Food Service What's New
What do we do in Food Services?
We buy food:
$1.4M total food expenditures; 23% is Oakhurst Dairy, 7% is other local sourced food for a total of 30% Local. Of the top 20 items we purchase, seven items are fresh produce.
We cook food:
Scratch cooking at the Central Kitchen 2 or more days a week; salad bar prep work in all middle and high schools; decreasing processed food helps to meet new regulations and serve better quality food to students and staff; in-house chef hired to provide support for recipe development and staff development.
We serve food - over 1,000,000 meals served in 180 days of school last year, 5,500 daily.
Breakfast – now in all buildings;
Lunch-New rules start this year;
Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program- cut back to four schools this year;
After School Snack Program - eligible to serve in any school over 50% free/reduced. Pilot program in DHS last year; we serve Learning Works at EECS and Reiche Schools. This is a light snack that can be supplemented by other sources or fund raising.
Summer Food Service Program - Serving lunches across the City while school is on summer vacation including summer school programs.
Dinner Program - We are looking to qualify to serve reimbursable dinners instead of the after school snacks sometime in the next two years.
Each kitchen is staffed by a Team Leader that has passed a 12 hour Sanitation class with its 2 hour exam;
The Waste Reduction Group has implemented cafeteria recycling and composting in 12 schools; savings in the District waste bill has enabled the switch from foam lunch trays to paper trays this year.
We do paper work:
Meal benefit applications, state and federal claim forms monthly, state and City licensing, 8,200 school lunch accounts for students and staff; catering for the district; purchasing bid contracts, District reports.
Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program was expanded to include King Middle School and Ocean Ave School to the program enjoyed by Reiche, Presumpscot, EECS and West.
Communities Putting Prevention to Work Grant is in full swing:
9 salad bars in schools with West starting in September
Updated nutrient software for reporting calories and allergy information
Local Foods Manager redesigning menus to use more local foods
Menu Labeling project bringing new signs elementary schools and digital menu displays to middle and high school
New kitchen supply contract will save $18K annually
New Prime Vendor contract will contain food cost increases
Summer food service serving an average of 110 per day versus 20 in 2010.
- Free and Reduced notification letters go out August 29th to all directly certified families. if the family gets a letter from us on August 29th, they DO NOT complete any other paperwork unless children are not listed and should be.
- Expand Breakfast for Learning to Presumpscot and Riverton, maybe King.
- Wellness Policy needs to have action this fall for CPPW grant milestone and it will clear up many food issues.
Local product lunches
On September 19th we will be celebrating the season with a Maine Harvest Lunch at all elementary cafes. The emphasis is to feature local farms and their products in the lunchroom: Wolfe’s Neck Farm Hamburger on a Wheat Roll, salads with greens from Snell Family Farm (Buxton) and Jordan Farm (Cape Elizabeth) , cucumbers from White Oak Farm (Warren), Cherry Tomatoes from Swango Farm, corn on the cob from Belanger Farm (Lisbon), apples from Ricker Orchard for dessert, garlic scapes, zucchini and tomatoes from the African Heritage Garden Project (Tidewater Farm) and Snells, Fresh Haddock from Bristol Seafood (Portland), Red Potatoes from Mars Hill, Basil and Garlic for pesto pizza sauce, dried beans for chili from The Beanery (Exeter), Baked Potatoes from Belfast, Blueberries from Wyman’s (Downeast)
More than $28,000 in local products was used in 2010 versus none in 2009! When you include local milk from Oakhurst Dairy, we spent 21.6% of our food budget on local foods! They include:
Strawberries- from Bowdoinham, made into breakfast breads, strawberry shortcake.
Whole Apples – lunch and snacks
Dry Beans – from Exeter in our homemade chili
Carrots – on the salad bar and in snacks
Potatoes – Middle School entrée and at Longfellow as Stuffed Baked Potato
Tomatoes – from Back Yard Beauties in Madison on our salad bars, Italians and snacks
Blueberries – from Wyman’s in Down East Maine
Sweet Corn – from Harris Farm in Dayton Maine for our Maine Harvest Lunch
Ground Beef Patty- from Wolfeneck Farms at Pineland for our Maine Harvest Lunch
Summer Squash- from Snell’s Family Farm shredded and used in our Meat Sauce to reduce sodium and increase fiber content.
We completed a USDA Sustainable Agricultural Research Education grant in collaboration with Cultivating Communities and the Co-operative Extension Service around local foods and school food service.
Styrofoam Lunch Trays
We are working with the Waste Reduction Committee on a pilot project at Lincoln Middle School to study using a paper tray that can be recycled or composted. With a generous donation from Huhmataki/Chinet for paper trays, we will study the costs of using a paper tray and recycling it versus paying full price to dispose of the foam trays. We hope to show a savings in our waste hauling budget that will cover the additional $50,000 a year it would cost to switch from Styrofoam to paper trays.
We phased out all foam trays at breakfast with a less expensive recyclable tray in September 2009.
Obesity Prevention Grant Work
In the coming 24 months, this grant will enable Portland Public School Department to install 9 refrigerated food bars and back up refrigeration at schools that now lack any food service equipment aside from a milk cooler. It will also fund a Local Foods Specialist to assist in expanding our Farm2School Program and an Assistant to review our nutrition software and implement the new fruit and vegetable bars. There are also activities around class room celebrations and vending included in the grant.
Wayside Soup Kitchen
In March 2010, the Wayside Soup Kitchen separated from the Preble Street Resource Center and moved its food preparation department into the Reed Central Kitchen. Their new mission will serve lunch and dinner in neighborhood locations throughout Portland. With extra space at Reed, this non-profit can make use of our facility after the school meals have been made and shipped.