Taher at Hiawatha USD 415 Schools

Taher takes over USD 415 food program

Taher Food Service Fruit and Vegetables

Students line up at the fruit and vegetable bar from which they are required to take at least 4 oz. such as a banana or a serving of baby carrots.

The beginning of the new school year brought a new food program to USD 415 as Taher Inc. now provides a variety of nutritious meals for all of the district’s schools.

The beginning of the day begins with a breakfast meal including cereal, whole grain toast with jelly, a grab ‘n go option such as a yogurt parfait and the main dish of the morning. In the afternoon, lunch has four main courses students may choose from: a different pizza option every day, a rotating option of chicken, hot dog or hamburger, a grab ‘n go option featuring a variety of wraps, sandwiches and salads and then the main entrée.

Sharon Gormley, district food service manager, is satisfied with the results of the past month.

“At first it was overwhelming dealing with all of the paper work and making sure everything went smoothly, but now it seems to have become a nice routine,” Gormley said.

During the summer Gormley was one of 244 food service managers flown to Taher headquarters in Minnesota for training. This is the first year all of the service managers met together in one place instead of individual districts.

The food program sends the district the menus for the month, and the district is allowed to tweak the main dish depending on their thoughts of what the students will favor.

“Although the new program is more work for us with all of the different choices and meals each day, I know the students enjoy the variety of food, and I think the participation of eating school lunch has increased this year,” Gormley said.

Once or twice a year the district will be visited by a Taher chef who will prepare a meal with the Harvest of the Month for students to enjoy. The Harvest of the Month changes monthly and features a fruit, vegetable and a grain or legume. These chefs travel the world to get new ideas and recipes.

District Food Service Director, Mary Clary, said that student participation in the new program will affect the potential savings for the district after switching to Taher.

“The companies who bid for the food service contract each proposed that the district would save money because more students would participate and the company could purchase food in bulk which would lower costs,” she said.  “If more high school students eat school lunch, it will help the bottom line.”

 After some adjusting, the high school students are getting used to the new options.

“I like the new lunch program better because there is more variety of choices, but sometimes it takes a while to serve everyone,” said senior Jordan Puvogal.

Junior Lauren Bent had a similar view on the new program.

“I enjoy this year’s lunches better than the previous years because the food tastes better and there are more options when you go through the line,” Bent said.

What’s new on the HHS menu?

  • Peruvian Beef Stir Fry over rice
  • Chicken Parmesan
  • Sweet and Sour chicken over Lo Mein noodles
  • Roasted Veggie Calzini
  • Salisbury Steak
  • Jicama
  • Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad
  • Veggie Foccacia
  • Chicken Fajitas over Mexican Rice
  • Pulled Pork on a Whole Grain Bun