By: Ashley MacLeay, At-Large Representative, and Alexander Jue, Policy Analyst
Earlier this month, we had the chance to visit Aiton Elementary School in Ward 7 and Murch Elementary School in Ward 3 for their Strawberries & Salad Greens Day festivities. Since 2011, the Health & Wellness Division at OSSE has sponsored this city-wide event as a way to showcase locally grown produce in school meals.
Aiton Elementary School partnered with DC Central Kitchen to teach students about different fruits and vegetables that could be grown in the District. Students were able to touch and taste local fruits and vegetables like cherry tomatoes and cucumbers grown from a truck garden. In addition, the students learned proper knife techniques and cut strawberries, kale, and carrots. They mixed the ingredients together with a strawberry vinaigrette dressing to create a fresh summer strawberry salad that everyone enjoyed.
Before returning to the classroom, the students learned that their bodies are made up of water and received a refreshing cup of strawberry and mint infused water to wash down their salad. The event was an informative lesson in nutritional literacy that the students will remember for years to come.
Students at Murch Elementary School engaged with OSSE, SBOE, and Sedexo staff during their lunch periods. A large potted strawberry plant and planted salad greens was taken from table to table. Students eagerly approached the plant—exclaiming they’d found strawberries on the plant and asking if they could pick them. Students and teachers were amazed by the brightly colored local strawberries featured in the school meals. Many students even tried to go back for more strawberries, but they were all gone!
With the summer in full swing, try your hand at making a strawberry and kale salad:
STRAWBERRY KALE SALAD (adapted from ‘Gimme Some Oven’ blog)
- 6 cups fresh baby kale (*or see note below for using other kinds of kale)
- 1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
- 4 ounces crumbled goat cheese (or other soft cheese)
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
- half a small red onion, thinly sliced
- white balsamic vinaigrette (recipe below)
White Balsamic Dressing Ingredients:
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 3-4 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
- Make the vinaigrette by whisk all dressing ingredients together until combined.
- Assemble the salad by tossing all ingredients together with your desired amount of dressing until combined. Serve immediately.
*If you choose to use traditional kale, pour an extra few teaspoons of oil onto the greens first and massage it into them with your hands for 1 minute to soften.