Watermelons and tomatoes from Deep Run Farms, apples from Baugher's Orchard and potatoes from Wike Farm — all were served up this past week in Carroll County Public Schools as part of the celebration of Maryland Homegrown School Lunch Week.
The statewide focus, which ran Sept. 17-21, called upon school systems to feature locally grown produce in their school lunch menus. Signage was created to accompany the products when possible, identifying for students the farms where the food was purchased.
In addition to items from Deep Run Farms in Hampstead, Baugher's Orchard in Westminster and Wike Farm in Hampstead, other items such as plums, nectarines and pluots (hybrid plums/apricots) grown on neighboring county farms were acquired for lunches.
In its fifth year, Homegrown School Lunch Week is an element of the Jane Lawton Farm to School Program, designed to help educate students about where their food comes from, how it is produced, and the benefits of a healthy diet. The effort also works to expand markets for Maryland farmers.
The county school system has been working with the Partnership for a Healthier Carroll County to encourage healthy eating in the classroom and the cafeteria.
According to Karen Sarno, supervisor of food services for CCPS, "This week that celebrates the bounty of our local farming community ties in nicely with our overall campaign to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables being eaten by the students as part of their school lunch and school breakfast."