October is National Farm to School Month and to celebrate, Saratoga Springs City School District, in New York, hosted a “Farm to You Festival” this week. The festival included smoothie samples – made with local New York State milk and yogurt – for students at breakfast on October 10, 2019.
The smoothies were made using new smoothie blenders that the district received – one each at Saratoga Springs High School and Maple Avenue Middle School, donated through a collaborative effort between the Dairy Council Health Foundation and Stewart’s Shops to help increase student access to locally-produced and nutritious foods.
Dairy farmer Dylan Durkee of Durkacres Farm in Hartford, New York, joined ADA North East and Erica Komoroske from Stewart’s Shops for the festivities on Thursday at Saratoga Springs High School. The morning celebration also showcased NY Thursdays, a statewide Farm-to-School initiative that promotes locally-sourced foods, helping students understand where their food comes from.
The celebration included students sampling several flavorful smoothies, that debuted at the school this year and are now a regular breakfast menu item made with local New York State milk and yogurt.
“Farmers really work very hard in order for everybody to have a good quality product.” ~ Dylan Durkee, Durkacres Farm
The dairy products served by Saratoga Springs City School District comes from milk produced by cows at Durkacres Farm. “I think it’s a huge part of their nutrition. My wife’s a dietitian and she’s always talking about the need to get more dairy products into the school. I think that Stewart’s Shops giving this machine to make these yogurt smoothies is a going to be good for starting kids on their way to a healthy lifestyle,” said Dylan.
Dylan helped distribute samples of Pumpkin Spice and Very Berry smoothies to students along with Erica. “This is a great initiative for us to partner with Dairy Council Health Foundation because it provides smoothies to a local school district — Saratoga Springs City — and these kids now have the option to get smoothies every single morning, which it’s a wonderful treat, it’s a nutritious treat and it’s a healthy breakfast,” said the PR specialist for Stewart’s Shops.
Saratoga Springs High School Cook Managers Megan Kearney (left) and Abbey Case prepared samples of Pumpkin Spice and Very Berry smoothies for nearly 100 students during breakfast on October 10.
“The blenders were really essential for us because they are large and we can efficiently prepare many portions, and this is a school of over 2,000 students. With these two new blenders, we’re able to offer smoothies daily and the students really love the smoothies. We have a lot of kids that find it delicious and they come in to breakfast just for those,” said Margaret Sullivan, Saratoga Springs City School District School Lunch Program Director.
Saratoga Springs High School celebrated the NY Thursdays Initiative at breakfast with smoothie samples that featured local New York State milk and yogurt. Pictured from left to right: Megan Kearney, Saratoga Springs High School Cook Manager; Dylan Durkee, Durkacres Farm; Erica Komoroske, Stewart’s Shops PR Specialist; Matt Keen, Saratoga Springs City School District Assistant School Lunch Director; Caitlin Drysdale, American Dairy Association North East Youth Programs Specialist; Margaret Sullivan, Saratoga Springs City School District School Lunch Program Director; Abby Case, Saratoga Springs High School Cook Manager; Samantha Collina, Dietetic Intern; and Joe Greco, Saratoga Springs City School District Director of Budget and Program Integration.