Hudson’s two Head Start classrooms will now receive daily lunches prepared by chefs Tommy Carlucci and Kathy Silliman who recently joined CCRK.  Tina Sharpe, executive director of Columbia Opportunities, announced the partnership saying: “We were not entirely satisfied with the quality or quantity of the meals provided by our former caterers, especially after our teachers reported that the children weren’t eating their lunches.  We knew that CCRK was offering fresh, healthy and high-quality foods with much of it donated by local farms and producers, and reached out to them.”

The result!  Five days a week, Head Start children, some as young as two years old, are eating lunches prepared in the CCRK kitchens and picked up by Head Start staff.  But before the school year even began, chefs Carlucci and Silliman sat down with Head Start teachers to discuss what food children like but more importantly, what they disliked!   Not only that, they prepared sample meals for the staff to taste.

As Sharpe points out, for many of the children, this is the first foods they have eaten that has not been prepared at home and for some, this is the main meal of the day.  The big takeaway, which according to chefs Carlucci and Silliman is universal, is that young children do not like mixtures or even foods that touch.  “For instance,” says Sharp, “the kids like spaghetti and they like meatballs but they will always be served separately.”

The hope is that the Head Start/CCRK partnership will expand to the other four Columbia County towns, Chatham, Taconic Hills, Valatie and Philmont.  “We are so pleased to expand our reach, “says Carole Clark, one of the founders of CCRK, particularly for young children who don’t always have access to local and fresh foods. This is a win win for everyone.”