Rooted in nutrition: Potatoes from Mack Family Farm to enrich school meals

Students in Bulloch County Schools have enjoyed a favorite root vegetable with their school meals this week, potatoes.

Mack Family Farm has harvested 500 pounds of fresh red and yukon gold potatoes which will be served at six of the school district’s 15 schools on Tuesday, May 14. The Mack Family Farm potatoes, along with baby carrots, will be the two vegetables served with the hot-meal entree choice that day at Mill Creek Elementary, Southeast Bulloch Middle, Statesboro High, Stilson Elementary, Nevils Elementary, and Sallie Zetterower Elementary.

Mack Family Farm had hoped to be able to provide 1600 pounds of potatoes for all of the district’s schools, but unfortunately due to the timing of the order and lack of rain, yields were not as high as expected. The school district has worked to find other sources to make up the difference. The remaining schools’ menus will also feature potatoes but from other farms.

Located in Bulloch County, Mack Family Farm is owned and operated by Alyssa Mackelprang. They grow tomatoes, sweet potatoes, potatoes, plus less familiar items like peanut butter fruit, pawpaws, and sunsquats. You may also find them at the Statesboro Mainstreet Farmers Market 2Go. Started in 2023, the farm’s Facebook page describes their opening as a family dream for 20 years, and that their family of seven consists of “1 seed catalog addict, 1 chaos coordinator and 5 expert weeders.”

Bulloch County Schools’ nutrition director, Desiree Yaeger, and Stephan Williams, the nutrition coordinator, are partnering with local farmers to help build a culinary culture in Bulloch County Schools’ cafeterias. Their efforts are also helping children make a connection between the food on their plates and how it’s grown and delivered. Also, with the growth and diversity of the school district’s students, who represent 18 different nationalities and 24 different languages, some of our local produce items and how they are prepared are being introduced to children for the first time. This school year the district’s School Nutrition Department has begun partnerships with Hunter Cattle Company for beef and Franklin’s Farm for their strawberries, plus future orders of their citrus fruit, peaches and other produce as they come in season during the school year.

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