Montana Schools are Mooving Forward with Beef + Mushrooms


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.

  • The Montana Beef to School Project aims to explore what factors make beef to school programs successful and encourage the use of local beef in every Montana school.
  • Discover the creative ways that schools are working with producers and processors in Montana to procure local Montana beef.
  • Bring tested beef to school strategies to Montana communities through lessons learned from case studies across six beef1.

Utilizing The Blend in Schools

Three schools in Flathead Valley; Somers Lakeside Schools (District 29); Whitefish School (District 44); and Kalispell Public Schools (District 5) were open to a pilot project with the mushroom blend. Other objectives included:

  • Provide USDA IQF (Individually Quick Frozen) mushrooms to schools
  • Develop recipes specifically for locally raised (often grass-fed) Montana beef
  • Provide technical assistance using blend of local beef + mushrooms

Featured Recipes


Beef and Mushroom Burgers: Whitefish Public School – Recipe can be found on page 25 of the Case Study.


Italian Meat and Mushroom Meatballs: Somers Lakeside Schools – Recipe can be found on page 22 of the Case Study.

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

What’s Next

  • Introduce local beef + mushroom blend recipes to a state-wide audience at Montana School Nutrition Association
  • Support Mission Mountain Food Enterprises Center’s work to develop meatball (Montana beef and lentils + mushrooms) for school channels
  • Provide technical assistance for distribution of USDA IQF mushrooms through state child nutrition channels
  • Expand use of local beef + mushroom blend to other foodservice channels of Montana including higher education

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

1.  University of Montana, Moooooving Forward Together, Strategies for Montana Beef to School, to School Project Case Study Report.pdf