Archive for the ‘author: Amy’ Category

UNH ‘A Common Table’ December 3rd and 4th Featuring Guest Chef Evan Mallett of Black Trumpet Bistro

Monday, November 15th, 2010

 The University of New Hampshire’s Hospitality Management Advanced Food and Beverage Class will host the Gourmet Dinner: ‘A Common Table’ on Friday, December 3rd and Saturday, December 4th. The dinner will take place at Stillings, 20 Ballard Drive, Durham, NH. Hors d’oeuvres begin at 6 o’clock followed by a six course dinner at 7 o’clock.

The dinners are completely student run and serve as the capstone experience for the Advanced Food and Beverage Management course. The events have been held for over 50 years and have a strong historical presence on campus. The Gourmet Dinner is a time to slow down and get back to the table.

The students prepare the food from scratch and buy local when feasible.Area suppliers include: Beach Pea Baking Co., ciabatta rolls; Brookford Farm, green cabbage, carrots, milk, cream, eggs; Garen’s Greens at Riverside Farm, watermelon radishes, turnips; The Gelato Fiasco, local cranberry sorbet; White Gate Farm, pears; Applecrest Farm, apples; New Roots Farm, rainbow chard, chili sauce; Heron Pond Farm, scallions, onions, garlic, sweet potatoes, parsnips; Seaport Fish, haddock, Maine shrimp.


Hors d’oeuvres

BLT Crisp

House-cured Pancetta, Rainbow Chard, Tomato Chutney


Walnut Brittle, Goat Cheese, Poached Pear

Paella Stuffed Pepper

Maine Shrimp, Saffron, Peppadew Pepper

Pig On A Blanket

House-made Chorizo, Tarragon Mustard, Puff Pastry


Oregon Truffle Mac n’ Cheese

Mornay Sauce, Shaved Truffle


Shepherd’s Pie

Local Lamb Dodine, Baby Turnips


Cranberry Sorbet

Clementine, House-dried Cranberries

Main Entrée

Fish and Chips

Line-caught Haddock, Roxbury Russet Apple Slaw


Blue Cheese Wedge

Great Hill Blue Dressing, Radishes, Bacon Lardons


Handmade Donuts

Zeppole, Peppermint Fudge, Tawny Hot Chocolate

The students are excited to welcome Executive Chef Evan Mallett from Black Trumpet Bistro and his assistance with menu innovation, along with Dover Wine’s arrangement of excellent wine pairings.

Promising a memorable evening, guests are invited to recapture warm memories of times well spent. Come in from the cold and eat a warm dinner with the company of friends, old and new at ‘A Common Table.’ All leftover food products will be made into “stone” soup by the students Sunday after the dinner and will be given to Cross Roads House in Portsmouth to feed those who also deserve a warm meal.

Tickets for ‘A Common Table’ can be purchased online for $60 per person at

The UNH Department of Hospitality Management combines business fundamentals as well as classes geared toward the service industry sector. Hands-on education proves to be a strong and integral part of the experiential and academic curriculum. The department also offers the first-ever EcoGastronomy Program, which integrates UNH’s strengths in sustainable agriculture, hospitality management, and nutrition to offer a unique academic program emphasizing the interdisciplinary, international, and experiential knowledge that connects all three fields. The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state’s flagship public institution, enrolling more than 12,200 undergraduate and 2,200 graduate students.

Join UNH for a Night of Sustainable Eats

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Students of the Advanced Food and Beverage Management class from the University of New Hampshire Whittemore School of Business and Economics’ Hospitality Management Department are hosting a six-course Gourmet Dinner. Tasteful Contradictions to be held Friday, October 22 and Saturday, October 23, at Stillings, 20 Ballard Drive, Durham, NH, will begin with a cocktail hour at 6 o’clock followed by dinner at 7 o’clock. The fall dinner delves into the topic of contradictions. Guests will discover everything from contrasting colors and nontraditional beverage pairings to unconventional flavors in every dish.

“The gourmet dinner is a great opportunity for our class to bring UNH and the local community together. This experience is unlike any other in our college career and we are forced to overcome new and exciting challenges which will help us in our future,” states Allison Lowe, UNH Fall 2010 Gourmet Dinner Director of Marketing.

In keeping with a community-minded focus, ingredients from many local farms and vendors are utilized to prepare the menu. Starting with the hors d’oeuvres, Chips and Dip allows guests to experience the finest tempura batter made from New Hampshire’s premier craft brewery Smuttynose, based in Portsmouth, NH. Dipped in the tempura batter, kale and other vegetables also come from the UNH Organic Garden Club.

The delicious rub for the Espresso Rubbed Quail includes maple syrup from Sugar Momma’s Maple Farm, a family owned producer found in Northwood, NH. Maple syrup made the old fashion way, by boiling the sap of local maple trees over a wood fire until thick and sweet, is also infused into the candied beets that accompany. Sugar pumpkins are provided by Coppal House Farm, located in Lee, NH.

Dole & Bailey is providing regional sirloin for the main course through the New England Family Farms program, where they focus on purchasing sustainable meat from area farmers. They are also providing quail for the above course from Vermont.The wintered greens are from Garen Heller of Garen’s Greens for the salad course. The bacon is home cured by Amy Winans, Hospitality Mangement Lecturer with the help of Dan Winans, Director, Dual Major in EcoGastronomy. The pig, from Breezy Hill Farm in South Berwick, ME, was purchased whole to reintroduce whole animal utilization to UNH Nutritional Science and Hospitality Mangement students.

Gelato Fiasco, based out of Brunswick, ME, is providing both the intermezzo and the grande finale for the dinner. In keeping with their business’ motto: “Inspired by Italy. Perfected in Maine,” the refreshing Cucumber Lime Sorbet is being produced in small batches from scratch. A creamy Ricotta Brown Sugar ice cream pairs with the Spice Cake for dessert, using the best ingredients of Maine milk and natural sugar cane.

Milk, cream, eggs and yogurt used throughout the menu are provided by Brookford Farm. The farm is a certified organic farm practicing sustainable agriculture in Rollingsford, NH. Organic farming is more than just a standard – it’s also a philosophy of working with the land.

Tasteful Contradictions Menu

Cocktail Hour

Figs and Creamy Goat Cheese
Balsamic, Fleur de Sel

Chips and Dip
Romanesco, Baby Carrot, Wax Bean, Kale

Watermelon and Pumpernickel Cube
Red, Yellow, Preserved Rind

Pickled Quail Egg
Beet, Yellow Curry


Chilled Red Pepper Soup
Mint Oil, Crème Fraiche

Espresso Rubbed Quail
Pumpkin, Beet, Nasturtium

Cucumber Lime Sorbet
Lavender Shortbread

Local Beef Sirloin
Celeriac, Gruyere, Yellow Tomatoes

Wintered Greens
Warm Cider Vinegar, Bacon, Flowering Herbs

Spice Cake
Ricotta Brown Sugar Ice Cream, Pomegranate Syrup

A tremendous amount of thought and creativity went into planning a menu that will surprise and entertain your palate. Please enjoy and remember… it’s the difference that’s delicious!

Tickets for ‘Tasteful Contradictions’ are $60 per person and can be purchased online at

The UNH Department of Hospitality Management combines business fundamentals as well as classes geared toward the service industry sector. Hands-on education proves to be a strong and integral part of the experiential and academic curriculum. The department also offers the first-ever EcoGastronomy Program, which integrates UNH’s strengths in sustainable agriculture, hospitality management, and nutrition to offer a unique academic program emphasizing the interdisciplinary, international, and experiential knowledge that connects all three fields.

The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state’s flagship public institution, enrolling more than 12,200 undergraduate and 2,200 graduate students.

Apple Sauce For All At Dover Public Schools

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Last Saturday, October 2, a dozen local volunteers gathered to celebrate Dover’s annual Apple Harvest Day in a unique way–making apple sauce to ensure the city’s students could enjoy this favorite fall treat. Volunteers from the Dover foodservice team, Slow Food UNH, and UNH’s EcoGastronomy program peeled, sliced, and cooked their way through nine bushels of apples donated by local orchards and retailers, yielding upwards of 25 gallons of apple sauce. While some volunteers were seasoned apple sauce makers, others were learning for the first time how to preserve and enjoy their surplus produce, making it a beneficial project for the volunteers as well as the students. The apple sauce in question will be available to students across the Dover school district as part of the district’s school lunch program in the coming weeks. This project, which was organized with the help of EcoGastronomy and the Dover foodservice team, is the first in a series of projects aimed at increasing the amount and variety of fresh foods available to students and we hope to see these projects blossom and expand in the coming months.Thank you as well to our area apple donors: Saunders Produce, Applecrest Farm, Butternut Farm, and Philbrick’s Fresh Market who purchased two varieties of apples from a local farm for the children.

Get Your Hands Sticky for Dover Public School Children

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

This Saturday, October 2, join the Dover school food service team as we cook up a giant batch of homemade applesauce for our students’ lunches in celebration of Dover’s Apple Harvest Day. We’ll be using apples donated by area farms and retailers to cook up a favorite fall treat that will be served to students across the district, incorporating fresh, local produce into our school lunches. Students, alumni, and community members are invited to help as we peel, core, and cook our way through cases of fresh apples. Join us starting at 9:00am in the Dover High School cafeteria and check out all the Alumni Homecoming events taking place at the school. For more information, or if you would like to donate apples to this event, please contact Matt Benham at (603) 455-3303 or We look forward to seeing you there!

Calling all area farmers: we’re seeking products for upcoming UNH Gourmet Dinner!

Saturday, February 6th, 2010

The menu is posted on the website . If you have local food available at medium-to large quantity, please contact Amy Winans at amy.winans@unh.eduFor everyone else, join us!-do you dare? 

Enjoy Some Sinful Indulgence at the UNH Gourmet Dinner March 5 and 6 

DURHAM, N.H. – The University of New Hampshire will serve up seven courses of sinful indulgence at two gourmet dinners in March.   Organized by the hospitality management students at the Whittemore School of Business and Economics, “Sinful Indulgence” gourmet dinners will be held Friday, March 5, and Saturday, March 6, 2010, at Stillings, 20 Ballard Drive, Durham, NH, beginning with a cocktail hour and hors d’oeuvres at 6 o’clock and dinner to follow.
The concept of the dinner revolves around the Seven Cardinal Sins. Each course will include locally produced foods and represent each of the sins. The menu will be paired with elegant décor that will transform Stillings into an atmosphere where guests will experience the seven indulgences representing greed, lust, wrath, gluttony, pride, sloth, and envy.
“This event challenges the students of UNH’s Advanced Food and Beverage Operations Management class to design, organize, and direct two gourmet dinners for approximately 200 guests per night. The event prepares students for what to expect in the world of hospitality management beyond the college classroom, and it provides hands-on management experience from the beginning to end of formal event planning,” said Bridget McCartney, marketing manager for Sinful Indulgence. 
Students have six weeks to plan and execute the dinner, and take on real-world executive management positions in the process, including general manager, chief financial officer, front of the house manager, executive chef, human resource director, and director of marketing.  

Tickets for Sinful Indulgence are $50 per person and may be purchased online at  

The UNH Department of Hospitality Management combines business fundamentals as well as classes geared toward the service industry sector. Hands-on education proves to be a strong and integral part of the experiential and academic curriculum. The department also offers the first-ever EcoGastronomy Program, which integrates UNH’s strengths in sustainable agriculture, hospitality management, and nutrition to offer a unique academic program emphasizing the interdisciplinary, international, and experiential knowledge that connects all three fields.  

The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state’s flagship public institution, enrolling more than 12,200 undergraduate and 2,200 graduate students. 


Dover Wellness Committee Tackles Tough Decisions

Monday, April 6th, 2009

So many questions were posed at the latest meeting. How best to calculate nutritional information for diabetic students? Does it make sense to raise the cost of school lunch to provide healthy, sustainable options? Where are the parents?This write-up is by Ashley Blake, UNH Nutritional Science graduate and volunteer.

The morning welcomed an eager and enthusiastic group in Dover for the bi-monthly Dover School District Dining Facilities Council meeting. The group met at 9:00 am on Thursday, March 26, 2009 at Horne Street Elementary School. 

Old matters were first on the agenda, starting with discussion around the Guiding Stars program. Concerns were expressed about cost of the program. The annual licensing fee is at about $1,000 per year per school. Mark Covell, School Lunch Program Director, pointed out that the cost of the program would be approximately a nickel increase per hot lunch in order to cover $1,000 per school. Mark would like to raise the cost of hot lunch by $.15 to cover improvements to the current system. When speaking in terms of cost efficiency, this program is well worth the money.  Efforts to apply for grants is still encouraged and appreciated. The ability to receive funds necessary is feasible. 

Questions were also raised about the desire for this program if Dover was already in accordance with national dietary guidelines. However, Dover has just begun the long process of reviewing food labels and progressing towards all that the program has to offer. In regards to how the star labels would be presented to the kids, determination of this has not yet been established. Though, the star labels may be displayed on the serving line.

Will there be a gap in education with the star ratings? This was a valid question brought to the group’s attention. Do the kids really know why they would be choosing a 3-star food over a 1-star food? The education component of the Guiding Stars program cannot be dropped. The schools must continue to educate their students on healthy eating and lifestyle choices. Guiding Stars also provides education as a part of the contract. Dover has also agreed that it will not serve foods without any star ratings. 

As far as parental response, it is difficult to predict. Will parents respond in a positive way to healthier meals for their children? The numbers of meals served cannot be predicted until the changes are made and undergo a trial period. Parents must also receive education regarding the meals being served in the schools, as consistency is important. 

Next, Amy Winans shared about the experience with her UNH Field Experience students in the taste-testing that occurred on March 12, 2009 at the Woodman Park Elementary School. She shared that the feedback from students, teachers, and the kitchen staff was all-around positive. Some attendees at the meeting hope to participate at the two taste-testings that will take place at Horne Street and Garrison Elementary in May.

In regards to micro grants or stimulus grant funds available for school lunch programs, the government passed a $100 million grant for food service equipment, which will be presented in micro grants. Mark hopes to qualify in some way.  However, the guidelines include that there must be 50% of students receiving free and reduced lunches. Out of 500 schools in New Hampshire only around 30 have this program. Dover has one school on the edge of being eligible. Mark put in for a grant for extra allocation for fruits and vegetables for snacks. This is separate from the afterschool snack program, which has so many restrictions. The snacks provided for afterschool cannot be eaten or served until after school hours. 

Concerns with middle schoolers’ snacking habits was brought to the group’s attention. Because the middle school age is a transition age for many adolescents, they are caught between independent and dependent. A lot of parents struggle with this transition and expect (rightfully so!) a certain level of responsibility for their children. As a result, many students forget their snacks and find themselves hungry during snack time. Although there is currently no money in the budget to help with snacks at the middle school level, coming up with grant money for snacks, educating parents, along with letters home to parents are reasonable interventions for this issue.

After old business was discussed, I, a UNH nutritional sciences graduate, gave a presentation on my findings with the nutrition labels of all of the foods served throughout the district. I flagged foods containing trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, and indicated opportunities to incorporate more whole grains. I also expressed concern with high sodium content in some meats and canned vegetables.  The presentation was well-received and the next step is replacing the flagged foods with alternatives!

The district will be testing Yo Zone healthy vending in the high school. These vending machines contain organic and natural snacks, which are more expensive than the run of the mill candy bars. The current machines will be eliminated if the Yo Zone vending machines attract students. The big question is: will the students pay more? 

The next Dining Facilities Council meeting will be held on May 21 at Garrison Elementary.

Dover Kids Go For Quesadillas

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

 So… we are finally cookin’ in Dover! The piece below is written by Ashley Blake, UNH Nutritional Sciences grad and fellow volunteer with our Dover school food project.

UNH Nutritional Sciences Field Experience students prepared quesadillas for Woodman Park Elementary School students in Dover on Thursday, March 12.  The group of interns, supervised by UNH lecturer and Dover parent, Amy Winans, made the whole wheat tortilla quesadillas with black beans, broccoli (sneaky!), garlic and white cheddar cheese in an effort to revamp the menu and make strides towards healthier eating.   

In a yearlong effort to change school meals and vending items in the Dover schools, the three UNH Field Experience students, Dana Poist, Kimberly Povec, and Ashli Franck planned the quesadilla taste testing, which was served with locally made salsa, donated by Blue Mermaid restaurant in Portsmouth.   

“This first taste testing session has given us a lot of hope and I think it is feasible to start getting more nutrient dense foods into the schools,” reflected Dana.   “It is difficult to find fresh local produce during the winter months in New England, due to the harsh winters. We hope that for the tastings this spring, farmers will be able to donate some fresh spring vegetables,” stated Ashli after her efforts to incorporate local foods in the tasting.  

The Field Experience students have not only tried to allow healthier choices in Dover schools, but have also tried to embrace the concept of sustainability. “The ladies that were working with us could not have been nicer and were more than willing to help us in anyway,” commented Dana 

Lynne Chavez, Woodman Park Elementary Kitchen Manager, and her staff Jean Rae Richard and Christine Marston, were excited to have the UNH group in the kitchen and found the project motivating. Lynne plans to find ways to cook more food from scratch.  She hopes to purchase some ingredients at the Dover Farmer’s Market during the spring and fall seasons

Student social interaction is encouraged during the short lunch period and large round tables facilitate student chit chat. Eyeing the room, it took one brave student to take the first bite and claim the quesadilla’s tastiness in order for others to go for it.  

“It was fun to be able to expose the kids to food they might not have tried before and give them something nutritious that still tasted good,” said Kimberly.  The near 300 Dover elementary students, although apprehensive at first, tried the quesadillas and the positive feedback from students proved the event a success! 

The elementary school taste-testings will determine if quesadillas will be served at all grade levels and incorporated into district menus. The Field Experience students will host two more taste-tastings on May 12 at Horne Street Elementary School and May 13 at Garrison Elementary. 

Stars to Shine in Dover School Cafes

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

An excellent meeting all around, Jim McBride, Director of Information and Systems, and Misty Smalley, Client Services Manager of Guiding Stars, a nutrition navigation system, gave an hour long presentation and question answer session for the council. By the end, all members were seemingly onboard with trying to incorporate Guiding Stars or some form of it into Dover school cafeterias.

The council met on January 22, 2009 at Dover high school.  Before this gathering, it was thought that the UNH dietetic interns would recalculate the nutritional information for all menu items and then create a labeling system to help Dover school students choose healthful or not so healthful, foods from the offered selection. Moving forward, the council has decided to have the interns take digital photos (entire food label and packaging information) of all products served, categorize items (combine labels that create a menu item, name the item and mark serving size)and then house this organized information for future use when collaborating with Guiding Stars. Since the meeting, the interns have taken hundreds of photos and are in the process of organizing the data.

Guiding Stars uses evidence based algorithms to formulate food debits like trans fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium and sugars and credits vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and whole grains. The system rates foods either no rating, one star (good), two (better), or three stars (best) according to the nutritional density of the food.  The representatives shared that the system is not a weight loss program, but a fair and consistent way of looking at overall nutrition. For example, walnuts are high in calories, but the calories come from a nutrient dense food that provides good fat, vitamins and fiber. Guiding Stars is a subsidiary of Hannaford, but they are branded separately, the grocery chain brand would not accompany printed material placed in the schools. For more information on Guiding Stars, check out the Web site

Immediate action, all food products containing peanut butter were removed from district food service thanks to the national peanut butter recall. A Blakely, Ga., plant, owned by Peanut Corp. of America, violated health inspection violations and released peanut paste tainted with salmonella. The district worked under the direction of the State of New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services Division of Public Health Services.

Old news, the committee continues to look into grant options and has applied for one as of this meeting, and the subcommittee continues to seek funds for health and wellness-based projects.  More information and links to healthy resources are being posted on the district Web site. The high school Eco Club continues to investigate alternative options to Styrofoam usage.  And UNH interns will be meeting with high school student council representatives in the next month to discuss school food menu options. The interns have selected numerous interesting and doable recipes from Fresh from the Farm: The Massachusetts Farm to School Cookbook Chosen and approved recipes will be incorporated into the menu end of 2009 school year.

The Dining Facilities Council (wellness committee) will meet again Thursday, March 26, 2009 at 9:00am at Horne Street Elementary School cafeteria.  We await patiently for a thaw, and by the next meeting hope to have some colorful and tasty produce on display in Woodman Park Elementary for the farmers market table and tasting, Garrison and Horne street to follow. A shout out—are there any Seacoast farmers willing to set-up a mini table and answer elementary students’ questions or donate produce? If so, please send an email to  Any collaboration is much appreciated.

In the news:

Obama’s New Chef Skewers School Lunches

By Tara Parker-Pope

January 29, 2009

Washington, DC based non-profit organization Food & Water Watch is launching a campaign to get rBGH-free (artificial hormone free) and organic milk into the National School Lunch Program.

For more information on this campaign you can go to:

Hands In the Air School Food Junkies

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

Enthusiasm runs deep with this crew and so does angst. The aggression is thankfully not pitted at each other but at bad food; the lame floppy objects labeled pizza, chicken patty or otherwise served on Styrofoam trays in school cafeterias.  That’s how the Dover Dining Facilities Council accomplishes tasks. Members get fired up sans fists, and seek change.

The latest meeting took place November 20, 2008 at Dover middle school.  There is much to report, so I’ll keep the commentary thin.

Old biz revisited:

  • Menus are now disclosed on the district Web site in Word format.  Food information is available to the public—there is nothing to hide.
  • Parents do not want to see marshmallows or Jell-O on the district list of “recommended food items.” Parents, if you bring food to a school event, make it worth the calories. Rule of thumb, if your food choice isn’t healthful, this is not the best platform.
  • Taste testing is moving along. Mark Covell, food service director, passed a spreadsheet listing items tried at the various schools. Items that were a hit: ham and cheese wrap with lettuce and tomato; baked macaroni and cheese with ham; fresh cucumber and zucchini sticks; homemade enchiladas; open face tuna melt; fresh plums, bananas, peaches and pears. Slated for taste testing: Italian-style chicken—as Mark calls it—breast strips, lightly breaded with whole wheat flour and seasoned with Italian herbs.  Chicken nuggets might be booted if kids go commando for Italian-style chicken.
  • Styrofoam situation is under consideration. Mark is working with high school students to figure out the best scenario for the district (cost) and planet (waste). Novel, get the students involved.  A Styrofoam tray recycler was mentioned.

New Biz:

  • Big idea for a council or board: break it up into subcommittees to get tasks done. Laurie Verville, district business manager and head of the Dining Facilities Council, strongly encouraged members to create subcommittees. Technically, the group has already formed several subcommittees: grant writing and research, UNH dietetic intern program, UNH nursing intern program, healthy snack/newsletter writing, communications, Styrofoam research, and farm to school.
  • Over achievers? Maybe, but they can handle it. UNH dietetic interns, Dana Poist and Kimberly Povec presented their plan for Spring semester 2009: introduce one new nutrient dense recipe that can be used in all schools; incorporate more whole grains in current recipes by helping Mark purchase products that contain whole grains; add an increased number of fresh fruits and veggies and get them in front of the students (i.e. not old apples in a bowl behind the counter); make a muffin mix from scratch and incorporate whole grains; use dietetic software to calculate nutritional information for recipes and “flag” foods that contain trans fats in an effort to eliminate said items from the menu; Elementary schools: conduct cooking demos and a tasting in each cafe focusing on fresh local ingredients, think farm to school; also have a fresh fruit and veggie “this is what it looks like table”… like a mini farmers market, with fruits and veggies whole and cut ready for tasting; Middle/High school: conduct focus groups to establish how best to market healthful foods/farm to table ideology to the students. Create posters to hang in the cafes and create a labeling system, nutrition info cards to be placed next to each dish in the cafes. Note: Ashli Franck, third UNH dietetic intern could not make this meeting.
  • Parent Amy Middleton gave a brief presentation on grant subcommittee status. The team is creating a spreadsheet of district wants and needs with goals, objectives and projected dollar amounts assigned to each.  Next step is to research grants and apply for grant money. An example, enroll all kitchen staff in a professional development nutrition certificate program like that offered through the School Nutrition Association
  • Melissa Snow, parent, Registered and Licensed Dietitian, and healthy snack subcommittee member presented a one-sheet listing healthy snack suggestions and best practices for pairing food items for optimum nutrition… match a protein packed food with a whole grain carb and fresh fruit or veggie. If interested in eyeing the doc, leave a comment at the end of the blog with an email address. An exceptional bit to share—ZERO brand names are listed!

Round table:

  • YMCA afterschool program continues to serve unhealthy snacks. Technically the program is on school grounds; therefore they need to clean up their act.
  • School nurses need an accurate breakdown of all items served each day. This will help eliminate issues with incorrect amounts of insulin given to diabetic students.
  • Prices for snack items need to be listed on rack of snacks.
  • Two middle school student council members joined the meeting. They attest that they and friends seek healthier food options. They like the UNH dietetic intern idea of creating a basic labeling system for menu items.
  • Parents want to know more than just fat, calorie, sugar, carb content of menu items. Some are curious to see full ingredient lists. Why? Sneaky preservatives and scary additives. And what about GMOs, antibiotics and growth hormones?
  • FREE live Webcast from Action for Healthy Kids Call to Leadership: Elevating School Wellness to a Higher Level, December 8, 2008 from 3-4:30pm EST.
  • UNH nursing interns created an art competition for Dover middle school students “Fruit and Veggies Matter: A Rainbow of Colors”. A grand prize of an iPod Nano was awarded to the winning artist. First, second and third place winners were chosen from each grade level. All artwork is displayed in the school.

Next council meeting January 22, 2009—next year! The holidays are upon us, a wonderful time to scale back, slow down, love and teach our children. For an inspiring jolt into sustainable living check out—they and you too can make Santa proud. 

School Food Is Way Ahead of Wall Street

Saturday, October 4th, 2008

Back to school, already. As an adult, it is hard to remember day one jitters, that giddy feeling kids get as they step foot on school grounds in their new skirts and jeans. How nice to have a fresh start each year.

This September is different.  Monday, September 29, the Dow dropped over 700 points, the largest one day dollar drop in history. With the economy wavering, how does one clamor back and focus? Dover Public School food must get better—luckily reform is already in progress.

Mark Covell, food service director is up to his earring in financial woes. The main dishwasher is threatening to retire (a mere $40,000 replacement cost); the district food delivery truck went in for repairs; the Point of Sales (POS) system is going on 10 years; and the obvious, food prices are higher than they’ve ever been. Besides monetary setbacks, kids are picky eaters and dining services must sell food to make money, to keep it all in motion.

The first Dining Facility Council meeting of the year took place September 25. After a quick open discussion of the June 11 meeting minutes, the group tackled the slated six most important recommendations of the 17 that will be given to the School Board on October 6. Here’s the meat of what was discussed in the order of the agenda:

1. Provide parents with a list of healthy snack options posted on the district Website. Mark is assigned this task and will get it done.

2. Menus on Edline (the district-wide computer program for parents, students and staff to stay abreast of the latest) are not readable, the font is too small. Menus are run in Foster’s Daily Democrat, but without nutritional information. Mark will contact district IT staff to figure out the kink. In the meantime he will post menus in Word or Adobe. Mark is also looking to purchase a menu builder that will calculate nutritional values to meet upcoming state and federal guidelines. He is researching federal recommendations for the purchase.

3. A taste testing schedule for all schools will be devised.  This is in the works for elementary, middle and high school with food items suitable for the age group. Tasting is already in progress. Local plums, peaches and nectarines, while in season, made it into the schools. Guess what?—they were gobbled up. Hooray for Mark, he purchased local fruit.

4. School newsletters to be used as a communiqué.  Hand in the air; I volunteered to write material for Mark in an effort to keep parents in the loop about school food and proper nutrition. Farm to school is also an area that parents need to hear more about.

5. Visual displays will be posted in common areas in all schools to promote healthy eating and exercise habits. Mark has the posters but not frames. Readers: if you have large (poster size) frames in good condition, a donation would be much appreciated.

6. Public Information forums are one of the many ways to reach parents and encourage better eating and exercise habits at home. What happens at home is a strong indicator of how children will perceive and accept food and exercise at school. Parents also need to acknowledge the importance of purchasing locally grown foods. Dover schools are part of the UNH Farm to School program. It was thought that Apple Harvest Day might be a good place for UNH Office of Sustainability to educate parents. This year, was too late in planning a booth, but printed information will be available.  

Another important item on the agenda but not part of the dining facilities annual report was the Produce for Kids (PFK) mini- grant, a PBS Kids partner for school-based healthy eating. School representatives at the meeting were encouraged to ask health teachers to participate. Further information about the classroom contest and deadline can be found at

One last bit, Styrofoam trays are used in some cafeterias because the dishwashers are not utilized, again due to monetary reasons—cost of water, detergent, and staff. Mark shared that back in the day when he started his career at Dover, the students helped wash trays at the end of lunch. This is not the case anymore thanks to liability issues. Mark was encouraged to look into who is stating the liability; local or state regulations. In schools around the nation, kids are in the kitchen cooking—using knives, and pots and pans on hot burners. Let’s think outside of the lunch box. Laurie thoughtfully stated that $45,000 is spent in garbage removal. At a glance, the cost of using reusable trays or compostable paper could offset garbage. Mark needs to run the numbers and share with the council.

The next meeting is set for November 20 at 9:00am at Dover Middle School in the café.  Progress is made at every meeting. It’s inspiring to see change happening at a local level, despite bleak times. I encourage parents and the public to get involved.


A question for blog readers… what do you think is fair, fun, and healthful (even sustainable) for Parent Teacher Organizations (PTO) to sell as school fundraisers? Some ideas to get the cogs turning: pencils, stickers, crayons, homemade jewelry, school supplies, knitted socks, raw veggie sticks or slices, fresh fruit, work certificates for yard work like raking leaves, etc.

Let us know if you have innovative ideas to share with school PTOs!


Reading assignment—from The New York Times:

Local Carrots with a Side of Red Tape

6 Food Mistakes Parents Make


A grant to consider if it fits district goals:

Healthy Sprouts Awards

The National Gardening Association administers the Healthy Sprouts Awards, sponsored by Gardener’s Supply Company. These awards support school and youth garden programs that teach about nutrition and the issue of hunger in the United States. To be eligible for the 2008 Healthy Sprouts Awards, your school or organization must plan to garden in 2009 with at least 15 children between the ages of 3 and 18. The selection of winners is based on the demonstrated relationship between the garden program and nutrition and hunger issues in the United States. Winning programs receive seeds, curriculum, and gift certificates for purchase of gardening materials. Due date: October 15, 2008. For more info, see: