North Meets Southwest Chopped Salad

Our 2019-20 Northeast Farm to School Institute has officially kicked off with a three-day action planning retreat at the Coach Barn. The Institute is a cornerstone professional learning program of Vermont FEED, our partnership project with NOFA-VT. The Institute supports schools in designing and implementing effective, school-wide Farm to School programs— programs that create a culture of wellness, improve food quality and access, engage students in agriculture and nutrition education, and strengthen local food systems. Twelve school teams of school nutrition personnel, classroom teachers, school administrators, school board members, and community members arrived ready to connect the “3Cs” of their school: Classroom, Cafeteria, and Community.

In between the workshops, team planning sessions, learning journeys throughout the Farm, and presentations from local and regional partners (including Hunger Free Vermont; representatives from the Leahy, Sanders, and Welch campaigns; and the USDA), participants rolled up their sleeves and took on our first-ever Salad Competition! 

Their mission: to create a delicious salad inspired from a bountiful spread created by Chefs Jim McCarthy and John Patterson. Farm to School connects cafeterias to local food sources, which often allows school nutrition staff to be more creative in the kitchen; purchasing and utilizing local and in season foods requires more time and effort than planning menus based on prepared foods from cans or the freezer. By creating these salads on-the-spot, this activity test-drove this concept in a fun, hands-on way to prepare for the coming year. Lots of great salads were made, here’s one that rose to the top of the menu:

North Meets Southwest Chopped Salad



  • 3 cans black beans
  • 2 garlic scapes, finely chopped
  • 1 small cucumber, julienned
  • 2 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 6 small carrots, sliced
  • ¼C sedum, torn
  • 3-4 leaves kale, torn
  • ¼C cilantro, chopped
  • 3C leaf lettuce, torn
  • ½ head red cabbage, diced
  • Squash blossoms


  • 1 lime, juiced
  • ⅓C apple cider vinegar
  • 1C olive oil
  • 1t garlic powder
  • ½t Aleppo pepper
  • ½t crushed black pepper
  • 1t salt
  • 2T maple syrup


  1. Shake all the dressing ingredients together in a well-sealed jar until combined.
  2. Combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Pour dressing over and lightly toss to coat.

Posted by Sarah Webb

July 8, 2019

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