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Pitman unveils new Pride Rock Cafe
Real Fresh fruit
The new Pride Rock Cafe is partnering with the TUSD farm and local farmers to source fresh produce to serve to Pitman High students.

Students at Pitman High School came back from winter break to the opening of a new meal facility that offers more healthy food options that are locally produced.

The Pride Rock Café provides an additional food access location and a variety of ready-to-serve school meals in hopes to reach more students during meal service and manage crowd control. It also allows TUSD Child Nutrition to create more meals from “scratch cooking” using Real Fresh, Farm to School, ingredients.

The cafe also wants to showcase TUSD Child Nutrition Real Fresh Pizza & Specialty meals. The menu is on a five-day rotation offering rotisserie chicken, mac & cheese, spaghetti, ravioli’s, chili, hot sandwiches such as tri-tip, ham and turkey. They started serving lunch daily on Jan. 3 and has plans to start serving breakfast daily soon. At that time, the cafe plans to create a variety of breakfast pizza with ham, pineapple, sausage and/or egg.

The cafe is partnering with the TUSD farm and local farmers to source the food. Staff will not have to transport meals to and from the kitchen to the PHS annex, where the cafe is located, because all meals will be produced and stored in the annex building. The annex will be managed by a three person staff.

“TUSD farm was able to produce over 2,000 pounds of apricots, peaches, plums and pluots that were utilized in school meals from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Director of Child Nutrition Jennifer Lew-Vang. “We also strive to work with smaller, local farmers who supply TUSD with ‘Real Fresh’ fruits, vegetables, grass-fed beef and free-range chickens.”

The PHS annex can serve over 600 students and all food items will meet time and temperature requirements for food safety. There is reduced food waste lost due to transportation mishaps because all food will be centralized from the PHS annex location.

These local partnerships help mitigate the effects of the supply chain crisis and the district has been proactive in providing students with nutritional value.

“These small partnerships have helped combat many of the supply chain issues,” said Lew-Vang. “It has also been extremely helpful to have great leadership from TUSD superintendent and assistant superintendents who provide daily support to its child nutrition team. The old saying is, ‘it takes a village to help raise a family,’ and the TUSD child nutrition team is incredibly grateful for its village.”