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Finalists compete in 2021 Farm to School Cook-off

RSU 12 and South Portland were this year’s finalists.
The winners of the Farm to School Cook-off were crowned Wednesday.
The winners of the Farm to School Cook-off were crowned Wednesday.(WABI)
Published: May. 5, 2021 at 5:54 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - The winners of the Farm to School Cook-off were crowned Wednesday.

RSU 12, which is made up of schools in the Somerville-Whitefield area, and South Portland competed for an award and to be on the judging panel for next year’s cook off.

“We love to see people out there putting new foods out there to the schools as much as they can, so this is a great way to do it,” said Michele Bisbee, Maine DOE Child Nutrition Consultant.

Two teams are participating in the annual Farm to School finals competition in Augusta.

RSU 12 and South Portland were this year’s finalists.

They were selected after producing a video showing them cooking a breakfast and lunch that fits the summer food service program.

In the final competition, the two teams battled it out creating breakfast and lunch using their own recipes.

“After every Farm to School cook-off, we then turn around and use the recipes to put together a cookbook that we make available to the schools,” said Bisbee.

After each round, their meals were brought before a panel of judges including a chef, school nutrition director and a farmer. They scored the dishes based on taste, presentation, feasibility, and of course, creativity.

“It’s also a great educational event for students to know where their food comes from and to gain an appreciation for that and the amazing farm community that we have in Maine that we can take advantage of,” explained Stephanie Stambach, Maine DOE Child Nutrition Consultant.

This was the sixth year the Maine Department of Education hosted this competition.

It did take a different form due to COVID-19.

But, the criteria stayed the same.

Organizers say these competitions showcase the talent of school nutritionists and their students, but it also gives them an opportunity to see what goes into making a school meal.

“I think that was one of the best changes we made just to really include them in the food that they are being served in their schools and make them feel that their voice is being heard in the food that they get to eat every day,” said Bisbee.

The Whitefield Wildcats of RSU 12 took home this year’s prize.

They will have the opportunity to be spokespeople and encourage next year’s contestants.

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