“For the most part, people are like, wow, how can you serve shrimp?”
We did it! Katrina Wiest, Wellness Specialist for the Bend-LaPine school district, tells me about the school community’s reaction to the cafeteria piloting Boat to School. She explained that people are amazed by the high quality seafood meals students are getting. Pacific Pink shrimp are on the menu every day at all the schools in the district. This means it is available to 16,000 students each day. Dover sole will be on the “We got sole” menu twice in March and rockfish will be next.
How did all this happen? In talking to school food directors about this fellowship project, Boat to School, I met Katrina. Bend-LaPine already buys around 40% Oregon items for their school lunches.
They were ready to push the envelope and branch out. They liked the idea of servicing Oregon seafood at lunch and were reassured by my leadership to help when they came across stumbling blocks. In December, Bend-LaPine applied for the House Bill 2800 (Clem) grant and was awarded funds to launch Boat to School!
Located in central Oregon, the awarded grant funding connects school food buyers with coastal fishermen and processors to bring Oregon shrimp and fish into lunch at all 27 district schools.
With big help from Christa Svenson of Bornstein’s Seafood, Katrina was able to find Oregon Pacific Pink shrimp, rockfish, and sole that were affordable and could be shipped directly to the school district. Last month Bend-LaPine purchased 2,000 pounds of shrimp from Bornstein’s located in Astoria, some 200 miles away from Bend. Katrina sent me photos of the shrimp that has already been served to students. So far, they’ve had shrimp salad, shrimp sushi, shrimp fettuccine, and more.
The students Katrina feeds often have never eaten Oregon seafood before. Many may not have been to the ocean in their lives.
Photos courtesy of Katrina Wiest.