Bringing the Harvest Indoors
It is that time of year again. The temperature is cooling, the leaves are shifting in color, and the crop fields appear barren. It is the end of the growing season here on the Southcoast, or is it?
The Food Services Department at Bristol County Agricultural High School is doing their best to change that. Theresa Vernazzaro, Food Services Director and her staff make every effort to source local product for the lunches served in Bristol Aggie’s cafeteria. As often as possible, fresh produce and meats are sourced right from the fields of the school through the BA Grows Garden and Animal Science Department. Additionally, Vernazzaro works with local farmers and even local fishermen to secure the fresh catch -of-the-day. “
The students really enjoy the daily salad and smoothie options” said Vernazzaro and that is what led her to explore the possibility of bringing the growing process inside cafeteria. After receiving a grant through the New England Dairy Council, Vernazzaro secured the EvanLEE ORGANICS’ Grow Rack. With assistance from the EvanLee representative and the junior Floriculture students, the racks were installed and have been growing over the last few weeks. This week, the Bristol Aggie Food Services Department harvested their first crop of greens. The beautiful, nutritious produce was incorporated into the school’s lunch entrée and daily salad options for the students and staff.
The EvanLEE Organics indoor grow racks will provide nutrient dense, organic greens for salads, basil for the cafeteria’s home-made pesto and a variety of greens and herbs for smoothies. The grow racks are low maintenance, require once a week watering, use timed LED lightbulbs and produce a harvest every 18 days. Students and staff will have access to fresh greens that are produced feet away from where they are served. Bristol County Agricultural High School’s Superintendent, Adele Sands commended Vernazzaro and her staff on their eagerness to bring fresh local food to the school community. “This initiative speaks volumes about the commitment and passion that this department has for providing healthy, nutritious, locally sourced, home-made food to our students. This cafeteria is like no other.”
About Bristol County Agricultural High School
Bristol County Agricultural High School is an agricultural-vocational public high school set on over 200 acres of land Dighton, Massachusetts. The school has 7 agricultural offerings for their 450 students from across Bristol County and beyond: Large & Small Animal Science, Agricultural Mechanics, Arboriculture, Landscape Design & Construction, Floriculture, and Natural Resource Management