October 2023 Nutrition Newsletter

October 03rd, 2023




In this issue:
• National Farm 2 School Month
• Harvest of the Month Featured Food
• Menu Spotlight: Bean & Cheese Pupusa

• National School Lunch Week
• Job & career opportunities



October is National Farm 2 School Month

October is one of our favorite months of the year, as the entire country celebrates Farm To School programs. We’re doing our part to join the celebration as we spotlight the many ways that our Farm To School program has grown over the years.


What Is Farm To School?
The Farm To School Program is comprised of three areas of emphasis, and we’ll give an overview of each.


Farm to School by the numbers: facts about the month

Procurement: This is an area that tends to garner the most attention, and for good reason. Being able to source food locally or regionally helps ensure that students are receiving the freshest seasonal foods available. It also reduces the pollution generated by transporting foods over longer distances. Shifting our procurement means that we are able to support local and state economies, investing in the economic well-being of our neighbors.


WaveCrest Cafe’s procurement has also shifted. We work with dozens of California farms to source the freshest, tastiest, healthiest foods around. And we’re doing it at a record pace! During the 2022-23 school year, WaveCrest sourced 193,886 lbs. of fresh foods from California farms. That’s up from roughly 75,000 lbs. in the 2017-18 school year! Our goal is to continue to increase that number and keep growing our investment in local California farms.


School Gardens: Prior to the pandemic almost every elementary school, as well as several middle and high schools, had school gardens. While that number decreased, it is back on the rise! School gardens are a wonderful way to teach students where food comes from and how it grows. 


Not only that but some school gardens can be certified to provide food directly to their schools. When the CNS Department can purchase the school-grown produce, we are able to invest directly back into the school’s garden program. Once purchased, the CNS staff prepares the produce and features it on the school’s salad bar during lunch! r Students love seeing their hard work on their plates!


The copre elements opf Farm 2 School programs include procurement, nutrition education, and school gardensNutrition Education: We continue to create and promote nutrition education on school campuses in a variety of forms. Examples include Farmers’ Markets visiting every elementary school during the school year, classroom visits about nutrition, food waste, gardening, and more, and our school-wide activities like blender bikes or Fear Factor taste tests. Nutrition education can happen with almost any subject matter or grade level, and we’re always looking for great opportunities.


Join us in celebrating National Farm To School Month and support your school cafeteria by joining us for breakfast & lunch and enjoying the fresh, seasonal foods offered every day.


Children holding up fresh grapefruit and broccoli at a farmers market for WaveCrest Cafe

As part of our celebration of Farm 2 School Month we are thrilled to continue hosting farmers market events at five of our elementary schools between October 10-12. For several years we have welcomed our friends at Food 4 Thought to each of our elementary schools throughout the school year to learn about different foods and where they come from. In October we will host farmers markets at these schools:


October 10: Hannalei
October 11: Alamosa Park & Breeze Hill
October 12: Monte Vista & T.H.E. Leadership Academy


Food 4 Thought works with dozens of family farms across California to bring the freshest seasonal fruits and vegetables to schools. You’ll find many of their farmers’ foods on our menu every day.


Heirloom tomatoes are the October 2023 Harvest of the Month item for WaveCrest Cafe

October’s featured item for Harvest of the Month is the heirloom tomato. If you’d like to learn more about this versatile and powerful fruit (like the fact that it’s a fruit and not a vegetable), we’ve got fact and activity sheets, and grade-level classroom resources galore on our Resources page. Here’s a preview of some of the information:


Tomatoes on a tableWhy eat tomatoes?
They’re great sources of vitamin C and vitamin A.
They also have lots of vitamin K and potassium.
They’re rich in lycopene. What’s that? Lycopene is an antioxidant that helps give foods a reddish color.

A Popular Food
There are more than 4,000 varieties of tomatoes, making them one of the most commonly grown foods around the world. First traced to the Andes region of Peru, tomatoes quickly spread throughout South, Central, and North America. Spanish conquistadors carried tomato seeds back to Europe where they became widely popular in Spain, Portugal, and Italy.


Thomas Jefferson was one of the first Americans to grow tomatoes at his home, traced back to 1781. In the US, every state except Alaska grows tomatoes. The average American consumes 22 pounds of tomatoes each year, with half of that coming from ketchup and/or tomato sauce.


Dassi Family Farms of Leucadia, CAFresh From A Local Farm
Our Harvest of the Month heirloom tomatoes don’t have far to travel from the farm to the classroom. That’s because they are coming from one of our wonderful local vendors: Dassi Family Farms in Leucadia. 


Farm owners Jennifer and Patrick Dassi started their farm in 2013, having met one another through their mutual interest in skydiving.  This family farm was founded in 2013 by then-skydiving instructors Jennifer and Patrick Dassi. Their love of healthy foods and hydroponic farming has kept them grounded firmly in the world of growing fresh, healthy, and delicious produce like Persian cucumbers and the heirloom tomatoes our students will be enjoying all month.


In addition to supplying amazing foods to WaveCrest Cafe, Dassi Family Farms participates in local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) programs, as well as having their foods on sale at many local markets.


Harvest of the Month parent newsletter featuring tomatoesHarvest of the Month Resources
Learn more about heirloom tomatoes with your class during a Harvest of the Month activity. You can download our Harvest of the Month resources for families here

Harvest of the Month is available for any classroom that wants to participate. If your child’s teacher wants to sign up for the program, it’s easy. For more information about the program, classroom tasting parties, and more, email Vanessa Luna.



Bean & Cheese Pupusa with salad bar condiments from WaveCrest Cafe


This perennial favorite is a delicious vegetarian option that’s been a hit across grade levels for years. The pupusa is the national dish of El Salvador and has its roots there and in Honduras. A tender flatbread-like base is filled with a tasty bean & cheese blend.


From there you can make a plate exactly the way you want with condiments and garnishes from our salad bars. Build your favorite pupusa plate by adding our homemade salsa and delicious selection of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables from local California farms.


Be sure to check your school’s menu for the full selection of items and your daily favorites.

*** Menus are subject to change based on ingredient availability and staffing needs.


October 9-13, 2023


National School Lunch Week 2023 logo

Since 1962, when President John F. Kennedy created National School Lunch Week (NSLW), this annual observance has promoted the importance of a healthy school lunch in a child’s life and the impact it has both in and out of the classroom.


In fact, the national school lunch program serves meals to over 50% of the country’s school-age population every day! And not only do school meals meet nutritional needs, but a Syracuse University study shows that increases in school lunch participation (ie – more kids eating school meals) improve academic performance in both math and language skills. 


School lunch trivia quizTake The School Lunch Quiz
Test your knowledge of the impact of school lunches with this fun and quick quiz. See if you can correctly answer things like:

  • What percentage of nutrition needs do most children get from school meals?
  • How are students involved in planning school meals?
  • What nutritional requirements do school meals need to meet?


There are ten questions in this quiz and you’ll learn plenty about the ways that school meals impact children’s health and learning.


More school meals = more local foods
The school food program can be a virtuous cycle. We work to bring as many fresh, seasonal California foods to our cafeterias every day. And the more meals students enjoy, the more we have to invest in even more local foods.


Help us celebrate National School Lunch Week every day as we expand our offerings and service.





School nutrition is an extremely rewarding job. You can be part of the nation’s largest restaurant group, serving tasty and nutritious meals to our children each and every day. What’s more, you’ll meet amazing people who are skilled, dedicated, and passionate about their roles.


Our team has the unique opportunity to interact with almost every student, every day. Those interactions make a big difference in our kids’ lives and lead to long-lasting and meaningful friendships.


See all of our available positions here: https://wavecrestcafe.com/employment-opportunities/




No cost for student meals at WaveCrest Cafe in the 2023-24 school year


California is one of seven states across the country that has made school meals available at no cost to all students! In addition to providing fresh, healthy, delicious foods to our students, there is no paperwork required.

*** With meals being offered at no charge, we are anticipating more students will be dining with us. This may affect the availability of some entrees as we learn and adapt to greater numbers and meeting the demand.




Request A Master Gardener For Your School
The San Diego County Master Gardener Association provides Master Gardeners to help schools set up and maintain gardens. Master Gardeners act as consultants, mentoring parents and teachers who request help with beginning or improving their school gardens. Request a garden consultant here.



Educational Garden Design Grant – Rolling Dates
The California Native Garden Foundation offers grants for school gardens that feature CA native plants. Types of support include garden design services, in-kind donations of plants and landscape materials, volunteer assistance, and direct financial assistance. Click here to learn more and to apply.



Solana Center Workshops – Rolling Dates
The Solana Center hosts a variety of workshops and lessons across San Diego County, with topics including composting, raising backyard chickens, green living, and water-wise gardening. Check out their events calendar here.



Bonnie’s Plants 3rd Grade Cabbage Program – Rolling Dates
Bonnie’s provides free mega-cabbage plants to 3rd-grade teachers across the US who want to participate. Students grow the cabbages and submit pictures and measurements of their harvest to be considered for a $1,000 scholarship. Find out how to participate here.



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(C) 2023 WaveCrest Cafe / Vista Unified School District
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
Esta institución es un proveedor de igualdad de oportunidades.