Snow days didn’t get us down: Michigan Bean Salad Feedback

In February, students in Dexter schools tried a new, local item: Calico Bean Salad made with Michigan-grown Dry Beans. It was served in all six schools on 2/23 and 2/24.

The beans were grown on Carlson-Arbogast Farm in Howard City, MI. They included cranberry beans, black beans, and little red beans. The salad was a beautiful mix of the three beans, cherry tomatoes, chopped red onion, and a tangy dressing.

Calico Bean Salad at Bates Elementary
Calico Bean Salad at Bates Elementary

Some schools even added some edamame in for color.

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Calico Bean Salad at Wylie Elementary with Edamame added.

The bean salad fit in nicely with the other fresh foods on the salad bar . . .

Students chose the bean salad along with their lunch in relatively small numbers, but a good number of students tried samples of the special salad and reported enjoying the salad in relatively good numbers. Here are some more specific results:

Bates (in one lunch period)

  • ~30 tried it in samples
  • ~13 counted saying they liked it (but check photos for better count)
  • ~6 took it from salad bar for hot lunch
  • ~5 wanted seconds on samples

Projected Totals =

  • 43% liked it
  • 18 took it from the salad bar

Quotes from kids –

To a friend: “You should have tried the beans!”

“They tasted like sand.”

“I don’t like tomatoes so I don’t want to try it.”

Cornerstone (in one lunch period)

  • ~25 tried samples – > including 3 who didn’t take it from the salad bar but did take the samples
  • ~15 counted saying they liked it
  • 4 took it from the salad bar for hot lunch
  • 2 wanted seconds

Projected Totals =

  • 60% liked it
  • 12 took it from the salad bar for lunch

Dry beans are grown in Michigan in great quantities and they represent a fantastic opportunity for connecting kids with food grown close to home. They are also a healthy source of fiber and protein and are versatile in the kitchen! We hope that this year’s dry bean feature will represent the start of a new idea for food service that will provide a healthy to benefit Dexter students for years to come.

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