New Model for School Lunches Launches in Haverford

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From left: Kelly McGee, Joanna Owens, Calla McVail, and Bennett Adams enjoy their barbecue tofu lunch. “It was really good, and I don’t usually like tofu,” said McGee. “I like that the lunches are different from what I usually have from home.”

fsh-logo-colorFriends School Haverford is doing something different when it comes to embracing lunchtime.

Instead of the traditional calorie-laden, flavor-lacking foods, the school that educates children from the nursery through eighth grade is providing students with healthy, local food options made fresh each day through a partnership with The Tasting Room/JPM Catering and Events in Ardmore.

“School kids should be eating good quality, tasty food,” said Head of School Michael Zimmerman.

Friends School Haverford does not even offer an in-house lunch program. The new service by JPM is the first opportunity for students to order lunches during the school day.

The Tasting Room founder Jennifer McCafferty, left, prepares barbecue tofu and vegetable rice pilaf for lunches at Friends School Haverford.
The Tasting Room founder Jennifer McCafferty, left, prepares barbecue tofu and vegetable rice pilaf for lunches at Friends School Haverford.

Building on JPM’s reputation for local, organic, full-scratch-made food, aware and informed parents made the initial call to The Tasting Room to begin the conversation about healthy lunch offerings.

“It’s something we never expected to get involved in,” said Tasting Room co-owner Joe Petrucci. “Now that we’re into it, we see value for us as a company, and also see great value for schools.”

Lunch items vary every day. Kids and health food can be an interesting mix – with barbeque tofu being a hit, while kale on pizza was more of a miss. As of mid-November, one in five students at the school is signed up for the service, but orders and menu offerings change by the day.

Lunches average $6.00 per day, which is twice the price at other schools, but in the words of Michael Zimmerman, “when it comes to food, you get what you pay for. We hope to create a replicable model of school lunches.”

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