For the second time this winter, a Root Rescue was performed by a Localvore/Rootswork team effort. Over three-quarters of a ton of free root vegetables including carrots, potatoes, beets and turnips were delivered to the Mad River Valley public schools on March 26. The root vegetables were from Pete's Greens in Craftsbury and were considered seconds, largely because cosmetic blemishes made them unfit for sale.The project, or Root Rescue as the groups called it, involved picking up the vegetables from Pete Johnson's Craftsbury farm, bringing them back to the Mad River Valley, sorting them because all of the various vegetables were mixed together, and delivering them to the schools.
Megan Moffroid and Mike Brodeur of Rootswork picked up the veggies and were joined by children and staff from the Warren After School Program at the Warren Firehouse to do the sorting. The children had a great time trying to identify the vegetables and they talked about what they might turn into on their lunch table.
The root vegetables went to Claire Simpson, chef at the Warren School, Cheryl Joslin, chef for Fayston and Waitsfield Elementary Schools, and Paul Morris, chef for Harwood Union High School who also provides lunches to Moretown Elementary School.
"We are so fortunate that our school chefs are willing and happy to turn this bounty into delicious and healthy lunches for our kids. The staff at Pete's Greens is very impressed with the cooperation and enthusiasm that exists in The Valley surrounding the issue of local food," said Moffroid.
She continued, "Considering the recent school beef recall, it seems more important than ever that we know where our food is coming from and how it is raised. There are so many reasons to do this -- support Vermont farmers, eat good food that is nutritious and safe, and teach kids where their food is coming from."
At a conservative estimate of $1.25 a pound for the vegetables, the groups delivered over $1,875 of free food to the schools. That, plus the first Root Rescue equals over $3,000 of free vegetables that were donated this winter.
"It was really generous of Pete's Greens to offer these vegetables to us," said MRV Localvore Robin McDermott. "Several local farms and restaurants also donate fresh vegetables to the schools on a regular basis and in that we are very fortunate." Getting more local food to Valley residents and visitors is a shared goal for both Rootswork and the Localvores.