Oregon School Nutrition Professionals join ODNC for Salem tour

Last week, Oregon school nutrition professionals from 14 school districts joined us for a tour highlighting several agricultural producers in the Salem area. The tour was organized as part of the Oregon School Nutrition Association’s (OSNA) annual convention and provided participants with opportunities to learn about various aspects of Oregon agriculture, including specific foods such as milk, cheese, and fruits that may be used in their nutrition programs.

It also connected them with resources on how to share information in engaging ways with students and families. Participants learned about grant funding through Fuel Up to Play 60 and farm-to-school programs while they networked with statewide partners and other nutrition professionals.  

  

The tour’s first stop was Rickreall Dairy, a family-owned dairy that oversees 3,500 Holstein cows that produce about 17,000 lbs of milk a day. Farmer Louie Kazemier and his daughter, Stacy Foster, led the group through their 700-acre farm, including several free-stall barns, the milking parlor, feed storage area, and calf barn.  Participants of the tour learned about the dairy’s high standards of quality for animal care and sustainability. 

  

At the next stop, Don Froylan Creamery provided a delicious sampling of their handcrafted Mexican cheeses, house made salsa and guacamole, and deep-fried cheese curds. The group was given a tour of the quesería by Francisco and Lisa Ochoa where they were able to watch the team stretch fresh Queso Oaxaca before enjoying lunch and some Queso Fresco on their sunny patio.  

  

After lunch, the group was treated to a tour of the Oregon Fruit Products production facility, where local blueberries, cherries, plums, and more are canned or made into fruit purées.  Tour goers were able to taste blackberry lemonade, blueberry yogurt parfaits, and dark cherry mascarpone cheese bites while they learned about the company’s history and dedication to building partnerships with local farmers. 

Our post-tour evaluation survey showed that 100% of participants felt “Much More Positive/More Positive” about Oregon agriculture and local foods after the tour and indicated that it was a highlight of their OSNA conference experience.  We’re glad to have such positive feedback from this tour and look forward to the next one!