Fresh and local is the new trend at the cafeteria in Dolores schools.
Dolores School District Food Service Director Chuck Soukup told school board members recently that his new focus is fresh, local and handmade.
By January next year, I will only order raw meats and fresh veggies. Im going to stay away from processed meats. Its unnecessary, Soukup said.
Soukup has recently returned from a culinary boot camp sponsored by Live Well Colorado. The boot camp was a one-week intense training on cooking from scratch.
Part of the training was watching the documentary Food Inc. Soukup said the movie was a real eye opener.
Chicken nuggets, he said, wont likely be served after January at Dolores schools.
They are just pink foam, he said of the process to make the processed food. From now on, our students chicken nugget will be a chicken leg.
Buying raw products, such as chicken legs instead of chicken nuggets, for example, will also save the school district money, Soukup said.
Soukup also said he is going to use local whenever possible. For starters, Soukup goes to the gardens out in front of the elementary school. So far, they have produced lettuce, kale and potatoes Soukup has used in the cafeteria.
But the small gardens in front of the school, which got their start this year, still arent productive enough to supply the cafeteria.
So Soukup has turned to local farmers to fill the gap, turning to Four Seasons Greenhouse for their greens and micro greens and a local apple farmer, Rick Goodall, who also works at the Dolores Schools.
I do enjoy the kids trying new things, Soukup said. Its all part of the learning process. Exposure to it will hopefully lead them to wanting to see it again. Keep watching the menus. They are going to change.
School Board Member Linnea Vass said she is looking forward to the upcoming changes.
This is exciting, she said.
Dolores Elementary School Principal Sherri Maxwell said she is going to work with elementary students to begin composting as well and hopes that the gardens will expand.
Maxwell said the gardens have allowed the school to have tasting days, in which students can try what they grow. Students like it, she reported, and she has noticed a few changes even at home.
I noticed at some of the class parties, there wasnt near as much junk food, she said.
In the future, another food service employee will attend the same boot camp.
Soukup said the camp has made his job exciting again at school and is eager to take up the fresh and from scratch challenge.