An Aspen lunch with a home-grown flavor | AspenTimes.com

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An Aspen lunch with a home-grown flavor

Aspen Elementary School first–grader Araya Thompson proudly displays a pair of carrots harvested from the school's Magical Garden. Produce from the garden will available today at both the elementary and middle school lunches as part of the Colorado Proud Meal Day.

Wednesday is Colorado Proud School Meal Day for the Aspen elementary and middle schools, and the cook is taking great pride in preparing the menu.

Chef Tenille Folk, who prepares meals at both schools, took the idea of celebrating local foods one more step with the addition of a harvest festival of sorts.

"I'm calling it the Aspen Elementary School Magical Garden Harvest Day to support Colorado Proud Meal Day," Folk said. "Usually we sell our garden produce at the Back to School Night to raise funds that will allow us to purchase local beef. This year, it worked out where we didn't need as much fund-raising, so we decided to let the kids enjoy the harvest."

The elementary school houses a garden the students help prepare and plant during the spring. This is the first year where the students get to enjoy the fruits — or vegetables — of their labor.

"The students have been harvesting for several days," Folk said. "It's obvious the kids are enjoying seeing the growing process from start to finish."

The main course will be pasta from Pappardelle's Pasta in Denver and a ground beef sauce using beef from Crystal River Meats and vegetables from the school garden.

Other vegetables available from the school garden include a mixed greens salad, kale chips, a fava bean salad, herb-roasted potatoes and honey-roasted carrots. Also available will be garlic bread with the garlic coming from the school garden.

There will be apples, tomatoes and pears available that come from Paonia. The tomatoes will be included in the pasta meat sauce, along with zucchini and carrots from the school garden.

"We're hoping for another good turnout from the community," Folk said. "It's a lot of fun for everyone."

The elementary school will serve lunches from 11 a.m. until 12:45 p.m.; the middle school serves lunch from 11:50 a.m. until 12:45 p.m. Parents are welcome to join the kids for lunch. Cost for lunch is $10 for adults and $4.50 for students and staff.

mmclaughlin@aspentimes.com