On September 18, Jeffco (CO) Schools will serve a Colorado Proud Day lunch menu that features fresh local produce and poultry. Items will include coleslaw made from Greeley, CO-grown cabbage and carrots, sweet potato rolls from Harvest Moon Baking Co. in Denver, Rocky Ford cantaloupe and scratch-cooked fresh local chicken drumsticks. The latter, from Boulder Natural Meats, are from birds raised without antibiotics on family farms in Elizabeth and La Salle, CO.
Following its debut on Colorado Proud Day, local chicken will remain on Jeffco menus for the rest of this school year, served once a month at Jeffco elementary schools. Jeffco is now the second-largest school district in the nation to serve local, sustainably raised chicken on a regular basis, after Chicago Public Schools, the district says.
All menu items were sourced with help from local foods scout and Jeffco partner, Slow Food Denver, with support for community education from the The Pew Charitable Trusts.
“We are especially excited about our Proud menu this year,” says Jeffco’s Executive Director of Food and Nutrition Services Linda Stoll. “We’re listening to requests from parents, students and staff to provide fresh, local produce and environmentally healthy poultry.”
The purchase of chicken raised sustainably without antibiotics is a first for Jeffco and is typically a challenge for a district of its size. However, recent expansion of production by Boulder Natural Meats has made it possible, as it has opened up new supply of affordable drumsticks.
Stoll notes that training a large staff to prepare bone-in fresh poultry is a critical step in getting truly whole foods onto lunch trays. “We serve up to 35,000 students every day,” she explains. “We’re thrilled that we can source from a Colorado company that has opened its barn doors to show us how they raise birds humanely and with commitment to sound environmental practices.”