Monday, November 30, 2020

Celebrate National Pear Month this December!

As the cold weather starts to set in and the hustle bustle of the holidays start to wear us down - fruit is a great way to not only tempt our taste buds but boost our immune systems. Did you know that pears offer more fiber than most fresh fruits - 6grams! The AEA Purchasing market basket offers a variety of fresh pears, bulk sliced and diced pears, as well as the popular favorite...mixed fruit cups...with pears, of course!

General Mills has provided a few standardized recipes below to assist all of our member school districts in putting the spotlight on pears as well as a few of our market basket favorites (Gold Medal Whole Grain Variety Muffin Mix, Parfait Pro Vanilla), taking the celebrations to the next level of deliciousness! 

Don’t forget to share your celebrations on social media using the #pearmonth and with AEA Purchasing for the opportunity to have your foodservice showcased on our Twitter feed and possibly in an upcoming blog!   

Not an AEA Purchasing Cooperative Food Member?  We would love the opportunity to talk! Email

Monday, November 23, 2020

Vegan Options from AEA Purchasing Food Partners

With approximately 78 million people worldwide consuming only a vegan diet, November (National Vegan Awareness month) is a great time to familiarize yourself, your staff and your students on the vegan products you may already be serving in your cafeteria or a GREAT time to try something new! There are several reasons that a person may choose a vegan diet, with environmental impact, taste and health being just a few. 

Are you looking for ways to celebrate National Vegan month?  Why not try one or two of these great suggestions: 

  • Incorporate more plant based food to the menu.
  • Host a plant based tasting.
  • Raise awareness and support a local vegan option.

Additional vegan product information from AEA Purchasing's food partners can be found below.

Check out these vegan friendly recipes from Dole showcasing their popular mango cubes -- individually quick frozen and chef ready!

General Mills has shared a market basket List of vegan Gold Medal flours

Affinity Group Midwest has shared a market basket list of vegan items for your reference. 

This month, try something new! Being a vegan does not mean you have to only have to eat lettuce!

And if you do try something spotlighted in a blog, remember we would love for you to share the results. Who knows? You may be the next blog talking point. 

Not an AEA Purchasing Cooperative Food Member?  We would love the opportunity to talk! Email  

Monday, November 16, 2020

National Cranberry Day

 National "Eat A Cranberry Day" is celebrated on November 23rd! To help you celebrate, here are a few fun cranberry facts and related product spotlights from our fabulous Food partners!

Cranberry Fact #1: Our neighbor to the northeast, Wisconsin, leads in cranberry production with over half of U.S. commercial production! Joining Wisconsin as top producers are the states of Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington. 

Cranberry Fact #2: We mostly find cranberries processed into products such as juice, sauce, jam or sweetened dried cranberries.

Cranberry Fact #3: White cranberry juice is produced from cranberries harvested after they are mature but before they turn dark red.

If your school is looking for cranberry products, check out these spotlights:

Our friends at Cherry Central are sharing this fun way to make even you littlest customers fall in LOVE with Cranberries. This Cranberry Granola Bar recipe combines hearty rolled oats, dried fruit and seeds. 

With the growing popularity (and need) for grab and go options in school foodservice, this FUN Holiday Bowl standardized recipe from Jennie-O could be a great addition to your menus this fall and winter!

Why not encourage your customers to try something new? Eat A Cranberry!  General Mills has shared a list of great recipes making some small additions to your favorites.  Gold Medal Whole Grain Variety Muffin Mix, Parfait Pro Vanilla, and CRANBERRIES, you could try the Apple Nachos or the Chia Berry Pudding Parfaits. Are you looking for a new “spin” to their favorite smoothies?? Try the Cranberry Orange Smoothies! Cranberries add something special to the Cranberry Apple Oat Muffins and the Cranberry Peach WG Rch Muffin Squares. I know, it is hard to decide which one you will try first!  

Serving this tasty toasted Cranberry Turkey Sandwich will brighten the trays of every lunchroom! Using turkey and hearty whole grain bread, cranberries will be the perfect sandwich topper this year! 

How will your school celebrate national "Eat a Cranberry Day”?

Not an AEA Purchasing Cooperative Food Member?  We would love the opportunity to talk! Email

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Proud to Live, Work and Play in Iowa!

One thing that is important to AEA Purchasing, is our desire to support Iowa and Midwest based businesses as well as those companies with employees who are proud to live, work and play in Iowa!

The following vendor partners, whom AEA Purchasing works with on a regular basis, are based right here in our great state! Click on the links to learn more.

Also worth noting are those partners that employ fellow Iowans and therefore contribute to the livelihood of our state.

Finally, the following partners are based locally in the Midwest, enabling our area of the country to grow and thrive!

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Food Is The Perfect Gift For The Holidays!

Preparing for the holidays can be a stressful time of the year,  whether that be at home or in your school kitchen. By enlisting our Foodservice vendor partners, AEA Purchasing can help by taking the stress out of menu planning for your in-person or grab-and-go customers. 

If you are looking to brighten spirits and excite your customers, consider using these easy to follow, standardized recipes for fun twists on traditional favorites!

Life is Short - Eat Dessert First! These delicious recipes are sure to tempt the taste buds of your cafeteria goers! Quick Mango Breakfast Rolls are a creative twist on a classic breakfast roll by adding frozen mango chunks and favorite holiday spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. The classic Strawberry Shortcake is very simple and uses frozen strawberries to make preparation easy. Find the Dole Holiday Recipes here

and what says tradition more than time with your favorite people and a golden brown turkey?  Your favorites with Jennie-O are helping to bring the traditions of TURKEY to the trends of the 2020 lunchroom!  Explore not one but TWO great recipes shared by Jenni-O using market basket and USDA favorites. Turkey, dressing and cranberries, oh my! The Gobbler Sandwich has all of the favorites -- sliced turkey, made from scratch stuffing, and cranberries nestled in a hearty, whole grain roll! The Ultimate Turkey Pot Pie recipe just makes you feel warm & satisfied.  This easy to assemble pot pie uses fully cooked shredded turkey, gravy, potatoes, carrots, onions and a quick homemade crust! 

Sometimes the best gifts are the ones that surprise us! How many of us grew up with a cheeseball or cheese tray at every holiday gathering? Why not incorporate those same traditions in your lunch menu this year? Looking to surprise your lunch line with a festive twist on CHEESE? Look no further! Land O Lakes has provided this great Ultimate Pimento Cheese recipe with a bonus step-by-step video!

As we wrap up the holidays, Hormel Foods shares a great idea to “wrap” your taste buds in fall favorites like green apples and red grapes, blending them into the hearty holiday favorite of oven roasted turkey. Wrap up your year serving this sure to please Turkey Apple Wrap!

Even for foodies, the holidays can be festive and fun! The team at AEA Purchasing hopes everyone enjoys spicing up their menus using great market basket products that your customers know and love! If you try one of these recipes in your kitchen, we'd love to hear your feedback. Share your photos and student reviews with us! We would love to see how you shared the perfect gift for the holidays --FOOD!  

For more information on AEA Purchasing's Foodservice procurement program, email