September Nutrition Newsletter

September 01st, 2022


New Fall 2022 Menu Announcement

Our fall menu is now live and ready to view here:  We’ve got plenty of tasty new menu items in store, and are happy to be working with local vendors and farmers.

New Items
Our team has been hard at work preparing new entrees for the fall, which include:


Mac and cheeseMac & Cheese: This delicious favorite meal is back and ready to fuel minds for learning. Soft macaroni noodles topped with a hearty and creamy cheese sauce provide protein and energy. Add fresh, seasonal fruits & veggies for added nutrition and flavor and you’ve got a wonderful meal.



Chicken BurritoChicken Burrito: We’ve updated our recipe for this delicious entree. Tender, flavorful chicken is roasted and fills a locally-made tortilla along with beans and cheese. Add our homemade salsa, jalapenos, and other fruits and veggies to a meal sure to satisfy the hungriest learners.




Korean Pork BBQ SandwichKorean Pork BBQ Sandwich: A new take on a perennial favorite. This tender and tasty pulled pork is seasoned with Korean BBQ flavors atop a soft and hearty full wheat bun. Served with fresh, seasonal fruits & vegetables.



Returning Favorites
Of course, we also have our variety of homemade WaveCrest Pizza – with cheese, pepperoni, and a Meat Lovers option all fall. Also returning are Bean & Cheese Pupusas, Orange Chicken with Rice, Rolled Beef Tacos, and a Cubano Hot Ham Sandwich.


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

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




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:




We’re excited to jump right into the Harvest Of The Month program, bringing 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.


Tomatoes on the vine

September’s featured food is the heirloom tomato.
Tomatoes, as you may have heard, are botanically a fruit, although the US Supreme Court declared them vegetables in 1893. You can learn more about that as part of the Harvest Of The Month program and download information on our Resources page.


Tomatoes are a berry of the nightshade family, which includes potatoes, eggplants, and peppers. The word “tomato” comes from the Nahuatl (Aztec language) word, tomatl, meaning “something round and plump.” 


Tomatoes have also been called “love apple,” “golden apple,” “apple of paradise,” and even “devil apple” by people who believed them to be poisonous.



Tomatoes on a table

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.


Nutrient-Packed: Tomatoes are a fantastic source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as potassium and lycopene, which is an antioxidant pigment. Lycopene cannot be produced by the body, so it must be found in foods, and tomatoes are a great source.


Because tomatoes can be used in so many dishes, it’s a great way to ensure that you’re getting these essential vitamins and minerals.


Tomato Cucumber Salad

Here’s a delicious recipe for a Tomato-Cucumber Salad that is a perfect treat anytime, especially in the hot month of September here in San Diego County. 


Learn more about tomatoes 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!

No cost school meals banner

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.



ValliWide Farms Information1

We’re thrilled to tell you a little bit about one of the farms that supply fresh, seasonal foods for our meals: ValliWide Organic Farms from Reedly, CA.


This family-owned organic farm started in 2010, and they are one of our suppliers for satsuma mandarins, tangerines, and other stone fruits.


Valliwide farms information2

ValliWide is dedicated to working with their community as well, providing scholarships to local students and supporting global programs that combat child poverty. It’s no wonder their motto is “Growing To Give.”


You can learn more about ValliWide on their website and see why we are so happy to have them as suppliers and partners. They help us to achieve our mission to change the face of school food by supplying us with fresh, seasonal, organic foods to power our students’ learning.

Staff Spotlight: Scarlett Smith,
Nutrition Education & Training Supervisor


Scarlett Smith

As a new school year starts, we’ve got a wonderful new addition to our team. Scarlett Smith is WaveCrest Cafe’s new Nutrition Education & Training Supervisor. We took some time to talk with her as the year was about to kick in and want you to get to know about our newest teammate.


Background: A Mountain Town And An Epiphany 

Scarlett grew up in the mountain community of Julian, which she still calls home. There she discovered an interest in food and nutrition. As a food lover, Scarlett initially had ideas about going into the culinary arts, and interned at a fine dining restaurant before majoring in Food & Nutrition at SDSU. 


“I started off as a culinary major, I was going to be a chef,” says Scarlett. “But I realized they work really intense hours, they’re working during holidays, and I wanted a family.” In talking with her co-workers at her job during school, Scarlett had an epiphany.


“When I was with my co-workers, we were always talking about health and the psychology of food. I thought that was super interesting. And then I thought, ‘if I keep ending up on this topic with people then why am I not doing something in that area?’ So I morphed that love for food into choosing dietetics as my career path.”


Working With Young People
Scarlett considered working with girls and young women who battled with eating disorders but shifted her thinking to engaging young people ahead of those challenges.


“I thought, why not start when kids are younger and help them develop a healthy relationship with food early on – to start off on the right foot.”


As part of her dietetics internship, Scarlett worked with the Temecula school district and saw firsthand the rewarding nature of school nutrition.


“I always knew that I wanted to work with the youth, but I didn’t necessarily know how. With the school district, it’s such an upbeat and positive environment, and everyone is just so pleasant to work with. You get to see kids every day and it was a fit for me.


“I’m more of a people person, and in a school district you get to know your office staff and the kiddos at different sites, and it’s a better fit for who I am.”



WaveCrest Cafe logoHer Role With WaveCrest
Scarlett joins the WaveCrestCafe team ready to jump into a role that is rich in breadth and depth. 


“I do the planning for all of the menus, and Karly and I overlap with some of that. I’ll also be working with our kiddos to address allergens and the logistics of how to accommodate that for our students. I also do the nutrition educational pieces like blender bikes, and teach classes to students on budgeting, meal planning, and helping to equip students in those areas. I will also be running the Harvest Of The Month program, so any classes that want to participate can contact me (Editors note: teachers interested in Harvest Of The Month should email Scarlett here).


“There’s also a supervisory piece of the job. So I’m in the kitchens making sure that those are safe environments for our staff and making sure that staff has everything they need in order to do well.”


students look at the many options at the farmer's marketWaveCrest And innovación
“One thing that stood out to me about Vista is that they’re really into innovation and trying new things.  WaveCrest Cafe is open to the idea of continually improving the program. And that includes trying things that don’t always work at first – that’s how we learn.”


As I interviewed for this position and learned about the district, I really liked that commitment to trying new things and trying to find new ways to engage students. I’m excited to see how to invite kids to try new fruits, vegetables, and unfamiliar foods. I’d like to see kids connected with their food; that’s important to me.”


When asked about her favorite item on the current menu, Scarlett was quick to respond. “I like the spicy chicken sandwich. I know it’s not super complicated or anything, but when we were trying the menu items I was like, ‘this is really good. It’s really juicy. Really tender.’”


Bringing Energy To The Job
Spend any amount of time with Scarlett and you’ll notice that in addition to her knowledge of and passion for food and nutrition, she lifts the mood of any space she’s in. 


“I’m a people person, and I want to bring positivity and inspire people to be team-oriented, be kind to each other, and make the workplace a nice place to work. There always has to be a group cheerleader in every office, and that’s who I am. That’s what I bring. And that’s what I would hope for is to continue with that positivity and hope that bringing that also helps uplift the people that I work with.”


Asked what else she’d want people to know about her, Scarlett was straightforward, with one surprising fact about her pet. “I live in Julian. I’m a country girl. Married to a firefighter. I have a bobcat as a pet.”


A bobcat as a pet?
“Yeah. He’s half bobcat. My family owns a ranch up in Cambria and they have these farm cats that are somewhat feral. They started breeding with the bobcats and so they’re these little hybrid cats. He’s really cute. He looks like a little bear.”


Welcome, Scarlett! We’re thrilled to have her as a part of our team and look forward to all that she brings to our staff, our students, and our community.

MENU SPOTLIGHT: Spicy Chicken Sandwich


Spicy Chicken Sandwich

To follow up our profile on Scarlett Smith, we’re going to focus our menu spotlight on her favorite entree, the Spicy Chicken Sandwich. We’ll be honest – sometimes we overlook this meal in favor of newer recipes. But the fact of the matter is that this is one of our tastiest and most popular items.


The spicy chicken sandwich has grown increasingly popular, with people passionately advocating for their favorite source, and we’re throwing our hat in the ring. WaveCrest Cafe offers a tender, juicy, and substantial chicken breast sandwich with just the right amount of heat to satisfy the craving for something spicy. 


Add to that a selection of fresh, seasonal fruits and veggies and you’ve got a delicious and nutrient-packed meal ready to please any hungry learner.


Be sure to check your school’s menu to see what your daily options are and enjoy our fresh, healthy, and delicious meals!




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.