Parenting

Parenting Perspective: Locally grown snacks

Monday, April 23, 2012

"These are growing on the farm. If you came out to the farm you'd see hundreds of these little pea shoots," Erin Decou of Greener Partners told some third grade students recently.

Greener Partners' Seed-to-Snack program is bringing flavors of the farm into local classrooms.

Once a month, students including a group of third graders at East Goshen Elementary School in West Chester get a hands-on taste of what is growing at Pennsylvania farms.

The students got three taste tests during our visit, focusing on shoots and sprouts.

Based out of Media's Hillside Farm and the Longview center for Agriculture in Collegeville, the goal of Seed-to-Snack is to connect students to food that grows in our region and the farmers who grow it, and to learn that locally-grown, organic produce can be tasty as well as healthy.

"We see a lot of positive peer pressure," said Meg MacCurtin, the program's director. "So once they get into the groove of us coming in, they are into that mode of trying things and experimenting. We keep our recipes very simple, so we find they naturally like them."

A typical recipe: fresh asparagus sautéed in olive oil with a dash sea salt and natural maple syrup.

Asked to name a vegetable she found out she liked that she didn't know she liked before, third grader Marguerite Greulich answered simply, asparagus.

Students are encouraged to take the recipes home for their families. It's a fun way to get youngsters to at least give whole foods a try.

Asked what foods he was asked to try, third grader Jacob Rossin answered, "stuff that's really healthy for you. In other words, stuff I do not normally like." As the rest of the smiled, Jacob told us he still doesn't like the veggies he tried in class.

But the important thing is, he's trying different vegetables. After all, it can take children a dozen tastes before they actually LIKE a new flavor. So parents, keep introducing different healthy foods.

Read more Parenting Perspective blogs by visiting the Parenting Channel on 6abc.com.

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