OCTOBER NUTRITION NEWSLETTER
October 04th, 2022
OCTOBER IS FARM TO SCHOOL MONTH!
October is National Farm to School Month, a time to celebrate the connections happening all over the country between children and local food.
Vista Unified has been a leader in Farm to School in San Diego and across the country, and we’re thrilled to build on that reputation. Each year in October, schools, early childhood education sites, farms, communities, and organizations across the country and U.S. Territories join in the celebrations.
In 2010, The National Farm to School Network advocated for the creation of National Farm to School Month by Congress and now organizes the annual celebration with hundreds of partner organizations across the country.
What Is Farm to School?
The National Farm to School program emphasizes three main practices for schools:
• Sourcing more food locally to bring in the freshest foods AND supporting local businesses.
• Conducting nutrition education so that students learn how to develop healthy food habits and knowledge.
•Supporting school gardens to help students learn where their food comes from.
How To Support Farm to School
One of the best ways to support the Farm to School work we already do is to have your children eat more school meals! The more meals that we can serve, the more resources we have to work with local, California-based farmers to bring in even more fresh, seasonal foods grown as close to our schools as possible.
For more information, visit the Farm to School website and learn more about the history and ongoing work to make Farm to School available in every school.
WANT A JOB WITH PURPOSE? WE’RE HIRING!
If you’re looking for a job that lets you have fun and make a difference in the community, we’ve got one for you! With hours that don’t conflict with kids’ school schedules and a fantastic team of co-workers, WaveCrest Cafe may be just what you’re looking for. Work with a fantastic group of people and amazing students while fulfilling our mission to serve the best school meals.
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/
HARVEST OF THE MONTH
FEATURED FOOD: ROMANESCO BROCCOLI
Another pillar of Farm to School is nutrition education, and our Harvest Of The Month program provides just that. If you are new to Harvest of the Month, each month, we bring fresh, seasonal produce to classrooms across the district. This program comes with food samples and nutrition education lessons that engage students to learn about many different foods in a fun, interactive setting.
If your classroom is interested in participating in Harvest Of The Month, contact Scarlett Smith in our office for more information.
October’s featured food is Romanesco broccoli.
About Romanesco: Romanesco is in the Brassica family along with cabbage, broccoli, kale, and cauliflower. If you have never seen Romanesco, it looks like broccoli, if the broccoli florets were pine trees instead of bushy, leafy trees. There is debate over if this unique vegetable is more related to broccoli or cauliflower. In Italy, it is called “broccolo Romanesco,” while the French call it Romanesco cabbage. Give this delicious vegetable a try and let us know if you think it more closely resembles broccoli or cauliflower!
The new vegetable in town: Romanesco originated in and has been enjoyed in Italy since the 16th century, but it did not appear in the United States until about 30 years ago. In Italian, “Romanesco” means “of or pertaining to Rome”. Romanesco has been gaining popularity locally and can sometimes be found at your local grocery store. If you don’t spot this unique vegetable there, check out your local farmers’ market!
Romanesco is a cruciferous vegetable. Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, rutabaga, turnips, bok choy, Chinese cabbage, radish, horseradish, watercress, wasabi, and Swiss chard. There are 3,000 different types of cruciferous vegetables worldwide!
Romanesco is actually the edible flowering head part of a larger plant! Romanesco’s flowering head grows in a naturally occurring fractal. A fractal is a geometric curve that repeats itself over and over but at a continuously smaller size.
Romanesco is a wonderful source of iron, folate, vitamin c, and vitamin K. Iron and folate are minerals that help with red blood cell production. Red blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Having healthy red blood cells helps improve focus, energy, and mood!
Vitamin K and C are both important for wound healing. Vitamin K helps your blood clot, so if you are cut, the bleeding will stop. Vitamin C helps the new skin grow and heal.
Romanesco can be enjoyed much like broccoli and cauliflower. Try substituting Romanesco for broccoli or cauliflower in your next dish!
Here’s a tasty recipe for Lemon Garlic Roasted Romanesco that is a perfect, healthy side dish to any dinner. And since fall is here, here’s a delicious and warm Romanesco soup!
Learn more about cruciferous vegetables and discover ways to enjoy them at home and at school. Download our Harvest of the Month resources for families here.
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 Scarlett Smith.
No Cost for School Meals This Year!
We are thrilled to announce that there will be no cost for school meals in this 2022-23 school year. What’s more, there is no paperwork required for anyone, making meals not just available at no cost, but accessible for all.
Not only can families save plenty of money on food, but with meals ready at school, you’ll have more time to spend together as a family! As always, we are committed to serving fresh, healthy, delicious meals, and working with as many local and California-based farms as possible.
Join us for breakfast and lunch daily. Good nutrition leads to better learning, and we are here to serve up tasty and nutritious meals to power learning all year long.
*** 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.
FEATURED FARMER: ARNETT FARMS
One of the main aspects of a Farm to School program is getting more foods sourced locally and within our region. WaveCrest Cafe works with a network of farmers locally and throughout our state to bring the freshest, highest-quality foods to our schools. One WaveCrest Cafe’s partner farm is Arnett Farms from Fresno, CA.
Arnett has been family-owned since 1903. They supply WaveCrest Cafe with fresh and delicious nectarines, peaches, plums, pears, oranges, and mandarins.
Arnett Farms also employs sustainable farming practices, including a zero-waste policy and dry farming, which helps conserve water resources. These sustainable practices include the use of seaweed and kelp-based fertilizers that reduce the amount of chemicals used, as well as being a natural, sustainable resource.
Working with local, California-based family farms is just one way that we are working to provide the freshest food possible. It also allows us to support our local and statewide economy and connect small farms to our schools. Thank you, Arnett Farms!
MENU / PROVIDER SPOTLIGHT:
WaveCrest Pizza & Colors Gourmet Pizza Bakery
WaveCrest Pizza is one of our most popular items year after year. Baked fresh daily, one of the not-so-secret ingredients is the exclusive dough used in the pizza crusts, provided by Vista’s own Colors Gourmet Pizza.
This white, whole-wheat crust has all of the texture of a traditional crust, with the nutrients of a whole wheat crust, bringing the best of both worlds to our students. We offer cheese and pepperoni options all of the time, and add specialty options during each of our three menu cycles. This fall’s specialty pizza is Meat Lover’s (we’ve also had a Veggie Lover’s in the past).
Working with a local bakery is not only another feature of our Farm to School program, but provides a wonderful connection to our local community. We’d like to give you a better look at Chef Martial Bricnet and Colors Gourmet Pizza.
Be sure to check your school’s menu to see your daily options and enjoy our fresh, healthy, and delicious meals!
Chef Martial Bricnet of Colors Gourmet Pizza
Not only is WaveCrest Pizza one of our most popular entrees, but it features one of the longest-running Farm To School relationships we’ve had.
WaveCrest Pizza’s foundation is the white whole wheat dough that we get each day from Colors Gourmet Pizza, a bakery in Vista owned and run by Chef Martial Bricnet. Colors has been in business for over 30 years, starting in 1991. The bakery supplies dough to fine restaurants, hotels, resorts, and theme parks in a dozen states
Chef Martial and his team at Colors started working with Vista USD in May of 2009, not long after the bakery moved to its current 15,000-square-foot location in Vista. He recalls that the district had a well-run pizza operation, but the dough being used was being brought in frozen from a vendor in Los Angeles.
“We showed that we could provide the dough, already flattened, the day before. So the kitchen team would only have to place the dough in pizza pans the next morning, add the other ingredients, and bake, resulting in fresh pizza from start to finish.”
WaveCrest’s Ideal Dough
The dough has a chance to sit for about 18 hours before the WaveCrest Cafe Central Kitchen team brings it out to bake each day’s batch. This time, as it turns out, is ideal for the dough. Chef Martial explains the science behind this step.
“It’s important to give the dough time to rest and develop its flavor,” says Chef Martial. “Most pizza restaurants make their dough today for use tomorrow, and when I started a restaurant that’s what we used to do.
“So we make the dough around 10:30 or 11 o’clock in the morning,” Chef Martial continues. “The school district picks it up around 11:00 or 11:30, and then it goes in a walk-in refrigerator until the next morning. It’s ideal for the dough to have time to develop its flavor. I wish many of the hotels that use our product would do that!”
300+ Pizzas Per Day
The team at Colors makes over 300 pizza crusts per day to go to WaveCrest Cafe. That amounts to close to 2,000 students enjoying freshly baked, locally-sourced pizza at lunch each day.
To ensure the quality of the pizzas at that scale, pizza as an entree is offered at a select number of school sites each day. That allows the team at the Central Kitchen to minimize the time between when the pizzas come out of the oven and when they are served at the schools.
It also means that WaveCrest staff and Chef Martial see each other daily. “I know WaveCrest Cafe is very proud of the pizza they serve. It’s a good program and I’m really pleased to be part of it.”
Clean Label Ingredients
One of the advantages of using a small, local bakery is the ability to customize the ingredients to not just meet USDA standards (hence the white whole wheat), but to be as clean as possible across the board.
“We are happy to provide a clean product for schools,” says Chef Martial. “We have always been very careful with the ingredients we use. Since the day we started, we have compared our ingredients with the Whole Foods list of approved ingredients, which is what many people do in the trade.
“As a smaller company, we can be very selective in our ingredients. Large companies cannot do that as they source ingredients in such large quantities. We can control better what we use, and that lets us provide a better product for our community.”
Knowing that the company is on the cutting edge of supplying a top-quality product to schools brings Chef Martial and his team a great deal of pride. “It is very satisfying knowing that the pizza product we provide is going to be a very clean label,” he says.
Based on the popularity of WaveCrest Pizza and the quality of the product, Colors now supplies dough and crusts to other North County schools in Oceanside, Carlsbad, and Fallbrook. As with many things, word of mouth has helped to grow his business not just with restaurants, but with schools.
We’re thrilled to have kicked off the Colors relationship with schools, and proudly serve this fresh, locally-sourced entree to our students each and every day.
*** Menus are subject to change based on ingredient availability and staffing needs.
RESOURCES, GRANTS, AND EVENTS
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) 2022 WaveCrest Cafe / Vista Unified School District
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
Esta institución es un proveedor de igualdad de oportunidades.