Pupils from an Eastleigh school have gone outdoors to learn more about the local ingredients in their school meals - as part of a Hampshire County Council Catering Services’ (HC3S) celebration of local food.
HC3S has been serving special menus at Hampshire primary and secondary schools throughout British Food Fortnight (23 September - 8 October) - including Hampshire beef patties, New Forest strawberries and Hampshire watercress salad.
As part of the campaign, pupils from Shakespeare Junior School in Eastleigh took a field trip to The Watercress Company at Manor Farm in Old Alresford to learn more about the leaf vegetables served in their school meals.
Councillor Peter Edgar, the County Council’s Executive Member for Education, said: “We are very proud to be championing homegrown Hampshire produce, which is integral to the healthy school meals we serve to more than 440 schools across Hampshire.
“It’s also important to help young people – such as pupils from Shakespeare School – to understand the story behind the fruit and vegetables they eat in their school meals. It not only helps them learn about the dietary benefits of eating fresh food, but also highlights how local farms – such as the historic watercress farm here in Old Alresford - play such a vital role in the process from plough to plate.”
Steve Cox, Head teacher at Shakespeare Junior School, said: "At Shakespeare, we believe in the importance of good food and nutrition. HC3S run our kitchens and we are really happy with the food they provide for the children.
“It's also really important for the children to see first hand how local businesses operate and how the Hampshire economy is supported by buying local produce."
As part of British Food Fortnight, HC3S has also been serving locally sourced food and Hampshire blended Mozzo coffee at the County Council’s visitor attractions including Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, Calshot Activities Centre, Lepe Country Park, Manor Farm, Queen Elizabeth Country Park, Royal Victoria Country Park, Staunton Country Park and Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve.
Dishes have included trout from local supplier Chalk Stream, with a Romsey Gold beer batter coating, New Forest ice cream and freshly made Lyburn cheese and watercress scones.
To find out more about HC3S visit www.hants.gov.uk/hc3s .