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Putting fruits and veggies front and center

California Table Grape Commission gives 28 salad bars to Tulare County schools

Putting fruits and veggies front and center Sylvester, a third-grade student at Grand View Elementary in Dinuba, is happy to have more fruits and vegetables at lunch. "We didn't have very many choices before," he says. "But now that we do, we eat more." School nutrition planners feel that variety is an important part of getting students to eat more fruits and vegetables. Thanks to a new salad bar, installed at Grand View last month, there are plenty of choices.

Sylvester and his classmates file past the salad bar before heading for their sandwiches and drinks. There, they are encouraged to take at least one item from an array of green salads, broccoli/carrot salads, bananas, apples, nectarines fresh from the orchard, and carrots. The salads, pre-packed and sealed in the Dinuba Unified central kitchen, are a source of pride for Kelly Martin, food service director for the district. "We do our best to buy as much fresh produce from local farmers as possible," she says. "By creating our own recipes, we can keep the fat content low and the freshness high."

Putting fruits and veggies front and center Grand View was not the only school to receive a salad bar. Thanks to a program of the California Table Grape Commission entitled the "Let's Move Salad Bars to Schools" initiative, the Network for a Healthy California was able to place 28 salad bars in elementary schools throughout the county last month. The schools that received the salad bars were:

Cutler-Orosi Joint Unified School District - Cutler Elementary School, Golden Valley Elementary School, Palm Elementary School, Sierra Elementary School, El Monte Middle School
Dinuba Unified School District - Grand View Elementary School, Jefferson Elementary School, Lincoln Elementary School, Roosevelt Elementary School, Wilson Elementary School
Exeter Union School District - Lincoln Elementary School, Rocky Hill Elementary School, Wilson Middle School
Kings River Union School District - Kings River Union Elementary School
Porterville Unified School District - Belleview Elementary School, John J. Doyle Elementary School, Monte Vista Elementary School, Olive Street Elementary School, West Putnam Elementary School
Sunnyside Union School District - Sunnyside Union Elementary School
Visalia Unified School District - Crestwood Elementary School, Fairview Elementary School, Mineral King Elementary School, Royal Oaks Elementary School, Willow Glen Elementary School
Woodlake Union School District - Castle Rock Elementary School, Francis J. White Learning Center, Woodlake Valley Middle School

Network Project Coordinator Nani Rowland reports that the timing of the installation was perfect as federal standards now require students to have a portion of fruits and veggies with each meal. "We are so grateful to the Commission for providing the salad bars, which make choosing healthy foods fun for thousands of Tulare County students," she says. For more information about the program, call Ms. Rowland at (559) 651-0130.

Photos above: Students at Grand View Elementary in Dinuba now enjoy a wider variety of fruits and vegetables, including locally-grown produce, thanks to a salad bar donated by the California Table Grape Commission.