Latrobe, Pa., dairy farmer Jason Frye of Pleasant Lane Farms and Steve Turner from Turner Dairy, Pittsburgh, Pa., joined American Dairy Association North East and two fan-favorite former Pittsburgh Steelers Franco Harris and Ryan Shazier for the Pittsburgh School Food Service Summit on Friday, April 22, at Heinz Field.
Hosted by ADA North East, the summit brought together 33 Pittsburgh Regional Food Service Directors members to discuss the importance of dairy in school nutrition programs. We highlighted key ADA North East dairy optimization programs to increase school meal participation; and provided support for the directors to navigate through the supply chain challenges and meal participation.
Turner Dairy, which supplies most of the Pittsburgh Regional Food Service Directors school districts with milk for student meals, provided 8-ounce cartons of Smiley Cookie milk at the event. The dairy also donated the vanilla yogurt that was used in samples of breakfast morning yogurt and fruit parfaits, as an example of one of the recipes offered to schools by ADA North East.
Frye and Turner were on hand to further help build trust and confidence in dairy by helping participants make the connection with where and how it is produced and processed. Turners developed a video highlighting its processing plant to share with the group, and Frye participated in a question and answer session with ADA North East Director of Industry Relations Amy Leslie.
“It was great to be part of the summit to represent the dairy farmer-funded school programs of ADA North East, because it is critically important that dairy continues to have a secure place on school menus and with the school nutrition directors who manage those menus daily,” said Frye. “I’m proud to have represented dairy farmers during this event by promoting locally produced and processed dairy products and their importance as part of a healthy diet for students.”
Frye milks 50 cows in a robotic “smart barn,” selling a portion of the milk to Turner Dairy and processing a portion of the milk on-farm into cheese marketed in the Pittsburgh area under the label The Creamery at Pleasant Lane Farms.
Former Steelers Harris and Shazier participated in the event to discuss the importance of school meals and the value of dairy for good nutrition. They also commended the school nutrition directors for overcoming the obstacles and challenges during the pandemic to ensure that students had access to healthy meals.
To learn more about ADA North East’s school nutrition programs, visit AmericanDairy.com under “In Schools.”