WACONIA, Minn. (WCCO) – When you think of farm-to-table food, you might imagine fresh produce or local meats.
But how about pasta? That’s what they make fresh every day at Waconia High School.
About 1,500 students pass daily through the cafeteria, which goes by the name “Café 110.”
Lunch costs $4, featuring fresh vegetables and local ingredients. Students love it.
“I really want kids to have a transparent experience of coming in and having amazing food,” said Barb Schank, the school’s nutrition director.
On a recent day, the pasta in the spaghetti was made in-house, using Martha, the school’s fresh pasta machine.
Martha is named after Schank’s grandmother, who used to make fresh pasta on the family farm.
“[Martha] can make ramen noodles, fettuccine, pappardelle, lasagna sheets,” Schank said. “We do all sorts of different kinds of ravioli.”
The flour used in the pasta is locally-grown in Belle Plaine. The raviolis are filled with local cheese and local spinach.
“Every school across our district, two different times a week, gets pasta off this machine in some style or fashion,” Schank said.
As far as she knows, no other school district in the country has a pasta machine like Martha.
Martha fits neatly into the school’s total nutrition program. The school also grows tomatoes, potatoes, strawberries and herbs in what it calls an “edible classroom.”
The school’s bakery even makes its own desserts, sneaking in healthy ingredients, such as oatmeal in the cookies or black beans in the brownies.
Most recipes at Café 110 come from the employees’ families.
“The heart of the school is the kitchen,” Schank said. “The biggest classroom in the school district is the cafeteria.”