Four Fun Facts About California Food
February 12th, 2018
It’s no secret that we love to serve fresh, locally-sourced food to students. We’re especially lucky that California has such an amazing abundance of healthy and great tasting things to eat! Here are a few fun facts about California food.
Fun Fact #1: California grows the most food
You’ve probably already heard that California grows about half of all of the produce in the United States, and way more than any other state does.
More specifically, California grows a whopping 99% of the country’s almonds, artichokes, dates, figs, grapes, kiwis, olives, peaches, pistachios, plums, pomegranates, rice and walnuts. We also grow most of the country’s broccoli, garlic, avocados, lettuce, tomatoes, pluots, strawberries, and spinach. That’s a lot of California food!
Fun Fact #2: California has state foods
You might know that the California state animal is the grizzly bear, but did you know California has state foods, too? Here are some of the edible state symbols:
• State fruit: avocado
• State grain: rice
• State nut: almond
• State vegetable: artichoke
These foods are symbolic partly because California grows more of them than any other state. In fact, California grows over 87% of avocados, 98% of almonds, and 100% all the artichokes in the whole country! Even though California is in second place for growing the most rice, California rice is some of the most popular rice in the world and used in all sorts of delicious dishes. Plus, California rice fields provide important habitat for hundreds of wildlife species.
Fun Fact #3: California Thursdays started as a test
We love California Thursdays for bringing the freshest and yummiest foods to WaveCrest Cafe. But do you know how it got started? In the 2013-2014 school year, Oakland Unified School District was the lucky testing ground for a new program designed to bring California food to California kids one day each week. The program was so successful it expanded to other California school districts the next year! Vista Unified joined in 2016. Eating local foods is healthier for students and the environment, but just as importantly local foods simply taste better because they can be harvested closer to their peak ripeness. After all, students get up to half of their daily calories at school, so why shouldn’t they be good calories?
Fun Fact #4: California kids eat local
Now, more than half of all schools in California (55%) serve healthy meals using high quality local and regional foods. When you grow this much of the country’s food, it just makes sense! Farm To School and other local food programs also help to reduce food waste because the food is fresher, requires less packaging, and is more appealing to students.
Bonus fun fact: WaveCrest Cafe serves locally sourced fruit and vegetables every day, with plums, pluots, baby greens, and basil appearing on plates most frequently. All Vista Unified schools participate in Farm To School, every elementary school offers a salad bar, and 14 schools have their very own gardens! It doesn’t get more fresh and local than that.