Local Beef Meets Mushrooms in Montana Schools

The Montana Beef to School Project conducted a comprehensive case study with schools, producers, and processors across Montana to identify the benefits, challenges, best practices, and gaps that exist for beef to school procurement models in Montana.

Three schools in Flathead Valley – Somers Lakeside Schools (District 29); Whitefish School (District 44); and Kalispell Public Schools (District 5) – were included in a pilot project utilizing The Blend as a strategic solution for bringing more beef to schools.


With the inclusion of products such as mushrooms and The Blend, schools found they could extend the amount of beef used, cut costs, increase meal variety, and broaden the nutritional profile of the meal to meet national school meal guidelines.

Schools Weigh in on The Blend

Montana Schools Success with The Blend

“Adding mushrooms to beef provides an additional serving of vegetables to a meal. Extending meat dishes with mushrooms is a cost saver, too. In taste tests, our students found the beef-mushrooms blends to be very appealing, juicy, savory, and palatable. When we served blended products, our participation numbers increased.” – Robin Vogler, Director, Somers Lakeside Schools

Montana Schools Success with The Blend

“Adding mushrooms to our burgers not only improved that delicious umami favor but also kept them very juicy all the way through service.” – Jay Stagg, Director, Whitefish School

Montana Schools Success with The Blend

“The Beef/Mushroom mix is a win-win for everyone. My grandchildren go to school here, and I am thrilled to be feeding them such a clean label meat without soy product fillers. When we are able to purchase the beef/mushroom patties pre-made, there will be no extra work for the cooks.” – Lorie Hafer, Director, Kalispell Public Schools

Find out how each district utilized The Blend, as well as key findings in the detailed cases history.

Discussion: What similar programs have your school districts implemented?