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.
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.
Enjoy fresh Texas Collard Greens in your cafeteria on Wednesday, December 18.
If you’re from the Southern United States, you have probably been served collard greens at some point in your life. Collards are so synonymous with Southern cuisine that legislators in South Carolina voted in 2011 to make it their official state vegetable. Collard green festivals are held annually in cities like Atlanta and Savannah, but this vegetable’s history and range extend far beyond North America.
Collard greens are a broad-leafed vegetable of the Brassica oleracea species, which also includes broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and kale. Collard greens probably descended from wild cabbages found in Asia before recorded history. They eventually spread through Europe, and the Greeks and Romans grew kale and collards in domestic gardens over 2,000 years ago. Collard greens traveled to the Americas by ship and have become the staple noted above. Collard greens are grown and eaten regularly in many countries across the world.
Collard greens are a cool season vegetable that can be harvested into early winter. Collards are also more resistant to frost than any other cabbage variety, which make them an attractive vegetable in temperate regions of the world that experience mild winters. Collards are easily domesticated, growing in backyards or home gardens.
Collard greens are also known to pack a nutritional punch. Dense with vitamins and nutrients, the dark, leafy greens contain high amounts of vitamins A, C, and K, calcium, folate, and fiber. Collards are rich in the antioxidant beta-carotene which helps cells defend themselves against the damage caused by free radicals.