Each year, The Seminole County School System sends a portion of its allotted USDA food money to DOD Produce, which allows it to purchase from a list of fresh produce items weekly. Due to the closure of school caused by the devastation of Hurricane Michael last Fall, the school system had an extra $5,000 in its produce fund at the end of May. Each year if a school system does not use all the allotted funding, the surplus is deducted from the system’s allotment the following year. So, Ivey Mclendon, School Nutrition Director and Teri Daniels, School Nutrition Supervisor decided that was not going to happen and used the money to purchase fresh produce to be used in the upcoming school year.
Seminole County Schools Superintendent Brinson Register approved the purchase of a vacuum sealer and Ivey and her team went to work. “We have put up 520 pounds of yellow squash, 465 pounds of zucchini, 1367 ears of sweet corn, 265 pounds of fresh green beans, 240 pounds of baby carrots, 450 pounds of strawberries, and 340 pounds of blueberries. Each item except for the strawberries and blueberries had to be blanched and ice bathed before vacuum sealing,” commented Ivey.
The school system plans on serving these items to its students in the upcoming school year as vegetables of the day for the first few months of school. It is estimated the quantity will last for three months.