Minn. schools' frozen veggies provide local produce during winter

Kitchen staff processed food from school garden.

April 15—In the school cafeteria at Sibley East, in Gaylord, Minn., Joan Budahn and the three other women who staff the kitchen spent a good part of last summer chopping, pickling and freezing vegetables from the school's two-acre farm plot, which is tended by students.

They processed pumpkins, squash and green beans. They sliced 1,000 pounds of cucumbers, shredded 2,000 to 3,000 pounds of cabbage and blanched and froze 3,000 to 4,000 pounds of tomatoes, which arrived in tubs and the backs of pickup trucks.

It was hot, labor-intensive work, but preserving all that food meant Sibley East, an elementary and high school, could serve locally grown produce well into the winter and spring.