Salinas Valley salad bar campaign rolls onSALINAS, Calif. — The Grower-Shipper Association Foundation’s drive for school salad bars in Monterey County, which has started to focus more on older students, paused momentarily for its latest donation — to Sacred Heart School.

The Salinas school serves children from transitional kindergarten to the eighth grade.

“We set out to fund a salad bar for every school in Monterey County and we’re just about there,” Margaret D’Arrigo-Martin, vice president of community development for Taylor Farms, said at the March 19 dedication. “We’re working our way up to middle school and high school now because we’ve been able to get most of the elementary schools who wanted a salad bar.”

She began the foundation’s I Love Salad program about 18 months ago when she was chairwoman of the Grower-Shipper Association of Central California.

“We rolled it out statewide last year and we’ve raised over $475,000 for California, and now we’re doing the Midwest,” D’Arrigo-Martin said, referring to the broader Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools campaign.

The local program has donated 30 in Monterey County and has a goal of 10 each year. “We’re applying for some local grants and U.S. (Department of Agriculture) grants to make that happen, and I’m sure the generosity of the grower-shipper community will continue,” she said.

Sponsors for the Sacred Heart salad bar include Taylor Farms, D’Arrigo Bros. Co. of California, Mann Packing Co., Tanimura & Antle, Steinbeck Country Produce and Blazer Wilkinson.

The school plans to have it available to students Monday through Wednesday this year and extend that next year.

“Other companies will be donating seasonal produce to our salad bar for the rest of this year and next year,” a school spokeswoman said.

“A lot of the companies are donating produce to Sacred Heart and other schools,” D’Arrigo-Martin said. “The Grower-Shipper Association tries to be a produce solution for the schools by linking them up with growers so that they can get product locally. Sacred Heart wants to buy all their produce locally and have it all fresh. No frozen and no canned.”