Explore, taste, and learn.
Louisiana Harvest of the Month is a downloadable educational program designed to make learning about fruit and vegetables easy, tasty, and fun! These ready-to-go materials are designed to help educators, nutrition staff, and farm to school advocates develop a successful Louisiana Harvest of the Month program. Learn more about these programs and take advantage of our versatile resources by exploring the tabs below.
The Louisiana Harvest of the Month program showcases locally grown foods in Louisiana schools, institutions, and communities. Louisiana Harvest of the Month cultivates a healthy food and farm connection by increasing students’ exposure to seasonal foods while also supporting local farmers. For each Harvest of the Month item, we have provided activities, recipes, and a wealth of additional resources to help teams implement a successful program. Through Louisiana Harvest of the Month, educators are equipped to offer students hands-on opportunities to explore, taste, and learn about the importance of eating fresh, local food.Sign up for Louisiana Harvest of the Month
Blueberries are a member of the Ericaceae family, also known as the heath family, which includes cranberries and huckleberries along with thousands of other flowering plants. They grow together on bushes in small clusters or groups. Blueberries are sweet in taste, loaded with nutrients, and widely famous for their health benefits as well as the variety of dishes to which they can be added.
Broccoli is a member of the Brassicaceae family, which also includes Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, kale and radishes. Broccoli is one of the most popular green vegetables, and one of the most versatile, too. We eat the flower buds of the plant before they bloom; the stalks are also edible but have a tougher texture. Broccoli can be prepared in so many ways. It can be steamed, boiled, microwaved, baked, sautéed, or simply eaten raw.
Full of tips, activities, recipes, and more for this delicious vegetable!
Cabbage is a member of the Brassicaceae family, also known as the cabbage, mustard, or crucifer family, which includes other cole crops like broccoli, cauliflower, collards, and radish. Cabbage is like the grandfather of veggies. It’s one of the oldest vegetables in existence. It is a cool-season, frost-tolerant crop that is widely adaptable to temperatures. It ranges in color from yellow-green to red-purple, and also comes in wrinkly-leaved varieties.
Full of tips, activities, recipes, and more for this delicious vegetable!
A catfish is a type of fish that has one or more pairs of whisker-like feelers by its mouth. These feelers, known as barbels, help the fish to taste and to feel. There are many species – including flathead, blue, and channel catfish – and a big range of sizes, from less than a pound to 100 pounds-plus. Louisiana catfish are found in waters including ponds, streams, lakes, rivers and backwaters.
Reading ListCalvin the Catfish by Calvin Carson (2018)Buy NowCatfish Kate and the Sweet Swamp Band by Elwood H. Smith (2009)Buy NowA Catfish Tale: A Bayou Story of the Fisherman and His Wife by Whitney Stewart (2014)Buy NowClarissa Catfish at the Peoria Playhouse Children's Museum by Haley Gray (2020)Buy NowClarence the Catfish Finds a Friend by C.J. Glass (2020)Buy Now
Citrus trees and shrubs are members of the Rutaceae family, also known as the rue family. They grow on trees, bushes, or shrubs. Trees in this family produce citrus fruits, including popular crops for Louisiana like satsumas, oranges, and kumquats. Citrus trees cannot survive in areas that regularly freeze, so production is concentrated along the Gulf Coast. Citrus fruits have a juicy pulp inside and a leathery skin. Their leaves can be used to make tea and add flavor to meats and other dishes.
Louisiana Harvest of the Month Video Series: Citrus
Reading ListWhen Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree by Jamie Deeniham (2019)Buy NowA Star in My Orange: Looking for Nature’s Shapes by Dana Rau (2006)Buy NowAn Orange in January by Dianna Aston (2007)Buy NowOranges to Orange Juice by Inez Snyder (2003)Buy NowNothing Rhymes with Orange by Adam Rex (2017)Buy Now
Cucumbers are members of the Cucurbitaceae family, also known as the cucurbits or gourd family. The group includes crops such as squash, watermelon, cantaloupe, pumpkins, and gourds. Cucumbers grow on long, creeping vines with fuzzy leaves. There are three main varieties of cucumber: slicing, pickling, and seedless. Cucumbers are annuals (with a life cycle of one year) that require a long, warm growing season. Tolerant of hot weather, many cucumber varieties are highly suitable to the Louisiana climate.
Reading ListThe Pickle Patch Bathtub by Fran Kennedy (2004)Buy NowCool as a Cucumber by Sally Smallwood (2005)Buy NowThe Spider and the Cucumber by Catina Harris (2018)Buy NowI Hear a Pickle (and Smell, See, Touch, and Taste It, Too!) by Rachel Isadora (2016)Buy NowCool as a Cucumber: And Other Expressions about Food by Bridget Heos (2012)Buy NowCucumber Soup by Vickie Leigh Krudwig (1998)Buy Now
The eggplant is a member of the Solanaceae family, also known as the nightshade family, which includes crops such as the Irish potato, tomato, tomatillo, and pepper. Eggplants vary in size, from as small as a walnut to a large, zucchini-shaped “black beauty” variety. Eggplant color varies as well, from white to dark purple, and some are even striped. Eggplant varieties are annuals (with a life cycle of one year) that require a long, warm growing season. Very tolerant of hot weather, many eggplant varieties are highly suitable to the Louisiana climate.
In the South when we talk about “greens,” we are referring to dark green, leafy vegetables that are cooked until tender and eaten warm. Greens have held an important place on the Southern table for over a century, and include collard greens, mustard greens, Swiss chard, and even kale.
Swiss chard is a member of the Chenopodiaceae family, also known as the beet family. Collard and mustard greens are members of the Brassicaceae family, also known as the cabbage family. Greens are a nutritional powerhouse and can be added to your favorite smoothie to provide extra nutrients without changing the flavor.
Lettuce is a member of the Asteraceae family, also known as the aster or sunflower family, which includes crops like the globe artichoke and endive, as well as garden ornamentals like sunflower, dahlia, marigold, and zinnia. This dynamic vegetable comes in numerous varieties and can be enjoyed in countless dishes, from salads and sandwiches to appetizers and more. Although romaine and iceberg are the most common types, many varieties exist — each with its own unique flavors and nutritional properties.
Mushrooms are the fleshy and edible fruit bodies of several species of fungi. Mushrooms come in many varieties; more than 38,000 are available. Unlike plants, mushrooms do not possess chlorophyll, which gives plants their green coloration, or root systems. Despite being mostly water (about 90 percent) mushrooms are sometimes thought of as the “meat” of the vegetable world. They are a low-calorie food that can be eaten raw, cooked, or as part of a larger meal.
Peppers or chilis, are members of the Solanaceae family, also known as nightshades, which includes crops such as the Irish potato, tomato, tomatillo, and eggplant. Peppers come in sweet varieties like bell peppers, and spicy varieties, which are also known as chilis. All peppers start out green and ultimately become sweeter and change color as they ripen. The main ingredient in Louisiana-style hot sauce, cayenne pepper, belongs to the same species as the bell pepper. Other common peppers used for hot sauce are tabasco and Habanero peppers, which are another species.
Shrimp are decapod crustaceans with long legs and a long body that has a hard casing. Boats pulling huge nets called trawls collect shrimp to be frozen or canned for restaurants and grocery stores. Shrimp are the most popular seafood eaten in the United States. They are also popular food in the water, where they are eaten by flounder, salmon, and other large fish. Louisiana leads the nation in shrimp harvest!
Strawberries are a member of the Rosaceae family, also known as the rose family, which includes the ornamental rose, along with apples, almonds, blackberries, cherries, pears, and raspberries. Strawberries are not considered to be an actual berry because the seeds grow on the outside of the fruit. In fact, strawberries are the only fruit that have their seeds on the outside of their skin. The strawberry is Louisiana’s state fruit and is one of the most popular fruits cultivated worldwide.
Reading ListThe Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher by Molly Bang (1996)Buy NowThe First Strawberries by Joseph Bruchac (1998)Buy NowStrawberries by Robin Nelson (2009)Buy NowSaving Strawberry Farm by Deborah Hopkinson (2005)Buy NowThe Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Audrey Wood (2020)Buy Now
Summer squash are members of the Cucurbitaceae family, also known as the gourd family, which includes crops such as cucumber, cantaloupe, watermelon, and gourd. Unlike winter squash, summer squash is eaten while the fruits are small and immature, with a thin, soft skin that is nutritious and edible. There are several varieties of summer squash, but the most well-known are the crookneck, patty pan and zucchini. Summer squash is a warm-season, frost-sensitive annual crop with many varieties ranging in color, shape, size, and taste.
Reading ListI Heard It from Alice Zucchini: Poems About the Garden by Jaunita Havill (2006)Buy NowThe Little Squash Seed by Gayla Seale (2002)Buy NowCarlos and the Squash Plant by Jan Romero Stevens (1993)Buy NowMrs. McNosh and the Great Big Squash by Sarah Weeks (2001)Buy NowZora’s Zucchini by Katherine Pryor (2015)Buy NowGrowing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert (2004)Buy Now
What’s in a name? People tend to call these vegetables “yams” and “sweet potatoes” interchangeably, but in the U.S. we really mean sweet potato. Yams and sweet potatoes are actually very different. Yams are an African/Caribbean-grown tuber, and sweet potatoes are a storage root closely related to morning glories, growing vines with purple flowers. Sweet potatoes are smooth, sweet, and much smaller in size with a moist flesh. They grow in warm, moist climates, and come in an array of colors including orange, white, or even purple. The sweet potato is Louisiana’s state vegetable and is one of the most popular vegetables for the holiday season.
Sweet Potatoes Materials
Full of tips, activities, recipes, and more for this delicious vegetable!
Reading ListLittle Sweet Potato by Amy Beth Bloom (2012)Buy NowSweet Potato Pie by Kathleen D. Lindsey (2008)Buy NowLittle Chef by Elisabeth Weinberg (2018)Buy NowIn the Garden with Dr. Carver by Susan Grigsby (2021)Buy NowThe Gigantic Sweet Potato by Dianne De Las Casas (2010)Buy NowSweet Potato Pete and the Green Garden Gang by Art Ehrens (2018)Buy Now
The tomato is a member of the Solanaceae family, also known as nightshades, which includes crops such as the Irish potato, pepper, tomatillo, and eggplant. Tomatoes come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, not to mention colors – all spectrums of the rainbow, from red to purple. There are even striped tomato varieties. With so many fantastic flavors to choose from, it’s hard to pick a favorite. Today, the tomato is the most commonly grown crop in a home garden, and each American eats a yearly average of 23 pounds of processed tomatoes (e.g., ketchup, tomato sauce).
Reading ListLittle Yellow Pear Tomatoes by Demian Elaine Yumei (2005)Buy NowWhen Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons by Julie Fogliano (2016)Buy NowRunaway Tomato by Kim Cooley Reeder (2014)Buy NowTomatoes Grow on a Vine by Mari Schuh (2011)Buy NowTomatoes by Robin Nelson (2009)Buy NowI Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato by Lauren ChildBuy NowFirst Tomato by Rosemary Wells (1992)Buy NowBig Red and the Terrible Tomato Hornworm by Cynthia Wylie (2018)Buy NowOur Community Garden by Barbara Pollak (2004)Buy Now
Watermelon is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family, also known as the cucurbits or gourd family. This family includes crops such as cucumber, cantaloupe, squash, and gourd. Watermelons prefer hot, dry climates and can grow well in Louisiana if planted in well-draining soil. Watermelons are almost entirely water, which makes them a refreshing treat on a hot day. They are also loaded with nutrition, making them a perfect snack.
Reading ListA Seed Grows by Pamela Hickman (1997)Buy NowThe Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli (2013)Buy NowOne Watermelon Seed by Celia Lottridge (2012)Buy NowSpit N’ Good Seeds by Barbara Wiese Harris (2014)Buy NowVietnamese Tales of Rabbits and Watermelons by Masao Sakairi (2006)Buy NowWatermelon Madness by Taghreed Najjar (2018)Buy NowWatermelon Party by Jasmine Cabanaw (2014)Buy NowWatermelon Wishes by Lisa Moser (2006)Buy NowWatermelon for Everyone by Martha Rose Woodward (2011)Buy NowWatermelon Day by Kathi Appelt (1996)Buy Now
Winter squash are members of the Cucurbitaceae family, also known as the gourd family. Acorn, butternut squash, and pumpkin are examples of winter squash. Unlike summer squash, winter squash is harvested and eaten in the mature stage when the seeds within have matured fully and the skin has hardened into a tough rind. They can also be stored for longer periods of time and eaten later during the winter season; hence the name winter squash. They are generally cooked before being eaten, and the skin or rind is not typically eaten as it is with summer squash.
Reading ListSophie’s Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller (2013)Buy NowSeed, Sprout, Pumpkin, Pie by Jill Esbaum (2009)Buy NowHow Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? by Margaret McNamara (2007)Buy NowPlanting Plumbing: A Book About Roots and Stems by Susan Jane Blackaby (2003)Buy NowPumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper (2005)Buy NowMrs. McNosh and the Great Big Squash by Sarah Weeks (2001)Buy NowGrowing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert (2004)Buy Now
The resources and guides below are designed to help educators, nutrition staff, and farm to school advocates develop a successful Louisiana Harvest of the Month program.
Offering local foods to students in the form of taste tests and on school menus, along with school gardening and educational lessons on nutrition and agriculture, has proven to be an effective way to increase students’ interest in healthy food, expand taste palates, and develop lasting healthy eating habits. Planning and promotion of farm to school activities is important to the success of these efforts, and these tools will help throughout that process.Sign up for Louisiana Harvest of the Month
Louisiana Harvest of the Month Promotional Flyer
Learn more about the Louisiana Harvest of the Month program and how you can integrate it in your school!Download Overview
Louisiana Harvest of the Month Tool Kit
This tool kit will help guide you in using the resources available to implement a successful Louisiana Harvest of the Month program. Learn how to integrate Harvest of the Month into curriculum, engage families and the community, and spread the word about what you are doing.Download Tool Kit
Harvest of the Month Calendar
The Louisiana Harvest of the Month product cycle calendar will help you choose a product to suit your needs and match the availability of items across the state.Download Calendar
HOM 101 | Cafeteria – Food Service
A guide to using Harvest of the Month in cafeterias.Download Cafeteria Guide
HOM 101 | Classroom – Educators
A guide to using Harvest of the Month in classrooms.Download Classroom Guide
HOM 101 | Extension – Nutrition Educators
A guide to using Harvest of the Month in extension programs.Download Extension Guide
HOM 101 | Producers – Food Business
A guide to using Harvest of the Month with producers.Download Producers Guide
Harvest of the Month Lessons
Our compendium contains Louisiana standards-based lessons, books, and videos on each of our Louisiana Harvest of the Month items. This resource is perfect for teachers who want to incorporate Harvest of the Month into the classroom. Find all of the Harvest of the Month lessons by product on the Seeds to Know page according to grade levels. Create an account to easily bookmark and save the lessons you love or want to teach in the future!Seeds to Know
Taste Test Guide
If you want to learn more about how to conduct and evaluate a taste test, this tool is full of tips for organizing a successful system in your school. Use the Taste Test Guide to set up a taste test system that works for you.Download Taste Test Guide
School Guide for Local Food Purchasing
If you are wondering how you can get local food into your school, then you’re in luck! Use this guide to learn about procurement rules as they apply to local school food purchases and how to help increase school districts’ use of local and Louisiana-grown foods for meal and snack programs.Download School Guide
What’s in Season? Louisiana-Grown Produce Seasonality Chart
This chart features the peak availability for all fruits and vegetables typically grown in Louisiana. For child nutrition staff, vegetables are separated by the vegetable subgroups to aid in incorporating meal pattern requirements.Download Seasonality Chart
MarketMaker is an online platform for agricultural growers and producers as well as their customers. It allows its users to connect and network with one another and paves the way for producers to reach new markets or buyers to connect with local suppliers.
Similar to other social media sites, MarketMaker is completely free and provides its users with unrestricted access to all of its functions. For example, the highly detailed search function allows consumers looking for agricultural goods and services to find these by conducting statewide as well as more specific parish-wide searches. A consumer looking for strawberries can find farmers who grow and sell strawberries and display their locations on an interactive map.Step-by-step instructions on how to search and find local producers