Food Storage and Preparation
Storage Guides for Fruits & Vegetables
Videos for the preparation of many recipes and fresh food products can be found on the University of Kentucky’s planeatmove.com website. Here are a few of interest:
Fresh produce is usually more affordable in season. Consider this when planning the school menu. Consult the Kentucky Proud Produce Availability Guide. It provides information about which Kentucky produce is in season, as well as storage tips.
How Much Do I Need?
When planning to purchase fresh local food, the following resources can help you estimate how much raw product you will need:
How Much Will It Cost?
Here are sources for reliable cost estimates:
- Real time Daily Market Price
- National Average Costs for Produce
- Price Reports for produce at KY farmers’ markets and KY produce Auctions
When planning to use fresh produce, storage space and delivery schedules should be considered. The Cornell Extension document, “Storage Guidelines for Fruits and Vegetables” provides good guidance for planning these functions.
Preparation of fresh produce often requires more time and manpower than using canned or frozen products. Safety is of utmost importance. More information is provided on this website under “Food Storage and Preparation” and “Food Safety” resources.
Collaborating with Producers
Local purchasing is easiest and most successful when producers and purchasers plan together. If possible, plan a conversation with producers to discuss:
- Menu cycle (What is needed, how much, and when?)
- Bidding process
- School payment process
- Processing needs
- School storage capacity
- Delivery needs
- Requirements for safety certifications and insurance
- Possibilities for future collaborations
Food Safety Links
Contamination of produce with harmful microorganisms can occur at all stages of production, processing, transportation, storage, preparation, and service. To prevent foodborne illness, fresh produce needs to be handled with care at each step from farm to table. Follow these links for resources to help you assure food safety in your school:
Junior Chef Program
One sure way to generate interest in Farm to School in your school district is to encourage students to develop a team to compete in the Kentucky Junior Chef program. This is a statewide high school cooking competition designed to offer youth the opportunity to learn valuable skills in recipe development, food preparation, marketing, public presentation, organization, teamwork and community involvement. Submissions from your school can be showcased in your cafeteria. Or showcase all of the winning recipes in your cafeteria and let students vote for a grand champion! More information about the Kentucky Junior Chef program can be found here: https://www.kyagr.com/junior-chef
Fruits and Vegetables Galore: Helping Kids Eat More
Fruits & Vegetables Galore is a tool for school foodservice professionals packed with tips on planning, purchasing, protecting, preparing, presenting and promoting fruits and vegetables.