Mushroom Council announces winners of “Blend the Rules” contest

Thousands of students nationwide are enjoying fresh mushrooms and mushroom blended entrees in their school program – as evidenced by the dozens of entries submitted to the Mushroom Council’s “Blend the Rules” contest.
Launched in January, Blend the Rules encouraged K-12 school nutrition program coordinators to submit recipes and marketing ideas to demonstrate how their schools are creatively serving mushrooms to students in their lunch program.
Submissions included programs and recipe ideas such as “Build Your Own Blended Taco Bars,” supreme pizzas topped with mushrooms, French dip and Philly cheesesteaks smothered in sautéed mushrooms, salad bars piled high with mushrooms daily, and mushroom omelet bars. Marketing ideas included sampling events that featured teaching kids how to grow their own mushrooms. Many districts recommended introducing mushrooms into dishes familiar to students like pizza, steak sandwiches, salad bars and pizzas to more successfully encourage trial.
Winners were selected last week by a panel of 3 judges, Chef Samantha Gasbarro (Windham-Raymond School District), Dayle Hayes (School Meals that Rock) and Bart Minor (President, Mushroom Council), and will each receive grant funding to support Farm to School efforts. The grant also can be used to fund new produce item sampling, kitchen equipment or marketing materials.
Grand Prize Winner: 
Bethel School District: Fantastic Fun with Fungi: Blended low-sodium spaghetti sauce is now a student favorite recipe. Farm to School coordinator and students in Sustainable Agriculture class introduced shiitake mushroom logs and oyster mushroom bags. Marinated crimini mushrooms served. Combined foodservice with classroom learning with a culmination in Earth Day promotion. Used mushroom posters. Measured acceptance data. Incorporated fun facts, recipes, posters and waste research into promotion
Second Place: 
Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union: Student recipe contest, Blended Beef and Mushroom Nachos. Taste tests and added to the lunch menu.

Third Place: Marion Elementary – Allen ISD. Maverick Mushroom Madness Competition. Fuel Up to Play 60 Student Mushroom Recipe Contest.

“We were astounded by the quality of entries submitted to the Blend the Rules campaign,” said program judge Dayle Hayes, registered dietitian and representative of School Meals that Rock, an online destination celebrating school nutrition programs. “More districts are featuring fresh and USDA IQF (individually quick frozen) mushrooms to add flavor and versatility to their dishes, much to the delight of their students. This program demonstrates how school nutrition programs are serving upscale, delicious, creative meals to their students to promote the consumption of fruits and vegetables, especially mushrooms.”

Bart Minor
President & CEO 
The Mushroom Council
Tel: (650) 632-4250

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