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Farm to School
Farm to School
Posted on 12/20/2017
Rolling hills in NC's farmland. (Photo Courtesy of Brasstown Beef.)By: Benjamin Rickert, Communications Department

If you’ve eaten at the upscale restaurants in downtown Asheville, or on the estate of a certain gigantic privately owned residence, there’s a good chance you’ve had the locally grown Brasstown Beef of Ridgefield Farm. Western North Carolina and the Asheville area are regionally known for a strong commitment to locally sourced, natural, healthy foods, and people travel from across the country to enjoy our restaurants.

Now, Buncombe students and families are thrilled that Brasstown Beef is being served in a Buncombe County Schools cafeteria near you! A new relationship between the school system and local farm ensures that students are getting fresh and healthy options served every day, and it’s yet another way that BCS is raising the bar in school nutrition.

Mr. Steve Whitmire stands in the A.C. Reynolds Cafeteria.On Dec. 14, a local news camera followed Brasstown owner Mr. Steve Whitmire to A.C. Reynolds High School, where his product had been skillfully cooked into a nutritious meatloaf, complete with sautéed onions and topped with a sweet BBQ sauce. Students helped themselves and surrounded the entree with steaming carrots, mashed potatoes, apples, a roll and side salad. As students waited their turn in line, Mr. Whitmire — in his large-brimmed, black cowboy hat — greeted them and provided sample cups of the delicious meatloaf. He chuckled warmly as a few students familiar with his farm requested his autograph. School staff stood nearby with one of them complementing the chefs, saying the dish was “actually better than meatloaf I’ve spent fifteen dollars on downtown.”

“We are literally giving our cattle everything for perfect health- the right amount of everything,” Whitmire said. “And that is absolutely key to everyone’s health.”

Brasstown cattle are always out on the pasture, according to an informational brochure.

“Since we never give Brasstown Beef cattle antibiotics or added hormones, we also mix probiotics, cinnamon, kelp and garlic into their ration for optimum animal health,” the brochure reads.

The BCS School Nutrition Department has led the charge in making the school system one of the nation’s healthiest places to learn, and in making BCS the largest food provider in Western North Carolina. Earlier this fall, the USDA gave Buncombe County Schools 42 awards of excellence, with only 91 such awards given nationwide to date in 2017.

“It’s gratifying because I know what [Buncombe County Schools] is doing to try to make sure that the kids get what they need to be able to absorb the intellectual information that’s being imparted to them in their classes,” Whitmire continued. “That’s what it’s all about. If you’ve got healthy bodies, then you’ve got healthy minds.”

Buncombe County Schools is in the process of reviewing its website to ensure compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Buncombe County Schools does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its education programs or activities and is required by Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and federal regulations to not discriminate in such a manner. This requirement extends to admission and employment. Inquiries about the application of Title IX and its implementing federal regulations may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator and/or the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. The Title IX Coordinator's contact information is: Shanon Martin,, 828-255-5918, 175 Bingham Road, Asheville, NC 28806.

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