Wednesday, January 20, 2016

**Farm-to-School at JES**

What did we accomplish last year?

  • Started our monthly all school food lessons, cooking show style!  These are connected to the food of the month and the taste tests.
  • Held our 1st annual Farm to School Fun Run/ 5K in the spring to celebrate and raise funds for our Farm to School Program.
  • Acquired a mobile cooking cart that can be used in the classrooms.
  • Used our new garden benches and the garden as an outdoor garden classroom.
  • Held our 2nd annual HARVEST DINNER and STONE SOUP to celebrate Farm-to-School and our JES Community.
  • Held our 2nd annual GARDEN DAY in the spring, starting the day with all-school meeting in the garden to break ground for spring planting.  Then all of the classes worked in the garden throughout the day.
  • Spent more time in the garden doing a variety of activities.
  • Grew herbs, greens and garden starts in our new, indoor grow stations.
  • Enjoyed our new round tables in the cafeteria.
  • Developed Farm to School curriculum over the summer to be incorporated at each grade level.
  • Continued having taste tests twice a month, prepared by the STUDENTS.
  • Harvested and ate vegetables from our garden.
  • Were recognized for the work we’ve done as part of the
Eat Well, Play More Grant.

What are our goals for this year?

  • Continue taste tests and food lessons, encouraging the consumption of more healthy foods by our students.
  • Feature more local foods on our menu and veggie bar.
  • Increase student time in the garden.
  • Grow basil inside over the winter for our pesto pizza.
  • Grow greens over the winter in our indoor grow stations.
  • Continue Harvest Dinner (Nov 12th), Fun Run and Garden Day (in the Spring).
  • Incorporate farm field trips and farmer connection, connecting to our new curriculum that we will implement.
  • Develop ways to use our mobile cooking cart.
  • Offer a Farm to School Celebration Dinner before Arts Night
  • And more!  
  • Contact or Nurse Amy to get involved.

Friday, January 16, 2015

JES Wellness News:  1/15/15

We have exciting GRANT NEWS!  JES has been awarded two grants!  

The first is called Eat Well/ Play More and is through the North Country YMCA.  We will receive almost $3000 to help us extend our garden growing season with hoop systems and classroom grow stations.  Also, we will purchase supplies for a mobile cooking cart to be used for cooking activities and taste tests in the classrooms.  Last, we will expand our classroom activity breaks (JAMS) to include JAM videos created by 4th graders and all-school monthly JAMS. Here is a link to the video we created as part of the grant application.

Here are the first JAM videos created by our 4th graders:

The second grant is through Chittenden Solid Waste District with the match from a district Wellness Grant and will help us to get a second water fountain with a bottle fill station in the third grade hallway.

Third Annual JAM World  Record:

JES will participate for the third time in setting a new International JAM World Record!  Last year, 1,387,566 people participated!  That is the number to beat!  We will do our part at JES on February 12th at 10am to help break the record!  See for more information.

JES Recycles!  

We have started to recycle containers in the cafeteria that come to us from home brought lunches.  Encourage your children to find the recycle bin for their yogurt containers, apple sauce containers, etc.  Yogurt tubes and capri suns can not be recycled.  Consider choosing a different lunch product.  Way to go JES!

Taste Test News:

A new taste test program is getting under way.  In addition to our taste tests, we have added all school food lessons/ cooking shows, a food-of-the month, a recipe contest and increased nutritional information in the cafeteria.  December’s food-of-the-month was KALE and this month it is SWEET POTATOS.  Last month students tried two kale dishes.  See the wellness blog for recipes and voting results!  This month we will try roasted sweet potatoes and sweet potato mash. For the recipe contest, help your child to write down their favorite sweet potato recipe, or they can create their own.  The winner will be featured on the JES menu!  The recipe contest form is at the end of this notice.

Here is a video of the first food lesson:

Create your OWN Sweet Potato Recipe!
Name of Recipe:_______________________________________________________________
Amount: Ingredient:
Example 2 cups Peeled and cubed sweet potatoes

__________ ______________________________________

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__________ ______________________________________

__________ ______________________________________

__________ ______________________________________

  1. ________________________________________________________________________

  1. ________________________________________________________________________

  1. ________________________________________________________________________

  1. ________________________________________________________________________

  1. ________________________________________________________________________

  1. ________________________________________________________________________

  1. ________________________________________________________________________

Name of Student Submitting Recipe:________________________________________________

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

New food lesson and taste testing program at JES!

Scroll down for recipes!

We have started up our taste tests again this year!  They are part of a larger, new program that includes a monthly food lesson taught by our resident chef, Mr. Brezic (4th grade teacher), a food of the month and a recipe contest.  The students are always very excited about the taste test process and are always asking, "When is the next taste test?".  The addition of the food lesson last Tuesday increased the excitement and many students tasted the hot and cold kale dishes during the taste test.  That excitement is one of our goals of this food education project.  We want to get students talking about and excited about new foods.  The more they are exposed to new foods, what they do for us, and the idea of trying them, the more likely they are to actually try them. Here is a link to a video of our first food lesson.   During the taste test, the students tasted both dishes seen in the video, and voted by placing a bead into a jar.  They voted on whether or not the taste was for them. "YES", "NO thank you" and  "Maybe" are the jar options for both the hot and cold dishes.

See below for voting results and recipes!

Contact Nurse Amy if you want to volunteer!


2015-16 School Year:
1/20/16-Cauliflower Mac and Cheese was 207=Yes, 15=No and 19=Maybe
12/15/15-acorn squash muffins: 23 = No, thank you. 14= Maybe, and 184=YES
11/11/15- Tofu Taste Test: 94=YES, 80=No, thank you, 43=Maybe

2014/15 School Year:
5/26/15- Arugula pesto- Yes=46, No, thank you=83, Maybe=38
5/21/15- Arugula Salad- Yes=70, No, thank you=47, Maybe=36
4/7/15- Rutabaga Bread- YES=176, No, thank you=8, Maybe=17
3/27/15- Beet Chips- YES=58, No, thank you=64, Maybe=38
2/19/15- Parsnip Soup- YES=40, No, thank you=81, Maybe=37
2/18/15- Parsnip Chips- YES=101, No, thank you=49, Maybe=43
1/23/15- Sweet Potato Chips- YES=111, No, thank you=48, Maybe=34
1/27/15- Sweet Potato Mash results- YES=92, No, thank you=41, Maybe=31
12/15/14- Kale salad- YES=61, No, thank you=60, Maybe=38
                 Kale AuGrotin- YES=86, No, thank you=40, Maybe=38

2013/14 School Year:
9/24/13- JES Pesto pizza- YES=197, No, thank you=14, Maybe=15 Prepared by Mr Botzojorns' class
10/10/13- Sweet Potato Muffins- YES=211, No, thank you=29, Maybe=27  by Mrs. Baer's class
11/14/13- Butternut Squash- YES=91, No, thank you=76, Maybe=32 by Mrs. Pack's class
12/5/13- Beet's
1/27/14- Parsnip Chips- Yes=66, No, thank you=105, Maybe=36 by Mrs. Jackson's class
3/20/14- Monkey bars- Yes=173 , No thank you=34 ,  Maybe=31 by Ms. Andrew's class
4/17/14- Monster Bites (spinach balls)- Yes=72, No,thank you=100, Maybe=32 by Mrs. Bouchard's class

2012/13 School Year:
1/24/13- Grandma's Vegetarian Chili-  Yes= 95, No thank you=64, Maybe=49
2/7/13- Kale Slaw-  YES=60, NO thank you=113, Maybe=37
2/21/13- Sunshine Mac & Cheese- YES=142, NO thank you=38, Maybe=38
3/7/13- Kale Chips- YES=121, NO=64, Maybe=45
3/21/13- Cranberry Coleslaw- YES=65, NO thank you=85, Maybe=66
4/4/13-Roasted Garbanzos- YES = 77, NO thank you  = 78, Maybe = 41
4/18/13-Maple baked Beans- YES = 72, NO thank you = 80, Maybe = 38
5/2/13-Mixed Greens with or w/o Raspberry Dressing- YES= 135, NO, thank you= 38, Maybe= 34
5/17/13- Pest Pizza- YES= 170, No, thank you= 22, Maybe= 20
6/6/13- Black bean brownies- YES=123, No thank you=76, Maybe=33

4/7/15- Rutabaga Bread-
1 cup flour
2/3 Cup Sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1/2 cup rutabaga; cooked and pureed
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Grease an 8 x 4 inch baking pan and line with wax paper.  Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg; mix well.  In another bowl, beat egg and add rutabaga and oil.  Add moist ingredients to dry ingredients all at once.  Stir just enough to blend.  Pour into prepared pan. Bake in preheated 350 degree F oven, one hour or until toothpick comes out clean

3/19/15- Super Silky Parsnip Soup


3 pounds of parsnips (peeled and cut into 1 inch slices, tops removed)
1 large Russet (baker’s) potato (peeled and cut into 1 inch slices, tops removed)
Salt and pepper (to taste)
½ gallon of milk (whole works best, but lighter milk can be used for a healthier soup)
4 cloves of garlic (peeled and smashed)
  1. Prepare the parsnips, potatoes, and garlic and add them to a pot.  Hold aside the salt and pepper for the end.
  2. Pour the milk over the top of the vegetables until they are covered, about 1 inch higher than the veggies.
  3. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently to avoid scorching to the bottom of the pan.
  4. Once the vegetables are soft, turn off the heat.  Carefully transfer the mixture (a bit at a time) to the blender.  Hold a rag over the top of the blender and pulse until the vegetables are initially blended then puree until smooth.  Transfer smooth soup into a clean pot.
  5. Keep blending until all contents are pureed smooth and in the new pot.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Eat and enjoy!

1/27/15- Maple and Cumin Sweet Potato Mash- 
Ingredients: 3 pounds sweet potatoes, 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, 1/2 cup cream, 2 T salt, pepper to taste, 1 T cumin, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 cup VT Maple Syrup
Directions- Peel sweet potatoes and place in a large pot covered with water.  Add 2 T salt.  Bring to boil and cook until soft.  Drain in a colander for 3-5 minutes.  Add cream and butter to the pot to melt slowly (the heat is not on but the pot is still warm).  Return potatoes to the pot and mash.  Add cumin cinnamon, syrup, salt and pepper to taste.  Eat and enjoy!

1/23/15- Sweet Potato Chips: Cut sweet potatoes into rounds.  Toss with olive oil (aprox 1 T per 2 sweet potatoes).  Bake at 400 for 20-30 min until beginning to get crispy.  Sprinkle with salt and serve.

Kale Salad- Ingredients: 1 bunch of kale (take out the stalks and tear it into bites), Juice of 1 lemon, ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil, Salt and pepper (to taste), 2 teaspoons of honey, ½ teaspoon of mustard, roasted and cubed winter veggies (beets, squash, pumpkin, put YOUR flavor in it!), 3 Tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds


  1. Pour the lemon juice into a large mixing bowl with the mustard, honey, salt, and pepper.
  2. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while you whisk the juice mixture to make an emulsion.
  3. Massage the kale into the mix, rub it until the kale starts to get a little soft and wilt.
  4. Toss in the winter veggies and pumpkin seeds.
  5. Eat and enjoy!

Kale au Gratin (“au gratin” is French for:  Topped with melted cheese)- Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, 2 cloves of chopped garlic, ½  cup of water, 1 bunch of kale (take out the stalks and tear it into bites), Salt and pepper (to taste), ¾  cups of milk, 1 Tablespoon of butter, 3 Tablespoons of breadcrumbs, 1 pinch of nutmeg, 4 ounces of VT cheddar (shredded)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a medium sized loaf pan with butter.
  2. In a large deep sided pan, heat the oil over medium heat.  Once the oil is hot add the garlic for about 30 seconds.
  3. Carefully add the water and the kale, turn up the heat to between medium high and high.  
  4. Add salt and pepper.  Cook it for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Once the greens are soft and the water is mostly gone, add the milk while stirring slowly.  Season with the nutmeg.
  6. Once everything comes back to a simmer, add the 2 tablespoons of the breadcrumbs while stirring.  Switch the mix into the loaf pan.  Top with the cheddar cheese and the last bit of the breadcrumbs.
  7. Bake until the top is melted and golden brown.  Make sure you let it cool a bit before you eat it!
4/17/14-Monster Bites (spinach balls) Mix 1/4 C butter, 1 box frozen spinach (thawed and squeezed dry), 1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs, 1 T onion powder, 4 oz shredded muenster or cheddar cheese, pinch of salt and pepper, 1/4 tsp garlic powder and 3 beaten eggs in a large bowl. Roll into 1 inch balls and refrigerate for at least 30 min (refrigerate before rolling, too! It is much easier to roll!) Bake at 350 degrees for 12 plus minutes. Makes 40 balls. Yum!

3/20/14- Monkey bars- In Saucepan over med-low heat, melt 5 T butter, 1/2 C brown sugar, 1/2 tsp salt. Cool 5 min. While cooling, mix 1/2 C mashed sweet potato, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 egg and 2 bananas.  Add butter mixture.  Add 1/2 C old fashioned oats (not quick cook), 3/4 C white flour, 1/4 C wheat flour and 1/4 C chocolate chips.  Pour into 9" square sprayed or greased pan.  Bake at 325 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

9/24/13- pesto pizza
Pesto- 3C basil leaves, 4 cloves garlic, 1/2 C olive oil, 3/4 C Parmesan cheese.  Mix in a food processor. Pizza- Spread pesto on pre-baked pizza dough. Cover with cheese and bake.

6/6/13- Black Bean Brownies-

  • INGREDIENTS- 25 oz black beans, 5 eggs, ½# butter, ½ c cocoa powder, ⅛ tsp salt, 1T vanilla, ¾ C sugar, 1C choc chips
  • DIRECTIONS- Preheat oven to 350.  Butter 9x12 pan, Mix all ingredients except choc chips.  Stir in ¾C choc chips.  Pour into pan.  Sprinkle the rest on top.  Bake 30 min or until just set in center.

5/17/13- pesto pizza
Pesto- 3C basil leaves, 4 cloves garlic, 1/2 C olive oil, 3/4 C Parmesan cheese.  Mix in a food processor. Pizza- Spread pesto on pre-baked pizza dough. Cover with cheese and bake.

5/2/13- mixed greens

Maple Baked Beans 4/18/13
Ingredients: 1 pound Great Northern Beans or Kidney Beans (or a mix as we did). 2 tsp kosher salt, 1 T canola oil, 1 chopped yellow onion, 1 cup pure maple syrup (we used less), 1/3 C brown sugar (we used less), 1 tsp dry mustard.
Directions: Rinse beans and pick them over. Cover beans in water (1 inch above beans) and soak 8-12 hours.  Rinse and cook with water, simmering on med-low for 40 minutes or until soft.  Saute onion in oil until tender.  When beans are cooked, strain but save cooking water.  Mix beans, onions and all other ingredients.  Bake for 1 1/2 hours at 325 in covered dish.  Check part way through and add some of the reserved cooking liquid if beans look too dry.

Roasted Garbanzo beans 4/4/13
Rinse one can of garbanzo's.  Dry well.  Add 1 T olive oil and 1/4 tsp salt.  Spread on cookie sheet and roast (Bake) at 400 degrees for 12 minutes shaking tray half way through.

Cranberry Coleslaw 3/21/13
Ingredients: 1/4 c plain nonfat greek yogurt, 2T plus 2 t mayonnaise, 1 ½ t sugar, 1 ½ t red wine vinegar, ½ t celery seed, ¼ t salt, ¼ t dry mustard, 5 C green and red cabbage- shredded,

½ C Carrots- shredded, 2 medium apples, ½ C dried cranberries.
Directions: Shred cabbage in a food processor.  Peel and grate carrots.  Peel and slice apples. Measure first 7 ingredients into a jar.  Cover tightly and shake to mix.  Mix with all remaining ingredients in a bowl and stir to coat.

Kale Chips 3/7/13

1 bunch of kale, 1 T olive oil, 1 tsp salt (can use seasoned salt)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Remove leaves from stem and tear into chip size pieces
Wash and dry kale
Toss with olive oil and sprinkle with salt
Bake 10 min or until edges are slightly brown

Sunshine Macaroni and Cheese
Serves 4-6

½ pound whole wheat elbow pasta
2 cups skim milk
1 large sweet potato- peeled, boiled and mashed (for 1 ½ cups)
½ tsp dry mustard (or ¼ tsp nutmeg for variety- not used in taste test)
1 ½ cups shredded cheese (can be a mixture- cheddar, monterey Jack, moz, etc)
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Add salt and elbow pasta to rapidly boiling pot of water.  
Cook al dente- don’t over cook!  Drain and rinse pasta very well.
Warm the milk on the stovetop and add spices.
Add cheese and sweet potatoes and mix until smooth. (can use blender)
Put pasta in baking dish and mix in sauce.  
Top with bread crumbs if desired. (not done at JES)
Bake 25-30 min or until top is browned and bubbly.

Parents, we need you to make these taste tests happen!  We need one parent at each taste test.  The time commitment is 10:45-1:25.  Split the time with a friend!  Available taste tests this year are:


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What is "Farm to School" ?

Farm to School is a program that connects schools to local farms with the objectives of:

  • serving healthy meals in the cafeteria
  • improving student nutrition
  • providing agriculture, health and nutrition education opportunities
  • supporting local and regional farmers
In Vermont, farm to school efforts  are lead by Vermont Food Education Every Day (VT FEED).  Farm to School is happening all over Vermont and across the USA!

What does Farm to School mean for JES?

There is so much going on at JES!  The Farm-to-School efforts began with a committed parent group.  Last year the efforts ramped up, support broadened and we:
  • started taste tests
  • removed processed foods from the menu
  • added many more local products to the menu
  • surrounded the cafeteria in pictures of local farms
  • put in a garden and more  

Because of the broad support in the JES Community for the program, JES was invited to attend The Farm-to-School Institute Summer Workshop at Shelburne Farms.  Four staff members, Vicki Graf, Amy Beckwith, Lars Botzojorns and Mary-Lou Lappierre, and a parent, Jamie Lofy, attended the workshop.  There, we developed a Farm-to-School Action Plan for JES and have been implementing the plan this year.  In addition to the workshop, JES received a year of support from Abbie Nelson who works for VT FEED, to help with the plan roll out.  An additional staff member, Dave Bouchard, and an additional parent, Ray Medina, have joined the farm-to-School committee this year.  

This year we have:
  • added a new fruit/veggie bar
  • increased local products on the menu
  • enjoyed garden activities and harvests
  • changed taste testing to include students in the food prep
  • focused on curriculum
  • had a school wide Stone Soup harvest celebration

The momentum grows and the excitement is there at JES for an increase in healthy food consumption! Below is our Farm to School plan. 

Vision Statement: At Jericho Elementary School we work together to promote the wellbeing of all members of our school community.  We do this by encouraging lifelong healthy habits, fostering participation, building appreciation and making connections to the land and greater community.

Our plan focuses on four areas, Cafeteria, Garden, Classroom and Community.  We look at this as a long term plan, over several years, although many of the action steps are completed or will be completed soon. This is an evolving plan which we hope will eventually be infused into the  culture of JES.  It already is in many ways!

  • Vision Statement- In our cafeteria, we foster a positive climate that supports the knowledge and consumption of healthy foods.
  • Goals-
    • Improve the culture of eating
    • Increase the use of and consumption of local foods and healthy food choices.
  • Action Steps-
    • purchase round tables
    • purchase a salad bar- done.  Thank you PIE!
    • As a staff, foster a positive experience for students at lunch, discouraging students from criticizing their neighbors food, and discussing food varieties and the benefits of eating healthy foods as it comes up in conversation.
    • purchase planters for the cafeteria windows.
    • connect with local farmers and purchase local food regularly.
    • taste tests- involve the students more in preparation and conducting the tests.
  • Vision Statement- In our school garden, we use the garden as a learning space and share the care of the garden with the larger community.
  • Goals-
    • Create an outdoor learning space in the garden.
    • Develop a plan for garden maintenance
    • Compile a list of ways for teachers to use the space with students.
  • Action Steps-
    • Put in benches.
    • Bring the staff into the garden and brainstorm ways to use the garden with students.  Provide master list to teachers. (List attached to this document)
    • Search for and provide other curriculum ideas for teachers to incorporate if they choose.
    • Brainstorm ways to maintain the garden- parents? students?
  • Vision Statement- In our classrooms, we teach students about healthy foods, good nutrition and the role of farms and farmers in our community.
  • Goals-
    • Audit our current curriculum for Farm to School lessons already in action.
    • Develop a plan to connect with local farms.
  • Action Steps-
    • Develop an inventory
    • Discuss with the teaching staff to share ideas
    • Offer Farmer Correspondence as an option
  • Vision Statement- In our community, we build relationships and celebrate our Farm-to-School successes.
  • Goals-
    • Develop a Wellness Structure with Farm-to-School as a part of it.
    • Reach out to the community to make connections. Encourage involvement on our committee and with our action plan.
  • Action Steps-
    • Set up ways to reach out such as the Wellness blog, Google+, newsletters.
    • Student generated thank you’s.
    • Seek out and advertise family picking for JES opportunities at local farms
    • Introduction of the Farm-to-School plan to the larger JES community in the evening.
    • Open House info table.