Distinguished Chef , Patrick Mulvaney, visited the Waggoner Elementary School kitchen, cafeteria and gardens last Friday to learn more about Winters Farm to School’s efforts to provide more fresh fruits and vegetables for our school meal programs.
Mulvaney, a key leader in our region’s farm to fork movement, watched as first graders eagerly filled their plates with plump, local strawberries mixed with fresh blueberries and kiwis, salad greens and a variety of colorful carrots with the green tops left on. Complimenting all the yummy vegetables was oven baked chicken drumsticks and whole wheat waffles.
Cathy Olsen, Director of Food Services for the Winters School District and a founding member of Winters Farm to School, shared stories with Chef Mulvaney of how our school children’s eating habits have changed since introducing all the fresh fruits and produce from nearby farms in Yolo County. “I had one student who didn’t want to eat any lettuce. After encouraging him to eat just one piece of lettuce per day, he gradually added more and more and now he eats a full salad every day. It’s rewarding to see,” said Olsen with a smile.
Patrick Mulvaney’s cooking career has spanned five time zones and two and a half decades. Moving to California in 1993, he fell in love with the year round growing season and the proximity of the farmers, ranchers, brewers and winemakers. This love continues to fuel both the creative spirits of his team and the appetites of his guests at his Sacramento midtown restaurant, Mulvaney’s Building and Loan. Mulvaney’s menu changes daily as they focus on the subtle changes of the seasonal harvest of nearby local farms. As Mulvaney often says, “whatever comes in the front door goes on your plate.”
An active voice in the farm to fork movement, Mulvaney was pleased to see school kids in Winters having the opportunity to taste and enjoy the rich bounty of Yolo County. Olsen explained that without the fundraising efforts of Winters Farm to School the children would not have the experience of eating foods grown by farmers right in their own neighborhood.
Winters Farm to School is an all-volunteer non-profit organization which raises money to provide healthier foods for our school meal programs. Winters Farm to School has an annual Bastille Day Feast fundraiser which will be held this year on Saturday, July 9th, at the Wolfskill Ranch in Winters.
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