Update from Food Services and Wellness: September 2019

The Good Food Project, new menu, the story of the two-ton tomato sauce and more!

Greetings from Chef Patrick Durgan

Welcome back to our school cafeterias!  I hope you are as excited about our new menu as we are here in the food services program. We are happy to share that approximately half the food we are serving in a menu cycle now is more than 50% scratch-made right here in the Central Kitchen, utilizing our new equipment.

This summer we landed on a new brand for our food services program. The Good Food Project is now how we will describe our multi-faceted work to improve our school food and cafeterias. (See video below.) We have also created a new look and icons for the new menu. These icons will show whether a lunch is scratch-made, has a vegetarian option, includes whole grains, or is made with ingredients from community partners such as local farms or vendors.

Your participation in the food program is key to its success. Thank you in advance for trying out the new offerings in cafeterias this school year. Your feedback is important to us.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me by return email.

Patrick Durgan
Executive Chef


Good Food Project to highlight community partners!

With the opening of the new Central Kitchen earlier this year, the Good Food Promise has expanded into the Good Food Project, bringing healthy food into our cafeterias and schools every day. Our school lunch menus will now include many more scratch-made entrée items sourced from many local farms and vendors. We are pleased to highlight some local farms and vendors right from the start this year: Lummi Island Wild, Sage and Sky, Edaleen, Hempler, Jack Mountain, Bluebird Grain, Cairnspring Mills, Avenue Bread and Cauldron Broths.

Mark your family calendars for Oct. 2 when we will be offering salmon cakes sourced from Lummi Island Wild, and farro pilaf sourced from Bluebird Grain in all school cafeterias. This entree coincides with Taste Washington Day. A vegetarian option of chickpea curry with organic coconut milk over brown rice will be the second option at middle and high schools.


How the two-ton tomato sauce got its name
Have you been wondering how the two-ton tomato sauce on the new menu got its name? Well here’s your answer. Read the online story here…The first batch of two-ton tomato sauce includes tomatoes from the following local farms:  Sage & Sky – 1000 lbs., Cloud Mountain Farm Center –  500 lbs., Joe’s Garden – 220 lbs. and Crows Farm – 150 lbs.

A few housekeeping items: online menus, lunch prices, online payments, food account balance notifications, and free and reduced applications

School menus online: Our school menus can always be found online.

Cost of lunch: There is a slight increase of .25 cents for full-price lunch at all levels. Elementary lunch is now $3, middle/high school lunch is now $3.25, and adult lunch is $4.25.

Pay for meals in the cafeteria or online:  Families can pay for school meals with cash or check in their school lunchrooms. Another easy way to add money to a food account is by making payments through the online system called MyPaymentsPlus. If a food account balance is low, it will only take a few minutes to add money using a credit/debit card or a checking account at any time of the day from anywhere. Payments will post within one-hour to the student’s food account. Families will be charged a fee of $1.95 per transaction for making an online payment. First time registering? Visit our food wervices online payments webpage for step-by-step instructions. Be sure to have your student’s ID number ready. This is the “Other ID” found on the Student Info page in Skyward Family Access.

Food balance notifications: Throughout the school year, we regularly notify families about low or negative balances in student food services accounts. These notifications will begin on Wednesday, Sept. 11.  You can manage your notification preferences from the Skylert link in Skyward Family Access. Thank you for keeping on top of your balance and supporting our food services program. If you qualify, please take a moment to sign up for free and reduced price meals.

Free and reduced price meals: Families need to reapply every school year for free and reduced price meals. Applications are available at the back of the Family Handbook and Calendar mailed to you last month or in your school office.  They are also available online. At the beginning of each school year, free and reduced price meal status rolls over for a few weeks. This grace period ends on Thursday, Oct. 10.  Families can apply or re-apply at any time throughout the year.

For questions related to food payments and accounting, please email chelsea.jackson@bellinghamschools.org or call 360-676-6572.

@BPSCentralKitchen now on social media

Food services posts on Instagram and Facebook from the new Central Kitchen, telling the wonderful stories of change. Follow us today and you will see food preparation in progress, specialty salads being delivered to schools, and highlights of the program.

#goodfoodpromise #goodfoodproject  #realfoodmadewithlove   #cookingfromscratch   #adventurebite