Harvest of the Month Tour

Minnesota Ag in the Classroom hosted the last Summer Teacher Tour of 2023 on July 20th, the focus of this tour was on Harvest of the Month. We traveled down to Northfield, MN for a full day of visit and delicious food! The Harvest of the Month is a program managed by Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), and University of Minnesota Extension. The primary goal of the program is connecting students to local foods through the cafeteria, classroom and community. There is a plethora of free resources here. Our tour was focused on some of the local producers who participate and help our schools nourish kids with local products.

Harvest of the Month Tour Stops

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Greenvale Elementary School

Our meeting place and first stop for the day was Greenvale Elementary School. Here we heard more about the free resources that MDA has to offer. In addition, we did mini-lessons to see how we can emphasize the classroom connections with Harvest of the Month and finally, we heard from the nutrition staff at Northfield Public Schools on how they have grown and manage their Harvest of the Month program in the school district. After all of that, we loaded up the bus and took off for our next stop.

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Ferndale Turkey Farm and Market

Our first farm stop of the day was at Ferndale Market. We heard from the staff there about how they raise turkeys and work with local processors and consumers to bring all of their products to market. They serve Ferndale turkey at Northfield Public Schools and the surrounding colleges! We took a tractor ride to meet some of the 80,000 turkeys that they have and even got to hear the turkeys gobble. We went back to their flagship market and sampled some of their products and did some shopping before getting back on the bus.

Lorentz Meats

Lorentz Meats

Our next stop was over in Cannon Falls, MN where we visited the Lorentz family and Lorentz Meats. We heard Mike Lorentz talk about their process of production and their partnerships with many farms on value added products (including Ferndale Market), their food safety protocol, and lastly about their retail partnerships. Mike spoke philosophically about honoring the animals and the role that they play to us as the consumer.

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Waxwing Farms

Our last stop of the day was at Waxwing Farms in Webster, MN. Waxwing is a vegetable farm that curates fresh produce for Prior Lake School District for their Harvest of the Month programs and also for some of the most exclusive restaurants in the Twin Cities Metro area. We toured their land and heard about their organic practices and the honest struggles of farming. Waxwing participates mainly in selling their produce through CSA shares and restaurant accounts and has created some very nice partnerships through that. They left us all with a CSA box and we received sweet and savory treats from Bread People in Northfield.

Harvest of the Month Tour Curriculum Connections

Harvest of the Month program is focused on connecting students with local foods through the cafeteria, classroom and community. This tour gave educators a first hand experience with some of the producers from the program. Educators also got to hear about all the other free resources MAITC offers and opportunities with Farm Camp.

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