September 2023 WaveCrest Cafe Newsletter

September 05th, 2023




In this issue:
• Harvest of the Month
• Menu Spotlight: Chicken Tamales
• Practice Worksheet for Meals
• Job & career opportunities



We’ve been making classroom-based nutrition education opportunities available for 10+ years. One of the most engaging programs has been Harvest of the Month. This program allows participating classrooms to receive samples of fresh, seasonal produce with lesson plans and activities that kids love.


Each month has a featured food item that we source from local California farms. Students learn about the history of the items, their nutritional benefits, and of course have an opportunity for an in-class taste test.


The program is available for any classroom wanting 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.


September Featured Food: Dried Fruit
Dried fruits offer a wonderful way to benefit from the nutrients of fruit while prolonging their shelf life. They can also bring new textures and flavors to snacks, salads, and other dishes.


How Do Fruits Become Dried?
Fruits become dry when their moisture content drops below 20 percent. This can be done by either a natural or a mechanical process. In fact, California’s grape growers happened upon raisins accidentally when an early heat wave dried the grapes on the vine. California plums, on the other hand, are dehydrated by machines. 


California has strict standards for dried fruit crops that involve sampling, washing, sizing, and processing. And before it goes to market (or on your plate), most dried fruit undergoes a process to bring their moisture content up to about 30 percent. This added moisture usually makes the fruit more plump and tasty.


Home Grown: California is a major producer of fruit and dried fruit. Here are just a few facts about the way that our state provides much of the country (and sometimes the world) with these delicious and nutritious fruits.


Dried fruits• In the United States, raisins are produced almost exclusively in California’s Central Valley, providing nearly half of the world’s supply

• Ninety-five percent of the 30 million pounds of dates grown in the United States come from the Coachella and Salt River Valleys in Southern California. 

• California’s San Joaquin Valley grows 20% of the world’s figs and 99% of the US fig crop. 

• California is the world’s leading grower of dried plums, producing about 65% of the world’s supply and almost 99% of the nation’s supply. 


Reasons to Eat Dried Fruit:

• Dried fruits contain even more fiber and phenols (an antioxidant) than fresh fruit

• People with diets rich in plant phenols have lower rates of heart disease, diabetes, several kinds of cancer, and possibly degenerative brain diseases (Harvard University)

• A ¼ cup of dried plums is a good source of fiber and a source of potassium, magnesium, riboflavin, and vitamin A

• A ¼ cup of chopped dates is a good source of fiber and a source of potassium. 

• Adding dates to smoothies can provide a creamy texture and sweet taste


Learn more about dried fruit and discover how delicious they are with your class during a Harvest of the Month activity. You can download our Harvest of the Month resources for families here

Again, 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.


Be sure to check your school’s menu for your daily favorites.

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





Chicken tamale with bean and corn salad and homemade salsa


We introduced this menu favorite several years ago and it continues to be among our most popular and beloved entrees. This tamale from Del Real Farms is packed with juicy, tasty chicken and spices, and wrapped in tender corn masa. 


You can build your perfect tamale plate by adding our homemade salsa, as well as our always-changing 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.



Elementary school students at a school salad bar

Did you know that every elementary school and some middle and high schools have salad bars stocked with fresh, seasonal fruits & veggies and our homemade condiments like salsa and low-fat buttermilk ranch dressing? And every school has those fresh foods available for meals each and every day.


Build Your Perfect Plate
With all of these amazing foods offered, we encourage our students (and staff) to build the plate that they want. Whether it’s adding your favorite toppings to a burger, decorating tamales and tacos with just the right mix of salsa and veggies, or adding fresh fruit to a salad, these options are offered every day.


We encourage you to make the most of everything that’s offered and build your own perfect plate.




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:




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.


Keypad practice sheet for WaveCrest CafePRACTICE WITH YOUR CHILD:
Entering Their ID on a KeyPad

To make your child’s dining experience even better, help them practice entering their student ID number on a keypad (especially for our youngest learners). This is the process we use to track the number of meals served so that we are reimbursed for the right number of meals and can make the most of our resources.


Download this PDF practice sheet and practice at home with your child.



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.



Follow us on social media:




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