This month, let’s celebrate National Farm to School Month the bluetiful way with highbush blueberries! From their great taste to their added health benefits, highbush blueberries are the berry that loves you back, making them a fruity favorite of cafeteria managers across the country.
To kick-off National Farm to School Month, the Council hosted a Blueberry Bonanza Week at Carrollton City Schools in Georgia. The week was filled with buckets of blueberry fun highlighting the benefits of blueberries in schools! With the help of the Council’s new Highbush Blueberry Farm to School Playbook, which features kids’ activities, nutrition guides, blueberry recipe inspiration and more, there was something for everyone, making the Blueberry Bonanza Week fun for all!
At Carrollton, we learned that a little change like adding more highbush blueberries to school menus can teach students that nutritious, healthy foods can also be absolutely delicious. During the celebratory week, kid-friendly highbush blueberry menu items were served daily for both breakfast and lunch, resulting in increased participation across grade levels. The most popular highbush blueberry recipe was the BBQ Highbush Blueberry Wings which were served out of a blueberry-themed food truck at the junior high, resulting in a 11% increase in lunch participation!
In addition to tasting just how delicious highbush blueberries are on menus, the celebrations also aimed at teaching the students why these little blue dynamos are good for them. To do so, Carrollton held a nutrition education session with a first-grade class to teach them about the health benefits of blueberries. From a taste test to a virtual farm tour, sourced from the Council’s Playbook, the students were fascinated to learn all about these little blue dynamos. The most shocking finding? Blueberries are actually green on the inside, not blue!
To show students just how easy it is to enjoy blueberries, USHBC’s K-12 Chef Partner Sharon Schaefer led Carrollton’s Student Culinary Club teaching elementary school students how to make the Council’s 3-Ingredient Saucy Blueberries recipe. Using saucy blueberries as the base, Chef Schaefer showed the students how easy it is to explore the versatility of blueberries by making a blueberry parfait, blueberry smoothie and blueberry vinaigrette.
After the successful week, Carrollton City Schools shared their exciting plans to add the students’ favorite recipe, the BBQ Highbush Blueberry Wings, permanently to their school’s menus, in addition to increasing blueberry usage across the menu in muffins, vinaigrettes, salads and even mayo!
Interested in celebrating blueberries in your school? Explore the Highbush Blueberry Farm to School Playbook! Packed with resources to excite your students, inspire your staff and celebrate with your community, our Playbook can help transform your school nutrition program from good to positively bluetiful!