Fresh Picks Café manages the intricacies of USDA requirements, food grants, and so much more

“The Inter-Lakes school district has been partnered with Fresh Picks Café, a division of Café Services, since 2002.

Fresh Picks Café has always been great to work with. They are always responsive to individual food needs, and we have very positive feedback from students, staff, and parents.

Students love it when Deedee, our food service manager, does pasta-to-order or stir fry-to-order specialty stations. She is always open to suggestions and likes to get students to try new foods and fruits. She does a great job doing special events, as well, for the school board. 

Over the years, USDA requirements have become much more precise and restrictive with regard to calorie content, sugar/salt content, as well as portion size. Fresh Picks Café saves me immeasurable time because they have the expertise and depth of knowledge needed to navigate the changes as they occur.

Five years ago, I was able to offer my recommendation to bring Fresh Picks Cafe into the Ashland school district. The team does a great job of introducing new types of fruits and vegetables to many kids who would not try them otherwise. Also, the district is the recipient of a federal free fruit and vegetable grant and Fresh Picks Café manages that, as well.

There are a wide variety of school districts in New Hampshire ranging from small to large, for us, Inter-Lakes has about 1,000 students and Ashland has about 170, and Fresh Picks Café manages both districts quite well in all areas.

I have recommended them to other school districts over the years because they know what they’re doing. They make school cafeteria service efficient and they understand the importance of providing tasty and nutritious meals for our students, so they can be ready to learn.”

Trish Temperino – Assistant Superintendent, Inter-Lakes School District (Meredith, NH) and Ashland School District (Ashland, NH)

The Fresh Picks Café team will turn themselves inside out to make things happen

"One great activity is that each month they have a taste-test day. It’s a try-a-bite way to offer new and different foods for kids to try. They’re proactively addressing the common conversation: ‘I don’t want to eat that! Have you ever tried it? Well, no. So, try it now.’ Everyone enjoys it.

Fresh Picks Café knows the nutrient requirements for different age groups. They build the menus, order the food, and offer a good variety of healthy and nutritious meals. I don’t have to worry about any of that.

They are great to work with and we look forward to our continued partnership with them.”

Kathleen Sargent – Business Administrator, SAU24

Fresh Picks Café is above and beyond the competition, with the quality of the food, the quality of the staff, with everything.

“The Barrington school district is K-8 and we’ve been partners with Fresh Picks Café since 2007.

I think our food director is probably one of the best people that works for Fresh Picks Café. We’re very lucky. She loves being here and she and her team are incredible. They love what they do and where they are doing it – and they are amazing with the kids, especially with how they get the middle school kids involved in helping with the menu, so they can feel vested in what’s going on.

If I worked closer to the school, I’d go there for lunch every day. The team does a fantastic salad bar, pizza bar, and build-your-own sandwiches. They have so many varieties and good things to choose from that it’s crazy.

An example of above and beyond is our food service director personally made carrot cakes, she makes a phenomenal carrot cake, for staff to buy. All proceeds went toward paying off negative balances for kids at the end of the year.

We are extremely happy. We never have any concerns about the quality of the food or the service. We know that everything that needs to get done, gets done, including monthly reporting to the NHDOE. They pay attention to every single little detail and know how to run the business. I don’t worry about anything.”

Vicki Drouin – Financial Manager, SAU74 Barrington School District

Successfully Balancing Nutrition, Health and Financial Requirements

"I have contracted with Fresh Picks Café for managing school district food service operations in three New Hampshire school districts since 1993.  They have successfully balanced the nutritional, health, budgetary and financial requirements, not as an outside contractor but as an extension of the school district operations.  They have been responsive to concerns, questions and special requirements of students, parents and staff.  They are viewed as part of our educational system and not as an outside contractor.

The Newport School District's goal of nutritional and healthy menus for students is the primary task in getting students ready to learn.  Fresh Picks Café has managed the food service operations in a professional and effective manner with proven results.  I highly recommend Fresh Picks Café to accomplish your goals and objectives for your food service operations."

Jim Vezina – Business Administrator