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Taste Washington Day Success in Past Years

Taste Washington Day originated as a Washington School Nutrition Association program in celebration of the diversity and abundance of Washington's harvest season, and to share this with school children and school communities across the state.  The WSDA Farm to School Program and the Washington School Nutrition Association (WSNA) first partnered together to develop seasonal menus featuring Washington-grown food and to bring together farms and schools for Taste Washington Day 2010.

Since that first Taste Washington Day in 2010, the WSDA Farm to School Program has helped school buyers source Washington produce, develop purchasing relationships with farms, and request Washington-grown produce from distributors.  We have also helped schools add educational activities to the day, from hanging posters in the cafeteria and inviting a farmer to lunch to visiting a farm, farmers market or school garden. Follow-up surveys from the event indicate that $17,000 were spent on Washington grown products for that day’s lunch, and schools anticipated spending approximately $90,000 on Washington products in the following six months.  Individual farms reported sales as high as $8,250 on the single day.

Here are a few ways schools helped launch the very first Taste Washington Day in 2010:

In Riverview School District, “high school Future Farmers of America (FFA) club members visited each school in the district during lunch and handed out samples of locally grown produce and talked with students about their products. They were a very positive representation of agriculture and really helped to make the event a success at each school.”
– Participating School Nutrition Director

La Conner School District put together this delicious meal on Taste Washington Day:

  • Locally grown russet baked potatoes and ham julienne
  • Cheese sauce made with cheese from Golden Glen Creamery
  • Green onions, broccoli florets, and other produce from Hedlin Farms and Swanson Brothers Farm
  • Jonagold apples from Gordon Skagit Farm
  • Chocolate cake with raspberry butter cream, using raspberries from Swanson Brothers

At Wahluke School District in central Washington, Fresh Food in Schools partner Joan Qazi helped to bring Cloudview Ecofarm to Mattawa Elementary, where farmers conducted a tasting of their sweet heirloom and cherry tomatoes while talking to students about farming.

Taste Washington Day 2017 Highlights

Taste Washington Day 2016 Highlights

Taste Washington Day 2014

Governor Proclaims October 1st 2014 Taste Washington Day!

Wenatchee School District - Wentachee elementary school students were joined by Washington's First Lady Trudi Inslee and Washington State Department of Agriculture Director Bud Hover, along with Farmer Ken Toevs of T&T Farms and Rancher Cass Gebbers of Gebbers Farms. State's First Lady praises Wenatchee school's local food program - Wenatchee World

Wenatchee's middle and high schools also had all local menus on Taste Washington Day, and each school had a display table hosted by local farmers and ranchers.  Washington Sustainable Food & Farming Network's Fresh Food in Schools project staff assisted the district in celebrating the day. 

Bethel School DistrictDistrict webpage article  (incl. menu!)

Bethel Child Nutrition Staff pride on Taste Washington Day

Bellingham School District - Multimedia/Photo set - The Bellingham Herald
Bellingham and other Whatcom County school districts celebrated Taste Washington Day with their local salad greens being featured as October's Harvest of the Month.  Bellingham's menu featured roasted chicken drumsticks from Draper Valley Farms in Mount Vernon, rosemary roasted red potatoes from Pioneer Farms in Skagit Valley, mixed green salad and cherry tomatoes from Sterino Farms in Puyallup and carrots from Hopewell Farms and Cloud Mountain Farms in Everson.  Whatcom's farm to school efforts are supported by the Whatcom Farm-to-School team.

Concrete School District - Concrete students enjoyed Kale-idoscope salad and other local produce for Taste Washington Day, and were joined by County Commissioner Sharon Dillon and Julie Yee of USDA, along with other local supporters! The Concrete team also held Taste Test Tuesday the week before, to test recipes with students in preparation for the big day!

two young children enjoy their lunch.  One is eating corn on the cob and the other is taking a bit of kale-idoscope salad.Students at Concrete School District enjoyed local corn on the cob,
roasted potatoes, and Kale-idoscope salad!

Read more here:

Central Valley School District -  Students meet farmer as CVSD promotes healthy foods – The Spokesman-Review
Fourteen elementary schools in Central Valley School District celebrated by serving locally-grown foods.  Farmer Dan Jackson visited Broadway Elementary.  Local Inland Northwest Cooperative Foods – LINC Foods – a new Spokane-based organization that helps farmers connect with schools and universities, supported the project.

Conway Elementary School - Conway students enjoyed  carrots from Ralph's Greenhouse, along with potatoes with homemade chili and cheese sauce. Local delicacies devoured during Taste Washington Day  - Skagit Valley Herald 

Mead School District served a local lunch in elementary schools with roasted chicken, Shepard's Grain wheat rolls, Washington milk, and an assortment of local produce, and highlighted the farms in their specially-decorated cafeterias.  High school students were treated to Mock-Guacamole made with split peas to top their taco salads.

Taste Washington Day signs for red potatoes, pluots, bell peppers and cucumber highlighted the farms that grew the food.Signs displayed in Mead School District schools
highlighted local growers and their produce.

Riverview School District - worked with local farmers to bring students a great meal served with local food from Oxbow Farm, Full Circle Farm, Local Roots Farm, Flower World, and Cherry Valley Dairy to feature what is grown and produced right here in the Snoqualmie Valley. The food was served on the salad bars at all schools during lunch. FFA members from Cedarcrest High School visited the cafeterias to promote agriculture and offer samples of the local products to all students. Samples included yellow and purple carrots, green and yellow and purple beans, baby lettuce, kale made into kale chips, roasted gold and red beets, cucumbers and cheese cubes. The Food Services Department also offered students a delicious chocolate brownie made from Shepherd’s Grain flour. Shepherd’s Grain is a group of 33 family wheat farmers in the Pacific Northwest and the wheat is milled in Spokane. 

Riverview School District's Salad bar includes local cucumbers, sweet peppers, beans and purple carrots.
A peek at Riverview School District's colorful salad bar.

Pe Ell School District - Farmers, schools taste potential partnerships - Capital Press (Riverview SD is quoted too!)
Pe Ell was in the news again this year (after hosting First Lady Trudi Inslee last year)!  They served a salad of Boistfort Valley Farm vegetables, including purple carrots and zucchini.

Wahkiakum County Extension Office Nutrition Education Program worked with J A Wendt Elementary School and The John C Thomas Middle School to present a Farmers Market eventFarmers brought samples and displayed farm information for students to visit and receive stamps on their "Passports" with info for each farm attending. Students sampled fresh apple slices,  applesauce,  salmon dip on crackers,  cheese,  smoothies made with kale, banana, apples and milk, a variety of local produce was sampled from cut up raw veggies, like carrot, pepper, radishes, and fresh roasted beets and new potatoes, and kale chips.  Farmers present that day, were surprised by the willingness of the students to try new foods.

Student at Wahkiakum's Taste Washington Day Farmers Market.
A student looks on during the Farmers Market event in Wahkiakum.

Waitsburg School District served an all local lunch with beef, fruit, vegetables, grain, and cheeses all sourced within a 10 mile radius.  This was their first time celebrating Taste Washington Day!

Auburn School District hosted a tasting table at Rainier Middle School, and were joined by Farmer Amy Moreno-Sills from Four Elements Farm, where studnets enjoyed samples of fruits and vegetables, including Four Elements Farm carrots with tops.

Nutrition Director and Farmer stand at display table full of produce for Taste Washington Day
Auburn Child Nutrition Director Carol Barker and Four Elements
Farmer Amy Moreno-Sills at the Taste Washington Day table.

Ridgefield School District celebrated Taste Washington Day at all five of their schools, serving chicken drumsticks, red roasted rosemary potatoes, kale salad, whole wheat rolls and fresh pears and nectarines.  A local organic farmer from Northwest Organic Farms visited and displayed their organic produce and gave out samples of Asian Pears from their gardens.

Lunch plate with chicken, roasted potatoes and kale salad displayed with Governor's Taste Washington Day Proclamation and table tent.
Ridgefield School District's Taste Washington Day lunch display
includes the Governor's Taste Washington Day Proclamation.

Vancouver School District Fort Vancouver High School students celebrated Taste Washington Day as their 1st Annual International Harvest Day in their garden.  Students and staff brought potluck dishes made with veggies and fruit grown in their garden.

Seattle Public Schools served a Washington-grown lunch featuring Palouse lentil sloppy joes from Columbia bean Company, with a variety of local foods.

lentils from Moses Lake Cucumbers from Auburn and Nectarines and red peppers from Wapato
A sign promoting the local offerings in Seattle.

Cascade School District served Cloudview EcoFarms fingerling potatoes and fresh salad greens from Hope Mountain Farm in Plain.  They also posted farmer posters and menus to celebrate.

Monroe School District served a local salad from Willie Green's.  Later in October, they are also hosting a lunch with a Willie Green's farmer.  Bonus: an article from a farmers market event the district held in August - (look down the page a bit!)

Sign from Monroe Cafeteria with words: Willie Green's Organic Baby Greens with Washington Apples and Apple-Shallot Vinaigrette Sign from Monroe School District's Taste Washington Day

Ephrata School District served sliced apples and fresh pluots from American Produce Express in six schools.  Two elementary schools visited Cloudview Farm for farm field trips.

Wahluke School District served an assortment of fruit in elementary, junior, and high schools, including pears and apples from Tonnemaker Hill Farm, nectarines from Magana Farms, apples from K&C Farms and pluots from American Produce Express.  Diane, the nutrition director, wore a pear costume and visited K-2 students.  October menus promoted Taste Washington Day and National Farm to School month.

Taste Washington Day 2013

Taste Washington Day 2013 was once again a popular event! We’ve heard from a few folks about enthusiasm, events and press coverage around the state for Taste Washington Day. See below for some great articles.

Pe Ell:
Washington Schools celebrate state-sourced food
– Capital Press
Pe Ell Students Have Lunch with Governor’s Wife
– The Chronicle  (requires subscription)

Fresh fruit and produce rules in local schools, Wenatchee World

Nibble and learn:  Students get taste of local produce – Everett Herald

Whatcom County: School menus to feature locally grown foods as part of Taste of Washington - Lynden Tribune

Did your school or district or farm participate in Taste Washington Day? 
We’d really like to hear from you. Send descriptions, pictures, simple bullet-point lists, or news articles to us here at


Taste Washington Day 2012

Spokesman-Review - Washington produce featured on school salad bar

goskagit - a celebration of local produce in Skagit's schools

Capital Press – 1) Taste Washington Day puts local food front and center; 2) Busy cafeteria serve Washington foods

Chinook Observer - Naselle marks Taste Washington Day (radio) – 1) WSPC Commissioner Elected & Taste Washington Day; 2) Celebrating Washington Agricultural Diversity

 Bellingham Families (blog) - Taste Washington Day

 Liberty Lake (KXLY) - Local foods coming to school cafeterias today  Andy Billig, representative for the 3rd legislative district in Spokane, says this project is not only good for students, but business as well. “Healthy meals with fresh, local food improve student learning and student health while also helping local farmers,” Billig said. “Farm-to-school programs create a healthy community for all.”

Bellingham Herald - Taste Washington at Skyline Elementary

Seattle Public Schools (District's own publication)

Participating Farms declare Taste Washington Day a satisfying way to bring the fruits of their labor to their communities and children around the state:

“We are proud to be able to serve our school districts. We are an apple farm and they are the perfect market for our small apples.”
- Eastern Washington Apple Grower


Last Updated: 8/29/2018