Earth Day-inspired menu highlights a sustainable grain for school lunch

Pomptonian Food Service partnered with N.J. school districts to educate students about sorghum and sample a recipe.
Toni Bowman (L to R) partnered with Lanier Dabruzzi of United Sorghum Checkoff and Palisades Park Jr./Sr. H.S. Principal Jillian Romero for the kickoff. / Photos courtesy of Pomptonian Food Service

Pomptonian Food Service kicked off Earth Day at Palisades Park Junior/Senior High School in Palisades Park, N.J., with a special lunch featuring sorghum.

On the menu last Thursday was Cowboy Caviar, a Texas take on salsa. The dish traditionally combines black-eyed peas with tomatoes, bell peppers, corn, onions and other vegetables and spices. However, Bowman added sorghum to the mix to boost nutrition and highlight sustainability. 

All this week, the recipe will be served across the 109 New Jersey school districts managed by Pomptonian, reaching 125,000 students.

Sampling sorghum is just a small part of the initiative. Toni Bowman, Pomptonian’s director of nutrition, is also educating students about the ancient grain.


 cowboy caviar
Cowboy Caviar made with sorghum will be offered to 125,000 N.J. students.

Her presentation explains how the sorghum plant conserves water, as 91% of sorghum’s acreage is rain fed and requires little or no irrigation. It also builds soil health and improves air quality by removing carbon from the atmosphere and storing it in the soil.

On the nutrition side, sorghum is a whole grain and a valuable source of 12 essential nutrients. It can also substitute for rice or quinoa in a recipe.



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