Taste Washington Day originated as a Washington School Nutrition Association program in celebration of the diversity and abundance of Washington's harvest season, and to share this with school children and school communities across the state. The WSDA Farm to School Program and the Washington School Nutrition Association (WSNA) first partnered together to develop seasonal menus featuring Washington-grown food and to bring together farms and schools for Taste Washington Day 2010.
Since that first Taste Washington Day in 2010, the WSDA Farm to School Program has helped school buyers source Washington produce, develop purchasing relationships with farms, and request Washington-grown produce from distributors. We have also helped schools add educational activities to the day, from hanging posters in the cafeteria and inviting a farmer to lunch to visiting a farm, farmers market or school garden. Follow-up surveys from the event indicate that $17,000 were spent on Washington grown products for that day’s lunch, and schools anticipated spending approximately $90,000 on Washington products in the following six months. Individual farms reported sales as high as $8,250 on the single day.
La Conner School District put together this delicious meal on Taste Washington Day:
- Locally grown russet baked potatoes and ham julienne
- Cheese sauce made with cheese from Golden Glen Creamery
- Green onions, broccoli florets, and other produce from Hedlin Farms and Swanson Brothers Farm
- Jonagold apples from Gordon Skagit Farm
- Chocolate cake with raspberry butter cream, using raspberries from Swanson Brothers
At Wahluke School District in central Washington, Fresh Food in Schools partner Joan Qazi helped to bring Cloudview Ecofarm to Mattawa Elementary, where farmers conducted a tasting of their sweet heirloom and cherry tomatoes while talking to students about farming.
Taste Washington Day 2017 Highlights
- South Whidbey School District served Washington apples, and carrots, salad greens, cucumber, and tomato salad from the S. Whidbey School Farms, who hosted a farm fresh tasting in the cafeteria on Oct. 12
- Issaquah School District’s lunch featuring Smith Brothers Dairy milk and Carpinito Bros. celery produced in Kent, and treefruit from Pride Packing in Wapato.
- Riverview School District’s local lunch with red and gold beets, radishes, sweet peppers, and cheese from farmers in the Snoqualmie Valley Farmers Co-operative
- Boldly Grown Farm harvested purple potatoes for Concrete School District’s local lunch
- The Washington grown salad bar Mercer Island School District
- Superintendent Duran visited Bellevue School District for a local lunch
- Methow Valley School District’s amazing BBQ with potato salad, squash quesadillas and roasted beets from Classroom in Bloom, Bluebird Grains and other local farms
- WSU Food Sense Spokane County Extension prepared and tasted local corn at Spokane Public Schools
- Orcas Island School District Farm to Cafeteria Program served Shepherd's pie, applesauce, whole wheat rolls, kale salad, a local salad bar, pears and apples from Taproot Farm, Morning Star Farm, Black Dog Farm, and Coffelts Farm
- Walla Walla Public Schools shucked corn donated by a local farmer and served fruit from R&R Produce
- Concrete School District and Concrete Farm to School served Washington grown chicken, apples, fennel, carrots, and purple potatoes
- Grandview School District teachers submitted even more great photos of their Washington Apple Crunch
- Monroe School District’s baked Washington potatoes, local plums and pears, and carrots from Oxbow Farm & Conservation Center
- Local Roots Farm’s visit to Stillwater Elementary School for a tasting of raw kale, radishes, broccoli, and beets
- Cedarcrest FFA sampled local produce at schools in Riverview School District
- Coupeville School District and Coupeville Farm to School did a tasting table with produce from their gardens
- WSU Skagit County Extension highlighted local wheat and sampled local bread at an elementary school
- Wenatchee School District had a visit from Sue at Yaksum Canyon Truck Farm, and served produce from McManus Family Fruit, Smithson Ranch, Magaña Farm, and beef from Gebber’s Ranch.
- George from Gifts of the Planet Farm visited La Center School District for their Apple Harvest of the Month
- Washington State FFA Association supported Colton School District’s Washington Apple Crunch
- The Debbie Leraas Children's Center in Edmonds had a farmer visit from 21 Acres
- WSU King County Food Sen$e visited Highline Public Schools local lunch with Washington grown carrots and what rosemary rolls
Taste Washington Day 2016 Highlights
- Methow Valley Elementary’s lunch tray with BBQ beef, potatoes, cucumbers, onions, and greens from their own Classroom in Bloom school garden, Red Shed Farm in Twisp, Craig Tomlinson, and a homemade bun from Bluebird Grains.
- Mead School District featured pluots, peppers, and green garbanzos from LINC Foods/Jackson Farms, Tabbers Farm, Delap Orchards, and Fresh Nature Foods.
- Wenatchee School District’s 60 mile menu, even including tilapia from a Wenatchee High School Student. Check out this video of the day!
- Lake Stevens School District had students bring in their own applesauce recipes to share with classmates.
- Ridgefield School District’s visits from Quackenbush Farms and Northwest Organic Produce, and article in the Columbian Newspaper
- Moses Lake School District’s dairy farmer visits
- Oxbow Farm and Conservation Center’s tasting trays at Riverview and Monroe School Districts
- SnoValley Farm to School Project’s menus, posters, farmer connections and support throughout the Sno-Valley
- Concrete School District and Concrete Farm to School Program’s local potato wedge nachos, apple slaw, and more from Blue Heron Farms Ovenell Heritage Ranch Forest Farmstead
- Issaquah School District’s wholegrain, homemade pizza
- Yelm Community Schools’ local menu
- South Whidbey School District’s own school-grown produce from their South Whidbey School Gardens
- Auburn School District’s special Taste Washington Day Menu
- Whatcom Farm to School’s celebration at Meridian, Mt. Baker, Ferndale, and Bellingham public schools with Bellewod Acres apples and more
- Common Threads Farm’s school garden harvested potatoes in the cafeteria
- Orcas Island Farm to Cafeteria Program’s menu featuring Jones Family Farm, Orcasong Farm, Morningstar Farm, Taproot Farm, Maplerock Farm and Smiling Dog Farm
- West Valley School District promotes their celebration
- WSU King County Food $ense’s local hummus and snazzy costumes
- Cedarcrest FFA’s visit to 6 different schools for local food taste tests
- Boldly Grown Farm’s celery, potatoes, and carrots headed to Conway and Concrete School Districts
- Washington State Dairy Council’s visit to Moses Lake
- Mosby Farms’ NPR Marketplace interview
- Sno-Valley Tilth’s own apple crunch
- Port Townsend School District’s meal with Dharma Ridge potatoes, gleaned apples, and Red Dog Farm carrots and celery
Taste Washington Day 2014
Taste Washington Day 2014
Wenatchee School District - Wentachee elementary school students were joined by Washington's First Lady Trudi Inslee and Washington State Department of Agriculture Director Bud Hover, along with Farmer Ken Toevs of T&T Farms and Rancher Cass Gebbers of Gebbers Farms. State's First Lady praises Wenatchee school's local food program - Wenatchee World
Wenatchee's middle and high schools also had all local menus on Taste Washington Day, and each school had a display table hosted by local farmers and ranchers. Washington Sustainable Food & Farming Network's Fresh Food in Schools project staff assisted the district in celebrating the day.
Bethel School District - District webpage article (incl. menu!)
Bethel Child Nutrition Staff pride on Taste Washington Day
Bellingham School District - Multimedia/Photo set - The Bellingham Herald
Bellingham and other Whatcom County school districts celebrated Taste Washington Day with their local salad greens being featured as October's Harvest of the Month. Bellingham's menu featured roasted chicken drumsticks from Draper Valley Farms in Mount Vernon, rosemary roasted red potatoes from Pioneer Farms in Skagit Valley, mixed green salad and cherry tomatoes from Sterino Farms in Puyallup and carrots from Hopewell Farms and Cloud Mountain Farms in Everson. Whatcom's farm to school efforts are supported by the Whatcom Farm-to-School team.
Concrete School District - Concrete students enjoyed Kale-idoscope salad and other local produce for Taste Washington Day, and were joined by County Commissioner Sharon Dillon and Julie Yee of USDA, along with other local supporters! The Concrete team also held Taste Test Tuesday the week before, to test recipes with students in preparation for the big day!
Students at Concrete School District enjoyed local corn on the cob,
roasted potatoes, and Kale-idoscope salad!
Read more here.
Central Valley School District - Students meet farmer as CVSD promotes healthy foods – The Spokesman-Review
Fourteen elementary schools in Central Valley School District celebrated by serving locally-grown foods. Farmer Dan Jackson visited Broadway Elementary. Local Inland Northwest Cooperative Foods – LINC Foods – a new Spokane-based organization that helps farmers connect with schools and universities, supported the project.
Conway Elementary School - Conway students enjoyed carrots from Ralph's Greenhouse, along with potatoes with homemade chili and cheese sauce. Local delicacies devoured during Taste Washington Day - Skagit Valley Herald
Mead School District served a local lunch in elementary schools with roasted chicken, Shepard's Grain wheat rolls, Washington milk, and an assortment of local produce, and highlighted the farms in their specially-decorated cafeterias. High school students were treated to Mock-Guacamole made with split peas to top their taco salads.
Signs displayed in Mead School District schools
highlighted local growers and their produce.
Riverview School District - worked with local farmers to bring students a great meal served with local food from Oxbow Farm, Full Circle Farm, Local Roots Farm, Flower World, and Cherry Valley Dairy to feature what is grown and produced right here in the Snoqualmie Valley. The food was served on the salad bars at all schools during lunch. FFA members from Cedarcrest High School visited the cafeterias to promote agriculture and offer samples of the local products to all students. Samples included yellow and purple carrots, green and yellow and purple beans, baby lettuce, kale made into kale chips, roasted gold and red beets, cucumbers and cheese cubes. The Food Services Department also offered students a delicious chocolate brownie made from Shepherd’s Grain flour. Shepherd’s Grain is a group of 33 family wheat farmers in the Pacific Northwest and the wheat is milled in Spokane.
A peek at Riverview School District's colorful salad bar.
Pe Ell School District - Farmers, schools taste potential partnerships - Capital Press (Riverview SD is quoted too!)
Pe Ell was in the news again this year (after hosting First Lady Trudi Inslee last year)! They served a salad of Boistfort Valley Farm vegetables, including purple carrots and zucchini.
Wahkiakum County Extension Office Nutrition Education Program worked with J A Wendt Elementary School and The John C Thomas Middle School to present a Farmers Market event. Farmers brought samples and displayed farm information for students to visit and receive stamps on their "Passports" with info for each farm attending. Students sampled fresh apple slices, applesauce, salmon dip on crackers, cheese, smoothies made with kale, banana, apples and milk, a variety of local produce was sampled from cut up raw veggies, like carrot, pepper, radishes, and fresh roasted beets and new potatoes, and kale chips. Farmers present that day, were surprised by the willingness of the students to try new foods.
A student looks on during the Farmers Market event in Wahkiakum.
Waitsburg School District served an all local lunch with beef, fruit, vegetables, grain, and cheeses all sourced within a 10 mile radius. This was their first time celebrating Taste Washington Day!
Auburn School District hosted a tasting table at Rainier Middle School, and were joined by Farmer Amy Moreno-Sills from Four Elements Farm, where studnets enjoyed samples of fruits and vegetables, including Four Elements Farm carrots with tops.
Auburn Child Nutrition Director Carol Barker and Four Elements
Farmer Amy Moreno-Sills at the Taste Washington Day table.
Ridgefield School District celebrated Taste Washington Day at all five of their schools, serving chicken drumsticks, red roasted rosemary potatoes, kale salad, whole wheat rolls and fresh pears and nectarines. A local organic farmer from Northwest Organic Farms visited and displayed their organic produce and gave out samples of Asian Pears from their gardens.
Ridgefield School District's Taste Washington Day lunch display
includes the Governor's Taste Washington Day Proclamation.
Vancouver School District Fort Vancouver High School students celebrated Taste Washington Day as their 1st Annual International Harvest Day in their garden. Students and staff brought potluck dishes made with veggies and fruit grown in their garden.
Seattle Public Schools served a Washington-grown lunch featuring Palouse lentil sloppy joes from Columbia bean Company, with a variety of local foods.
A sign promoting the local offerings in Seattle.
Cascade School District served Cloudview EcoFarms fingerling potatoes and fresh salad greens from Hope Mountain Farm in Plain. They also posted farmer posters and menus to celebrate.
Monroe School District served a local salad from Willie Green's. Later in October, they are also hosting a lunch with a Willie Green's farmer. Bonus: an article from a farmers market event the district held in August - http://www.snoho.com/news_archives_2014/news_082014.html (look down the page a bit!)
Sign from Monroe School District's Taste Washington Day
Ephrata School District served sliced apples and fresh pluots from American Produce Express in six schools. Two elementary schools visited Cloudview Farm for farm field trips.
Wahluke School District served an assortment of fruit in elementary, junior, and high schools, including pears and apples from Tonnemaker Hill Farm, nectarines from Magana Farms, apples from K&C Farms and pluots from American Produce Express. Diane, the nutrition director, wore a pear costume and visited K-2 students. October menus promoted Taste Washington Day and National Farm to School month.
Taste Washington Day 2013
Taste Washington Day 2013 was once again a popular event! We’ve heard from a few folks about enthusiasm, events and press coverage around the state for Taste Washington Day. See below for some great articles.
Fresh fruit and produce rules in local schools, Wenatchee World
Nibble and learn: Students get taste of local produce – Everett Herald
Whatcom County: School menus to feature locally grown foods as part of Taste of Washington - Lynden Tribune
Did your school or district or farm participate in Taste Washington Day?
We’d really like to hear from you. Send descriptions, pictures, simple bullet-point lists, or news articles to us here at email@example.com
Taste Washington Day 2012
Spokesman-Review - Washington produce featured on school salad bar
Capital Press – 1) Taste Washington Day puts local food front and center; 2) Busy cafeteria serve Washington foods
Chinook Observer - Naselle marks Taste Washington Day
Bellingham Families (blog) - Taste Washington Day
Liberty Lake (KXLY) - Local foods coming to school cafeterias today Andy Billig, representative for the 3rd legislative district in Spokane, says this project is not only good for students, but business as well. “Healthy meals with fresh, local food improve student learning and student health while also helping local farmers,” Billig said. “Farm-to-school programs create a healthy community for all.”
Bellingham Herald - Taste Washington at Skyline Elementary
Seattle Public Schools (District's own publication)
Participating Farms declare Taste Washington Day a satisfying way to bring the fruits of their labor to their communities and children around the state:
“We are proud to be able to serve our school districts. We are an apple farm and they are the perfect market for our small apples.”
- Eastern Washington Apple Grower
- Taste Washington Day 2013 Menu Slick - 47 KB - Template from TWD 2013. Monthly, weekly or daily menu may be added to this template
- Taste Washington Day Carrot Take Home Recipe - 277 KB
- Chickpea Flyer and Recipe - 306 KB
- Taste Washington Day 2012 Sample Menus & Recipes - 1 MB - Archived sample menus and recipes from TWD 2012
- Taste Washington Day 2011 Sample Menu - 293 KB - Sample menu and overview of Taste WA Day for 2011
- Taste Washington Day Template Signs - Customizable signs from TWD 2013. These signs could be customized with pictures of the foods being served. They could then be printed and posted on salad bars, tray lines, etc.
- Taste Washington Day Report 2010 - 478 KB - Learn more about successes from Taste Washington Day 2010