School Year Ends with a Fruit and Vegetable Extravaganza


It started with a wheel and some carrots, broccoli, and kale.

It ended with a blowout – a fruit and vegetable extravaganza that featured 20 types of fresh produce!

School nutrition staff at Boardman Center Intermediate School built a lot of interest in fruits and vegetables throughout the year. Staff hosted taste tests and gave away over 12,000 samples of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Students sampled raw broccoli, jicama, asparagus, edamame, beets, spinach, kale, zucchini straws, acorn squash, butternut squash, roasted garbanzo beans, roasted black beans, sweet potato, three varieties of tomatoes, watermelon, cantaloupe, fresh pineapple, coconut, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and grapes – over 20 different fresh and cooked, fruits and vegetables.

The taste tests were introduced through a wheel, spun to identify the item to be sampled. The wheel and the tastings became quite popular.

Fruit and Vegetable Blowout

The school year ended with a blowout – a fruit & veggie extravaganza – that featured a table full of raw asparagus, sliced jicama, raw broccoli, three types of melon, three types of tomatoes, and red, green & yellow peppers.

boardmanmiddle_blowouttable_may2016-copy-2

Cantaloupe was a big hit and has been added to the school menu.

The school year typically ends with celebrations, so the school nutrition staff wanted to celebrate the increased interested, by staff and students, in fruits and vegetables. “We really built momentum toward hosting a big event – it seemed like a good thing to do,” observed Food Service Director Natalie Winkle.

Best Day EVER!

Students loved the variety. One middle school student even said, “This is the best day ever!” Another student wished the school offered all these fruit and vegetables every day.

Tasting transferred to consumption, Winkle is very pleased to report. New choices on the menu include veggie sticks (celery & carrots), raw broccoli, grape tomatoes, cauliflower, and cucumbers.

  • Watermelon and cantaloupe have been added to the menu. Procurement records show an increase in amount of watermelon ordered: from 1- 21 pound watermelon per two-week cycle to 2 -21 pound watermelons per two-week cycle.
  • Procurement records show an increase from no cantaloupe purchased to 6 cantaloupes purchased every two weeks.
  • Strawberry consumption also increased.
  • Salad sales have increased. After the initial taste tests, students who chose salad on their lunch trays (when salad was served) went from 250 per day to about 300 per day.
  • More raw vegetables have also been added on the menu. Broccoli servings averaged of 165 servings per menu day and have increased to 222 servings of broccoli per menu day. Staff offered broccoli raw and steamed at different times on the menu; the amount of broccoli chosen stayed about the same. The students like the broccoli raw as much as steamed.

A Team Nutrition Training Grant, through the United States Department of Agriculture, funded the project. The grant is administered through the Ohio Department of Education, Office for Child Nutrition.

We thank the following school districts for sharing their activities, photographs, and data. Their stories will be posted on this blog over the upcoming months.

Austintown Local; Beavercreek City; Black River Local; Boardman Local; Cloverleaf Local; Columbus City; Edison Local; Fairfield Local; Fairview Park City;

Grand Valley Local; James A. Garfield Local; Leipsic Local; Marlington Local; Minster Local; Mount Vernon City; Pickerington Local; Springfield Local; Sebring Local; Summit Academy – Xenia; Warren City.

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