MASON CITY, Iowa - Fresh, locally grown produce is now being served up to students at Newman Catholic Schools.
Thanks to grant from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, the school has partnered with North Iowa Fresh to receive local produce ranging from apples and peppers, to tomatoes and carrots to hungry students. Over the last few years, the school has been adding more fruit and vegetables to the menu, and food services manager Julie Udelhofen has been hearing rave reviews from students who are wanting to eat healthier.
"10 years ago, you didn't see that. Since I took over, we added cucumbers, radishes and now peppers, and the kids eat it, and they'll eat quite a bit of it."
But it's not just locally sourced fruit and vegetables that will be showing up on the menu.
"It also covers meat, yogurt, cheese, proteins. And we're just getting started, this is just our first shipment."
Udelhofen says broccoli, potatoes, radishes, and root vegetables like squash are expected to be shipped in next.
In addition, the school is receiving a tomato slicer, a tool to make it easier to slice carrot sticks, and extra shelving for storage, thanks to the grant.