Beaufort County Schools go "farmer's market" on lunch

Farms within 30 miles of Beaufort County get first preference

BEAUFORT COUNTY - Beaufort County Schools have been featuring fixed from scratch breakfasts and lunches for over five years. But starting this year, school chefs will start serving up locally grown crops.

"We spend over $100,000 in fresh produce, so it would be nice to keep some of that funding right here in Beaufort County and other local areas around us," said Gwyn Roberson-McBride, Child Nutrition Director for Beaufort County Schools.

The USDA selected Beaufort County Schools out of hundreds of candidates across the nation to win a grant. The grant is for $98,526 and will go towards employing school staff during the summer to collect and flash-freeze crops that are being harvested.

"Cooking farm-raised, the potatoes are a lot firmer, they are a lot sweeter.  We don't have to add the sugar ingredients to them as much." said Darnnell Ross, Child Nutrition Manager and Chef at John C. Tayloe Elementary in Washington.

Some of the crops that will be used at the schools will come from farmers like Ben Dabis, owner of Leggett Farm Organics, which is just down the road from Tayloe Elementary in Washington.

"We grow a lot of 'heirloom crops,' those are crops that your great-grandmother would have grown, that taste really good. And on top of that, we are growing organically, no pesticides." said Dabis.

Money from the grant will also be used to teach children about farming through activities like field trips and growing class gardens.

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