Three members of the Regional School Unit 20 Food Service staff went on a field trip Thursday, Jan. 24, as part of the district's ongoing mission to add more locally produced food to the menu.

RSU 20 Food Service Director Perley Martin said the staff trip to Maine-ly Poultry in Warren and the State of Maine Cheese Company in Rockland included tours of the facilities and sampling of products made at both Maine-based businesses.

Martin said the aim is to establish relationships with local food producers and to find economical ways to use the nearly $80,000 the district budgeted last spring to add more locally grown or made products to the school lunch menu.

At the State of Maine Cheese Company, RSU 20 staffers Shirley Caler, Brenda Littlefield and Linda Harvey talked with owner Cathe Morrill about the different varieties of cheese that could be used as part of the district's existing recipes.

Prior to visiting the cheese company, Caler said, the group spent some of the morning at Maine-ly Poultry, where staff members were in the process of making a chicken pot pie with the locally raised and processed chicken.

"It looked really good," said Harvey.

Caler said visiting the poultry producer was interesting, because when she thinks of poultry processing it conjures memories of the larger-scale operations of the Maplewood Poultry Plant in Belfast, a business that closed down during the 1980s.

"It's just funny to see it on a smaller scale," said Caler.

Harvey said Martin sent the three staffers on the tour as a reward for attending classes and filling out the paperwork that allowed the program to gain an additional $14,500 in food reimbursements from the federal government.

"So now he's sent us out on this fact-finding mission," said Caler with a smile.