Farm Fresh Fridays introduce students to new veggies, healthier eating at home
Posted on 12/08/2017

Fresh organic yellow squash, $1.09 a pound. Fresh organic zucchini, $2.48 a pound.

Getting students to eat these vegetables?

Priceless.

 
 

The Copperas Cove Independent School District Child Nutrition Department is embarking on a new program to encourage students to try new vegetables and increase their fruit and vegetable consumption at home and at school.

With the help of the Texas Department of Agriculture, students throughout the district have an opportunity to explore fresh produce from local farms and companies in their school cafeteria.

Farm Fresh Friday was celebrated for the first time in the district at Fairview-Miss Jewell Elementary School where a colorful produce stand enticed students to try raw pumpkin, zucchini and yellow squash.

Many of the students said they had never tasted some of the available vegetables and had not seen them up close. Students Darby Bell and Rylie Sansom said they were eager to try some of the vegetables and get a sticker to put on to show that they had tried the vegetables from their tray that day.

“I tried the zucchini and I had not tried it before,” Bell said. “I thought it was a cucumber and I really liked it because it had a kick to it.”

Students even experimented with the vegetables and dipped them in sauces and paired them with other foods from their lunches.

“The squash tasted a little bit sweet. It’s good with ranch dressing,” Sansom said. “It’s my first time eating squash and it was actually pretty good.”

Child Nutrition Production Procurement Clerk Amy Santagate said Farm Fresh Friday is a way to engage students in eating a healthy diet, making healthy choices and incorporating a variety of fresh foods in their meals each day.

Melissa Bryan, the director of Child Nutrition, said the program is a good way to introduce students to vegetables they may not have been previously exposed to. “I am interested in getting the kids to use the vegetables they learn about and taste through the program to make a vegetable soup at the end of the year,” Bryan said. “I want them to see the produce and to see the whole product so they can recognize it in the grocery store.”

Farm Fresh Friday, designed to improve the health and nutrition of CCISD students, will be set up in a different school cafeteria each Friday introducing new fruits and vegetables each week.

Student Savanna Stuart liked all three new vegetables she tried for the first time.

“It was good, but the squash was the best. The green, the zucchini one, was strong,” Stuart said. “The squash was amazing, astounding and wonderful. I think I might try it again.”