With farmers’ market board member Paula Herion at UpsideDown Farms helping us get the ball rolling, we’ve hosted some really fun produce tastings this summer. At least 70 kids, aged 1 years old up through middle school, have tried local fruits and vegetables, either at the market or at a local school.

We were suprised that a lot of younger kids liked raw beets. When they’re fresh and cut into chips or strips, they’re very much like a carrot. Persian cucumbers were also a popular alternative variety to the more common pickling and slicing cucumber varieties. Canary melons were also a very popular treat.
Kids2-sm Tasting-SE-Middle-Pres

Design a restaurant:

At our outdoor and in-class tasting sessions, kids were encouraged to think about how they would use the (mostly) raw vegetables if they were to run their own restaurant. They were encouraged to describe how they might prepare the vegetables and write down a list of their favorites (ideally to share with their parents).

Then, in small groups the kids came up with names and some visuals for a restaurant concept. They then pitched their ideas to the class and a panel of adults picked two favorite ideas. A really fun concept was “Dr Veggie” with the (paraphrased) slogan, “The place to go when you have a food emergency.” And a Dr. Who inspired logo.

Thanks to the vendors at the farmers’ market for donating produce and our volunteers for helping out!
Paula Herion, Jess Daniel (2016 intern), Josh Baxley and Tara Gilstrap.
Miller Farm, Twin Oak Farms, Correll Farms, Pruett Farm, Lee’s Fresh Flowers and Vegetables, and Lakeside Produce.

And thanks to our collaborators in the Rowan Public Schools FILM@6 program! A shout-out to site coordinators Melissa Ratliff (Corriher-Lipe) and Henry Diggs (SE Middle) who coordinated visits for 50 kids. The FILM@6 program is a selective program that helps students transition from fairly small elementary schools to much larger middle schools.

If you are a teacher or anyone else who would like to check out our veggie tasting/restaurant design activity, here’s what Danelle Cutting (NC Extension, Rowan County Center) and I put together:

Contact us if you’d like to put together an activity at your school, church or library in Rowan County. Or bring a group to the Salisbury Farmers’ Market.

Local Produce Tastings

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