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Taking school lunch to a new (local) level

Earlier this month, five parent volunteers, two cafeteria cooks, one school principal and one USDA inspector came together to make 1,400 hamburgers.

The hamburgers will be used in lunches for Fayston and Waitsfield Elementary Schools as part of an eat-local initiative that began earlier this fall, when Fayston’s food service director, Cheryl Joslin, purchased an entire cow from Flint Brook Farm in Roxbury.

This wasn’t the first time that Fayston Elementary bought an entire cow, but it was the first time that Joslin took charge of the entire operation, from processing plant to cafeteria plate.

Earlier this fall, Joslin sent the cow to be slaughtered at The Royal Butcher in Braintree. There, she had half of the meat ground and the other half kept as “trim,” which volunteers made into hamburgers on November 5 and 6 at the Mad River Food Hub.

In total, the beef weighs in at 700 pounds, and it’s being stored at the Food Hub and retrieved as needed. “We’re quite hilarious, with our hair nets on, coming out of the Food Hub with 120 pounds of ground beef,” Joslin said of her and her fellow cafeteria cooks.

Last year, about 85 percent of the beef Joslin used in lunches for Fayston and Waitsfield Elementary School students was from nearby farms, “but this year, my goal is to use 100 percent local beef,” she said. “I think we should have enough.”

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