Sharon Baird’s Thanksgiving feast included fresh roasted turkey breast, Yukon Gold mashed potatoes, homemade turkey gravy, fresh cranberry relish, whole grain dinner roll and green salad. Our reporter ate the sweet potato pie before he could snap a photo.

By Claud Mann

Today was a very special day for students in the Goleta Union School District. Thanks to Food Service Director Sharon Baird and her dedicated staff, every student at all nine schools enjoyed a cooked-from-scratch Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings.


Vince, Ezequiel and Sharon team up on the mashed potatoes.

This is Sharon’s 5th annual scratch-cooked Thanksgiving feast and it will be the largest served anywhere in Goleta. The final count was 3,208 total meals, including 376 paid adults and 135 volunteers.


Parent volunteers helped make the day possible at all nine Goleta schools.

For those of our blog readers fascinated by macro food economics, or with extraordinarily large families to serve on Thanksgiving, here is a quick prep list:

  • 880 pounds Roasted Turkey
  • 40 gallons Healthy and Delicious Homemade Gravy
  • 750 pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • 144 pounds Fresh Cranberries
  • 290 pounds Fresh Mixed Greens for Salad
  • 3040 Whole Grain Dinner Rolls
  • 475 pounds Sweet Potatoes for Sweet Potato Pie
  • 40 pounds Whipped Topping, give or take

According to Sharon, with a kitchen staff of 10, you should plan on allowing 88 man hours for prep and cooking, 54 combined hours for set up, service, and everybody’s favorite: clean up. Throw in 135 hours for volunteer servers and you’re good to go.

Speak softly and carry a big whisk

Speak softly and carry a big whisk.

Sharon asked us to give credit to her amazing staff: Joe, Jose, Margaret, Janie, Becky, Ramona, Jeanette, Vince, Ezequiel, all the volunteers plus a special thanks to guest chef Naomi from Orfalea Foundation’s School Food Initiative.


Sharon Baird and her team at Goleta’s central kitchen; still smiling after three thousand meals.

3 Comments » for Goleta Union School District Thanksgiving Feast Feeds Over 3,000!

  1. Janet STEVENSON says:

    Looking so delicious!! Sad I missed it this year, it is such a wonderful example of putting real food on the children’s (and many adults!) plates. Thanks, Goleta Unified!

  2. LUCI LUCIANO says:

    SHARON BAIRD works so hard at making sure the students get proper foods for their
    health. She is constantly improving the school breakfast/lunch programs.
    Her employees all love her as she is an amazing leader.

    Luci Luciano

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