16 February 2016

Belton ISD School Nutrition Herb Garden

any of the parsley that looks incredibly

long like obviously that and you want to go ahead and get the stem so cut it down here chilly weather hasn't stopped these herbs from growing to their fullest potential and chef Kelly angel along with some special student helpers are cutting back the growth should get the bigger bowl the basil keeps coming back usually you let the basil go to seed at the end or flowers like this I just let it seed and then the next year it will come back or you can rip off the seeds and then replant them what's unique about this garden is the location and use of these potted plants that's why I like the site is because if we do continuously picking and clip them then we'll someone will have them no matter what they won't go bad and it'll be a nice you know added into any dish that we have on our menu this is the greenhouse at belton high school chef Kelly and students taking agricultural classes began planting the herbs last year and using them in school meals the AG department plant some herbs for the kitchens and started growing it and then after right before Christmas time or let us know that it was ready to go and so we start incorporated all these herbs

into the recipes here at the high school to start off with the herb growth and usage is in its trial phase at the high schools and has one of the many ways chef Kelly is changing the preparation look taste and smell of school meals throughout the district that we're going to start cooking more from scratch and i'm here to help ease the process into cooking more from scratch so we can reduce the sodium just basically because it's not processed cooking from scratch tweaking recipes and adding fresh ingredients is what chef kelly is hoping will entice students to eat more means to me as a chef the herbs come first in my mind because you taste that immediately it goes in last and you taste it first it brings a lot of aroma smells to your dish other ones will be more for garnish and for the students walking through the line sometimes I'll use it as a display just so they when they walk through they see it right away and smell the right way and piques their interest in eating because the smell activates your taste buds the herb garden contains chives parsley cilantro oregano thyme basil and rosemary which is a favorite of high school senior

Hannah Barnett I do love rosemary rosemary is one of my favorite herbs I just love the smell and it's beneficial for a lot of things I think it's awesome it's really cool to see the plants that you're eat or see the herbs that you're eating and knowing that there wasn't any you know pesticides or anything put on them it's all very organic and natural and that we don't have anything bad going into our bodies from our lunches Hannah's wildlife class is conducting a research project to see if plants indigenous to other parts of Texas can be grown in belton we've ordered and bought all the seeds that we can find that are available for sale and that our Texas native plants and we've started to grow them from a seed and we are just seeing how well we can take care of them and how they grow in this environment as part of Texas and it's really cool being able to see especially for a wildlife contest and being on my team you can be given a small plant you know if you're supposed to identify it from just this big and so it's cool to know how it grows and the way it changes while Hannah focuses on feeding wildlife high school senior Ashley Bonds takes care of

flowering plants along with the herb garden I think it's a good thing that we're like being able to grow our own herbs because then we know what's being put into our lunch and it's like GMOs or anything is like natural herbs and because of what she has learned at school the herbs along with other plant life will flourish under ashley scare i have planted a lot of the flora culture plants that we have and basically just watering them in the morning to keep them from wilting or stress and just giving them of course the right nutrients like potassium and phosphorus and stuff like that I did a lisianthus last year and it was just really neat to like watch it go from a little sprout all the way to a full bloom and it was so pretty that it was just really cool to know that I did it and these students will also think it's cool when they see their finished product in the cafeteria line we want to coordinate that day that we're cutting in with the day that we're starting out to be the freshest as possible chef Kelly says the students will be the final decision makers on the herb garden and hopes the breakfast and lunch lines

will increase so the herbs can expand to other schools if we get it large enough then immediately I know a lot of the managers want to start using them and their dishes because they know how important a little flavor goes a long way to get students to eat