SENECA CO., N.Y. — Thanks to another year of a Farm to School (F2S) grant funded by NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, the Seneca County Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) Farm to School program is still going strong coming into the New Year. Seneca County schools are continuing their New York Harvest of the Month program, along with other area schools in the Wayne Finger Lakes BOCES that are fulfilling a USDA F2S grant. With the help of CCE F2S Coordinators, school Food Service Directors are sourcing local products and highlighting them on their menus throughout the month. For example, South Seneca Food Service Director Adam Snell sourced potatoes from Silver Queen Farm in Trumansburg, NY and served loaded baked potatoes for a NY Thursday menu item. F2S educators are helping schools feature a new produce item each month by providing educational materials including nutrition posters and recipe cards. Through their Facebook page and website, Seneca County CCE F2S shares nutrition information, growing and cooking tips, and recipe videos for the NY harvest pick all month long.
January brings in a New Year and a fresh NY Harvest of the Month. Although we are having considerably mild weather, the winter months in NY are typically a time when the growing season has come to a halt for the majority of crops and not much is being harvested. However, there are still many local produce items and farm products within our reach this time of year. Local potatoes are one of these items available. In fact, there are many farms in neighboring areas, like Wayne County, that are large producers of NY potatoes. Potatoes are a tuber, or the thickened end of the plant stem, that grows underground and are harvested from spring all the way through fall and store well through the winter, making them a great choice for bringing a local harvest to the table in January. The only edible part of the plant, these tubers are a significant source of vitamin C and potassium. They even have more potassium than bananas, which is important for muscle function and heart health. Vitamin C is an antioxidant vitamin that is needed for healthy skin, teeth, and blood vessels as well as for supporting the immune system and iron absorption. In addition, potatoes are an excellent source of Vitamin B6, which is needed for nutrient metabolism and cardiovascular and nervous system health. Potatoes also contain fiber and are a prebiotic that aid in a healthy digestive tract. All of which makes them a nutritious addition to any meal, from breakfast to dinner. Potatoes are quite versatile and can be prepared several ways to appeal to everyone, like roasted, baked, fried, grilled, steamed, boiled, and mashed. A couple of our favorite quick and easy F2S potato recipes are shared below. Remember to support local farms by using NY potatoes.
For more F2S recipes, videos, and other educational materials, be on the lookout for weekly updates on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/CCEsenecaF2S, including nutrition facts, recipes, learning about local agriculture, and other tips for accessing fresh, local produce. You can also visit the Seneca CCE F2S website, http://senecacountycce.org/farm-to-school, which is home to all of the Seneca County F2S program content. We wish everyone health and happiness in the new year and are excited for more F2S opportunities in the months ahead as winter gives way to spring and another exciting growing season.
Recipe: Skillet Breakfast Potatoes (Yields 4 – 6 servings)
Recipe: Potato and Root Veggie Mash (Yields 6 servings)
With over 100 years of serving the people of the County, Seneca County Cornell Cooperative Extension puts to practical use the scholarship and research of Cornell University and the national land grant system in the areas of agriculture and food systems sustainability; nutrition, food safety and security, and obesity prevention; 4-H youth development, and children, youth , and families; environment and natural resources, sustainable energy and climate change; and community and economic vitality. The office is located at 308 Main Street Shop Centre in Waterloo. For more information about this and other programs, please contact us at 315-539-9251 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
–Cornell Cooperative Extension Seneca County
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