September 8, 2010 | Food for Thought, Local Sources
I spent this morning at Fairmont Elementary School cooking with classes as part of the Colorado Proud Day in the Denver Schools.For this event, DPS is promoting Colorado agriculture by purchasing Colorado squash from Millberger Farms in Pueblo, melon from L & M Farms in Rocky Ford, peaches from Palisade, grass-fed beef from Ranch Foods Direct in Colorado Springs, green chili sauce and beans processed at Ready Foods in Denver, tortillas from Mission Foods in Aurora, and milk from Sinton Dairy for the school lunch menu today.And as part of the event, chefs from across Denver participated with kids by cooking together.I’ve kind of adopted Fairmont, cooking with the student gardeners during the summer and bringing that into the classroom in the fall.So I jumped at the chance to work with the kids today. Classes came into the cafeteria and students cut vegetables with small serrated plastic knives.Then we tossed everything together with some pasta and Italian dressing the cafeteria team had prepared for us.Afterward everyone shared some of the pasta salad – the rest was put onto the new salad bar to be offered to the rest of the school. Isn’t it great to see a school so focused on good, seasonal, healthy food choices for our kids? And I’ll tell you, it was even better to see those kids eating up so many vegetables!
After the school event, I passed through the Cherry Creek Farmer’s Market, still in my chef whites. It could just be my imagination, but I get wonderful service when dressed in my chef attire. Perhaps the vendors know how much I appreciate what they have created (I brought home some great green chile that I enjoyed over some scrambled egg whites). Maybe the farmers can guess how happy I was to see a full crate of Colorado red peppers (I just roasted them off to freeze for over the winter). Maybe farmers and chefs just know it’s hard to make a living in the food world and reach out to like-minded folks (the nice guys at the chile roasting barrel gave me a free small bag of hots when I purchased 4 bags of mediums). Days like this just make me feel good. I’ve done something for the community, I connected with people who grow the food I’m eating, now I’m busy in the kitchen putting food up for the winter, and later my daughter will show up for her Wednesday cooking lesson. Life is good!