Friday, September 16, 2011

Kennebunk Elementary School’s Harvest Fair to Bring the Community Together

Members of the public are invited to attend a Harvest Fair at Kennebunk Elementary School on Thursday, September 22, from 3 to 5:30 p.m. The Fair, part of RSU 21’s celebration of Maine Harvest Lunch, will be held rain or shine in the garden area behind the school gym. The Harvest Fair is an opportunity for students, families, and community members to meet many of the farmers who have grown and raised food for the school cafeterias.
A Farmer’s Market, where fairgoers can purchase produce, will feature a number of farms including: Archer Angus (beef), Chick Farm (organic chicken and vegetables), Fenderson Farms (fresh produce), Groundwork Farm (organic and heirloom vegetables), Pullen Manor Farms (with goats and other live animals), Santoro’s Honey, and Tibbetts Family Farm (corn, tomatoes, winter squash & pumpkins).
The Fair will also include tours of the K.E.S. vegetable garden, storytelling, a scavenger hunt, and a craft project for kids. Admission to the Fair is free.
The Harvest Fair is part of a larger event RSU 21 students will participate in during the school day. This is the 10th year that the district has participated in Maine Harvest Lunch, an event promoted by the Maine School Nutrition Association. RSU 21’s Food Services Director Ellen Demmons and her staff are busy preparing recipes for this year’s celebration. Demmons has created a full week of school lunch menus around the Maine Harvest theme—although the original goal was to develop only a single lunch menu.
Throughout the week of September 19th, school staff will be demonstrating that healthful eating can be done with locally available foods. “It is a lot of extra work,” says Demmons, “but well worth the effort.” On Monday, students will be served Sloppy Joes with Archer Angus Farm’s beef, Maine broccoli, and blueberries and cream. Menu options later in the week include Maine fish tacos with Harris Farms corn on the cob on Tuesday; and baked ziti with summer vegetables and a tossed salad made from Maine Romaine lettuce on Friday.
Although this is a special occasion, Demmons works with local Maine suppliers whenever she can. Giles Farm Apples, potato products from Penobscot McCrum, and Hood dairy products, for example, are staples in the cafeterias. In addition, Tibbetts Family Farm in Lyman collects food waste from the District’s cafeterias to help create compost for use in gardens such as those at the Nonantum Hotel in Kennebunkport.
Mary Gaucher, whose two children attend K.E.S., is working with teachers and parents to plan additional events for the Harvest Week. First graders will be harvesting vegetables from the KES garden to make their own vegetable soup, tying in with the book they are reading, “Stone Soup.”
Gaucher says, “We are excited to invite Tom Reagan, a chef from the community, to give a cooking lesson to the entire grade.”
Additional in-school activities will include a discussion with a local farmer and a “taste-test contest” of different recipes for zucchini and tomatoes to be held during lunches. Nutritious, kid-friendly recipes for the contest were researched by Kennebunk High School student Laura Broderick.
For more information, contact Jennifer Niese, 985-1656 H or 294-2961 cell,
Photo caption: John Tibbetts of Tibbetts Family Farm will be among the farmers at the Kennebunk Elementary School Harvest Fair on Thursday, September 22, from 3 to 5:30 p.m. Tibbetts provides pork for pulled pork sandwiches in the school cafeterias and collects leftover food waste to create compost. (Courtesy photo)