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Unpacking the Lunch Experience
Posted 9/22/22

What did you have for lunch today?

Chicken pozole!

BBQ chicken drumsticks!

Bean and cheese pupusas!

Carnitas burrito!

…and a favorite, beef hamburgers!


Students across the Napa Valley Unified School District started this school year with access to free, hot lunches prepared using the “scratch” cooking model. This means that NVUSD lunches are prepared with fresh, raw, local ingredients and only incorporate premade or precooked items when necessary.

This is explained in more detail in the image below.


This is possible due to recent facility improvements such as the construction of the central kitchen, finishing kitchens at individual school sites, and partnerships with organizations such as the Chef Ann Foundation. As NVUSD’s scratch cooking program evolves, more and more meals will be made exclusively from scratch, not just “speed scratch.” These partnerships and facilities allow great things to happen and ensure more equitable outcomes for students in the lunchroom by offering appealing, palatable food that can be tailored to student's unique cultural backgrounds, better control of flavor and ingredients, meals that are healthier and more cost-effective (as economies of scale are realized), and meals that utilize locally sourced products. It’s a win-win. 

Here are some fun facts about our lunch program.

  • NVUSD utilizes a speed scratch/scratch cooking model for lunch.

  • Students are provided a daily vegetarian option at lunch and have access to a salad bar every day!

  • Lunch is the focus of the central and finishing kitchens. 

  • All produce served is fresh and 98 percent comes from California.

  • Food is procured locally whenever possible.

To learn more, check out the menu or visit the NOSH website.