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The Food Movement in Practice: Locally-Raised, Grass-Fed Beef is Served in New York City Schools

Flik Independent School Dining (Flik) and the Northeast Livestock Processing Servicing Company (NELPSC) work together to serve locally-raised, grass-fed beef to eight independent school communities in New York City: Dalton, Ethical Culture Fieldston, Horace Mann, Grace Church, Village Community School, Lycée Francais de New York, Friends Seminary, and Columbia Grammar and Preparatory.

The model is really quite simple. Flik places an order with NELPSC on behalf of the New York City schools it serves and then NELPSC hand-selects the animals from family-owned farms, works with a third-party USDA-inspected custom processing plant and delivers the cut and packaged local meats via refrigerated truck directly to the schools.

One collective order is placed approximately every other month with NELPSC. Depending on each school’s needs, they can order a full or half beef. A full beef carcass weighs approximately 600 lbs. and yields approximately 360 lbs. or 60% of usable meat and bones. With each order, the school receives a signed affidavit from the farmer attesting to how the animal was raised and fed, as well as a story about the history of the farm so that it can be shared with the school community for all to understand where the meat came from.

This is a perfect example of what the current food movement is all about: connecting farmers with their local communities to provide healthful food that is less taxing on the environment and our natural resources. And all parties benefit. Students and faculty get to enjoy healthful meat that comes from animals that are grass-fed and raised naturally without any added hormones or prophylactic antibiotics and livestock farmers from upstate New York are supported, allowing their farms and local economies to thrive. NELPSC makes it all possible by taking care of the middle steps, so that the livestock farmers can focus on what they do best…raising healthy animals.

Flik Independent School Dining Executive Chef Leon Stallone prepares the following recipe for The Dalton School community using natural, grass-fed beef and lamb raised on local upstate New York farms:

Meatloaf with Ground Beef and Lamb

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 lb. ground lamb
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 tsp. fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Crack the eggs into a large bowl and beat. Add the breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper. Add the ground meats. In a large skillet, sauté the onion, garlic, thyme, and oregano in the olive oil until the onions are soft and almost golden. Let it cool slightly and add it to the bowl. Add the Worcestershire sauce.

Mix everything together and place in a greased loaf pan, making sure to pack it down tightly. Bake for 60-65 minutes (cooking time will depend on size of meatloaf). Let cool for 5 minutes. Drain the fat and serve.

Flik Independent School Dining Executive Chef Erasmo Mejia prepares the following dish made with local beef for students at the Village Community School:

Seared Beef with Mushrooms and Onions

Ingredients:

  • 6 lbs. beef chuck or round
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 3 lbs. button mushrooms, cut in quarters
  • 1 large Spanish onion, diced

Directions:
Marinate the beef in the oil, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper overnight. Sauté the meat on high heat until cooked mid-way. Add the mushrooms and onions and cook to completion. Check for tenderness. Some water may need to be added while cooking.

About the Contributor: Rachel Begun, M.S., R.D.,, Principal of Rachel Begun Nutrition Communications, is a regular contributor to the NYC Private Schools Blog in the areas of food, culinary and nutrition education.

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