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.

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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