Farm-to-school programs

Our school cafeterias are giving students the opportunity to enjoy nutritious food grown locally. The Farm Fresh Friday and Harvest of the Month programs take place to support healthy lifestyle habits and teach students about agriculture and the local farms their foods come from.

Farm Fresh Friday

The Texas Department of Agriculture created the Farm Fresh Friday initiative to connect Texans all across our state to agriculture and our local farmers and ranchers.  The Farm Fresh goal is to increase awareness of the integral role agriculture plays in our lives and improving wellness in our community.  Every Friday, our cafeterias will feature a Texas-grown menu item.

Orange appears above Locally Grown logoFebruary Farm Fresh Friday - oranges

Students can enjoy Texas oranges each Friday during the month of February. When students make the Farm Fresh choice they support the hardworking producers across our state and help improve the local economy.

Harvest of the Month

Each month a different locally grown fruit or vegetable option is available in our cafeterias. Agricultural fact sheets teach students about the products and farms of Texas. We hope to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables that students are eating.

a red, spherical beet has bright green leaves with pink veins February Harvest of the Month – Beets

Students can enjoy beets, fresh from Texas farms, in their cafeteria on Thursday, Feb.14.

Raw beetroot is 88% water, 10% carbohydrates, 2% protein, and less than 1% fat. In a 100 gram amount providing 43 Calories, raw beetroot is a rich source of folate and a moderate source of manganese. Beets contain a substance called geosmin, which is responsible for that fresh soil scent in your garden following a spring rain.

Beets are most commonly a dark red color, however they also come in other hues ranging from white to yellow to a “candy cane” red-and-white variety. Not only are they colorful and full of flavor, they are rich in antioxidants, folic acid, potassium, and fiber. They also contain unique antioxidants called betalains, which are currently being studied as a potential weapon in the fight against cancer. Betalains give beets their red hue. The rosy betalain-rich juice of red beets was used as a cheek and lip stain by women during the 19th century.

Despite only growing well during spring and fall, beets were so well regarded in Ancient Rome and Greece that methods were developed for producing them during the hot summer months. The root part of the beet was cultivated for consumption in either Germany or Italy, first recorded in 1542. Northeastern Europe was the first area to embrace the beet root as a dietary staple; it was valued as one of the only vegetables that grew well throughout winter.

Fun Facts:

  • Beets contain betaine, a substance that relaxes the mind and is used in other forms to treat depression.
  • Many nutritionists use beets and beet juice to test levels of stomach acid.
  • High levels of unique antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents help reduce the risk of many types of cancers.