Students enjoy salmon for lunch


January 29, 2015

Diana Zimmerman

Charles Pascoe is pleased with his salmon lunch Tuesday at Wendt Elementary School.

Students at Julius A. Wendt Elementary School and John C. Thomas Middle School got a treat on Tuesday when the local Washington State University Extension Office and commercial fishermen got together to provide healthy and locally sourced salmon for their lunch.

"We want to give the students an opportunity to get a taste of good fish," county Commissioner and fisherman Mike Backman said. "We're hoping to do this once a quarter or maybe once a month. We'll see how it goes and how much fish we can come up with. We don't want the kids to eat it so much they hate it. But we'll do as much as we can as long as they're still wanting fish."

Backman and South Bend Products donated the fish, which was filleted on site and cooked by the staff in the school kitchen.

"Best salmon I ever tasted," Kayleigh Nakonsky, a middle school student told Backman on her way back to class.

Employees from the WSU Extension Office were also on hand.

Diana Zimmerman

Suzie Whalen organizes salmon portions for serving students on Tuesday.

Suzie Whalen and others have been involved in the school garden project and wanted to take advantage of the winter months to educate students about nutrition. The protein in Tuesday's meal was the first in a series of lessons that will include fruit, vegetables, dairy and grains.

"I've been talking to Mike about this since we had the farmers market last fall," Whalen said. "He was able to source the salmon and make a donation. Right now we are looking for a special source for dairy so we can cover dairy next month."

"It's amazing what we can do if we work together," she continued. "I actually work with SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. I have some goals to reach through that program. It's all about helping the kids make good choices and giving them the access to foods that maybe they haven't tried before."


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