyle Cheese Farmer products click below.
Argyle Cheese Farmer
Mechanicville School District 
Connecting with Students Through Food 
 
Mechanicville School District has made significant strides in their Farm to School efforts. Food Service Director, Deb Mackey has implemented major changes across the entire school to get students excited about not only school lunch but Farm to School! 

The 2nd Friday of every month features Taste Test Fridays. Each month a different Harvest of the month item is featured during the Taste Test Fridays. In honor of this month's Harvest of the Month item, Deb and her staff put together a baked potato bar for the High School & made a parmesan roasted oven fry for the Elementary School. 

You can see Deb & her staff in action by following the Mechanicville Food Service Facebook account or the brand new instagram account! Mechanicville Food Service puts content out on both accounts regularly highlighting menu items and unique opportunities. 
Some of these unique opportunities would include Talk to Us Tuesdays, the Food Forum Student Advisory Counsel (for school lunch), Valentine's Day Cupcake Wars, National Breakfast Week competitions, giveaways and more. 
These are just a few highlights from Mechanicville Food Service. Deb & her staff continuously find ways to spark new ideas to build relationships with the students of Mechanicville through healthy, delicious and nutritious food. 

Check out Mechanicville's hard work and progress to date below. We are so excited to see what Mechanicville Food Service has in store for the rest of the school year!  
Harvest of the Month: February 2022 - Sweet Potatoes and Potatoes

How to celebrate the Harvest of the Month
  • Highlight the harvest each month in the cafeteria by serving the food during breakfast and lunch or through taste tests. 
  • Encourage students to try foods they haven't tried before, and highlight the harvest with signage as the students go through the cafeteria line. 
  • Teach a lesson in the classroom that highlights the harvest. If you are looking for ideas, reach out to the Farm to School Coordinator in your region.
  • If the weather allows, head out into the garden to plant, harvest, or just learn about the Harvest of the Month. 
  • Invite a farmer into the classroom, cafeteria, or auditorium to speak about the Harvest of the Month and how they produce it. 
  • Participate in school-wide events
      Sweet Potato Varieties
  • Beaureguard
  • Jewel 
  • Covington
  • Garnet 
  • Japanese
  • Heart of Gold


    Potato Varieties
  • Russet
  • Yukon Gold 
  • Adirondack Blue 
  • Kennebec
  • Austrian Crescent Fingerling
Is a Sweet Potato Just an Orange Potato?

In fact, no! Many people think that a sweet potato is just an orange potato, but sweet potatoes are genetically very different from potatoes. Potatoes are a member of the nightshade family and are more closely related to tomatoes and eggplant, while sweet potatoes are a member of the morning glory family and are closely related to morning glories and other similar flower species. Even though they are very different, they can be cooked and prepared in similar ways. In the United States, North Carolina is the number one producer of sweet potatoes, and Idaho is the number one producer of potatoes. Although New York is not the number one producer of either one, our region has many farms that grow both of these vegetables, and they can be found locally throughout the winter months.
Sweet Potato History
Sweet potatoes are said to have originated from South America where they have been eaten for over 5,000 years. From there, sweet potatoes spread to Polynesia and the Pacific Islands, and later to North America and Europe. 

Christopher Columbus is credited with introducing Europe to the sweet potato around 1500. By the mid 1600’s sweet potatoes were widely cultivated in the warmer, southern parts of Europe. Indigenous people in North America also grew and ate sweet potatoes, and evidence shows that it was a staple crop in the modern-day American south by the 1700’s.

Sweet potatoes prefer warmer climates, so they thrived in the more southern areas. Because of this, they were a popular crop grown by enslaved people on plantations. They were a relatively hardy crop to grow, and Black farmers continued to grow them after enslavement, as noted by George Washington Carver in a publication dated March 1910 called “Possibilities of the Sweet Potato in Macon County, Alabama”.
Preparation & Cooking Tips 
  • Roast it: Cook diced sweet potatoes or potatoes in a 425 degree oven with whatever spices you'd like.
  • Mash it: Steam or boil sweet potatoes or potatoes and then mash them with milk and butter. 
  • Turn them into soup: Boil and puree sweet potatoes or potatoes into a creamy soup, or dice them and mix with other vegetables into a chunky soup. 
Agriculture Literacy Week 
March 21-25, 2022
 
 In celebration of New York agriculture, volunteers throughout the state will read a book with an agricultural theme to elementary students, with a focus on second grade classrooms. Farmers, FFA and 4-H members, adults engaged in a career in agriculture, and engaged in our food system volunteer to enthusiastically engage your students in a paired hands-on activity related to the book to extend learning. The book will be donated to the school or classroom library with a bookplate recognizing the donor and our celebration of New York Agricultural Literacy Week. 2,300 books were donated last year while 75,000 elementary students participated in an experiential learning activity
  1. Agricultural Literacy Week volunteers work with their county's coordinator to set up visits to local schools
  2. Volunteers read the selected book aloud to the students.
  3. Following the reading, volunteers conduct an activity with students and share their experiences in agriculture.
  4. The book is donated to the school or classroom library for students to enjoy and reference throughout the school year.

All activity materials are prepared by NYAITC and schools get to keep a copy of the book for their school or classroom library.

Learn More Here at New York Ag in the Classroom
Good Food Impact Hub
 
The nonprofit Center for Good Food Purchasing has launched its Good Food Impact Hub, a suite of online tools that assist large food service institutions, like school districts, calculate the health, environmental and economic value of adopting more sustainable procurement practices. Users can package datasets through five value lenses: enhanced health and nutrition, reduced environmental impacts, more robust local economies, more valued workforces, and improved animal welfare. 
Explore The Center for Good Food Purchasing
February in review, learn about both Black History Month and the Harvest of the Month by learning about George Washington Carver's life and inventions made from sweet potatoes. 
 
Learn more about his life on this website, and more about his inventions from this website
Sweet Potato Stamps

Sweet potatoes and potatoes make perfect stamps! If you have any that are starting to go bad, simply cut designs out of them either with cookie cutters or carving tools. You can use this tutorial to learn how, and get creative with your designs! 
View the Tutorial
Seeing Sprouts?

If you have sweet potatoes or potatoes that are starting to sprout, don't throw them away! Instead try planting them to grow in your garden this summer. 

Learn how to sprout and plant sweet potatoes.
Learn how to plant sprouted potatoes.  
Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese
Eating Well

Sneak an extra vegetable into your mac and cheese with fiber-rich sweet potatoes. This mac and cheese has half the amount of cheese as a traditional recipe so it's a little lighter but even more flavorful and filling! 
 
Make It!
Creamy Potato Soup
The Modern Proper

Try this simple soup, and don't worry if you don't have all the ingredients. It's easily adaptable if you don't have certain ingredients. Sub onions or shallots if you don't have leeks. If you're a vegetarian try toasting some panko 
breadcrumbs instead of bacon for a little crunch. Add rutabaga or celeriac to the potato for a little extra flavor with less starch. 

 
Try it out!
King Brothers Dairy
 
King Brothers Dairy is a family run dairy farm, in the small town of Schuylerville, NY, situated a few miles northeast of Saratoga Springs in the beautiful Hudson River Valley. Milk is produced by, bottled and delivered by the King Brothers Dairy.
Learn More About King Brothers Dairy
Garden Grants Currently Open
Whole Kids Foundation
Garden Grant Program
Deadline: Friday, March 11, 2022

 
Whole Kids Foundation 
Salad Bar Grant 
Deadline: Applications accepted on a rolling basis

New York Farm to School Institute

The New York Farm to School Institute is a year-long professional development opportunity for food service staff, educators, administrators, and community partners in New York schools to develop and refine their Farm to School programs, and to help bring more New York grown food into the cafeteria and classroom. This ongoing training and educational program will assist participating schools in creating successful Farm to School programs and connecting with farmers. Upon completion of the Institute, schools become alumni members of a NY Farm to School Institute Network – continuing to share best practices and resources with others championing farm to school for years to come.

Applications are due March 18, 2022
Learn More & Apply Here
The joint effort that brings you this newsletter includes Washington, Saratoga, Warren & Essex Counties Cornell Cooperative Extension Farm to School Programs. With the new school year, we hope to be working in-person more with students, but we'll continue to offer a wide range of resources that can be done at home or in your greater community. We hope that this newsletter continues to serve you well.

-The Farm to School Coordinators
Website
Email
Facebook
Website
ADK Farm to School Facebook Page
 
In addition to our monthly newsletter, our new Facebook page is a great way to stay connected to all things Farm to School! We will be highlighting similar content such as events, activities, success stories, program highlights, resources, local opportunities, and more.
We Would Love to Hear From You 

Are there specific resources or other content you'd like to see more of? Want us to share opportunities, resources, or Farm to School program/event successes from your community? We would love to connect with you and highlight your community. 
Facebook
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2021-2022 Farm to School
Curriculum Sign Up
 
Interested in requesting services from the Farm to School Educator in your county?
Fill out the appropriate form to let us know what offerings 
you're interested in.


 
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CCE Warren County · 377 Schroon River Rd · Warrensburg, NY 12885-4807 · USA

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