Students in the Yarmouth public schools have been eating fresh, local eggs regularly for about a month. Each Tuesday a local farmer delivers about five dozen eggs for the school nutrition staff to use in each of the schools' cafeterias.
Incorporating fresh ingredients in the school lunch program is routine for the district (see "Lunch Money," by Deirdre Fulton, October 7, 2011), but the farmer in this case is more exceptional.
His name is Ethan Hunt and he is a 12-year-old sixth grader at the Frank Harrison Middle School.
Ethan and his parents Rick and Liz started to raise about 30 backyard chickens about four years ago. Since the chickens produce about a dozen eggs a day, the family sold the eggs to their friends and neighbors.
But a month ago, Ethan contacted Becki Schreiber, the director of the Yarmouth schools' nutrition program, to ask about selling the eggs to the school.
Schreiber was instrumental in creating the district's school garden a few years ago and uses the produce in the lunch program. Purchasing Ethan's eggs was a natural fit."We are so thrilled to use Ethan's Eggs," Schreiber says. "When it comes to supporting local farmers and eating local foods, Ethan's eggs are about as local as it gets."
Schreiber uses the eggs to prepare the ever-popular egg salad, hard-boiled eggs for the salad buffet, and in recipes for other food made in the school kitchens.
Ethan's interest in chickens and local food may come from Rick, who grew up on a dairy farm. Rick said he finds it amazing that some children don't understand the farm-to-fork connection.
"It is critical the next generation understand the concept, and Ethan's Eggs will help make that a reality for some students," he says.
While he likes to feed and care for the chickens, Ethan is also interested in geocaching, fishing, and hunting. He said he wants to continue providing his classmates with fresh eggs until he goes to college. Most importantly, Ethan wants people to know more about where their food comes from.
"(Students) really don't have any idea where they are getting their food — so this is a way to show them where some of their food comes from," he says. "Eventually, more kids will know that they are eating local eggs, not just some random eggs from the grocery store."