That's a wrap! Today was my very last taste test of the month, and I'm happy to report that they have been an overwhelming success! Already students are recognizing my face and getting excited about what new foods I will be introducing each month.
This month I taste tested a green smoothie with our Harvest of the Month, Kale. Since many students kept asking "How did you make this?" "What's in it?" "How can I make this at home?", here's the recipe:
Blend the following until smooth:
I was honestly a little bit surprised at how many students LOVED the smoothie. After all, the color is Shrek green and made even some adults cringe. But I've discovered that Chicopee students are very brave when it comes to trying new foods. Granted, sometimes it takes a little persuading, but once the picky students see their peers enjoying a new food, they line right up to try it.
And try it they did! Almost every student in grades 3-5 at three elementary schools (Stefanik, Litwin, and Lambert-Lavoie) took a sample. And many asked for seconds! I actually had to turn kids away to make sure that there would be enough smoothies for everyone. That's not a bad problem to have.
Lots of kids were already familiar with kale, particularly since kale chips were recently on the menu. At Litwin Elementary, Cook Manager Debra Badger tries to prepare the chips nearly every other day because they are so popular with the students. I was amazed to find 4th graders coming up to me and proclaiming their love for kale. One student even wanted raw leaves to put on his salad!
Here are some notable quotes from my three elementary school taste tests:
-Greta Shwachman (FoodCorps Service Member)
Back in September, we received word that two young gentlemen, Zach and Francisco, were displeased with some of the lunch options at their school. They had created a survey and were reaching out to their peers to figure out a solution. We met with these students and were blown away by their professionalism and passion for food. They were blown away by our commitment to serving healthy, local foods and preparing meals from scratch. From this meeting was born the idea of creating a video project to inform students about the farm to school activities taking place here in Chicopee.
We are extremely excited to announce the launch of Project Food Awareness, which will highlight the work of ChicopeeFRESH through interviews with farmers, food service staff, and community members. Zach St. Laurent and Rachelle Lemieux (the project’s videographer) are the proud creators of this video project, and will be working on it outside of class during the school year. Here is the promotional video for the project, offering a little background for viewers and a preview of what’s to come.
Ryan Harb and I had the pleasure of taking Zach and Rachelle to the farm last Friday to meet and interview our farmer, Joe Czajkowski. Located in Hadley, MA, Czajkowski Farms supplies us with the majority of our local produce throughout the year. It was fantastic to witness the farmers preparing and packaging butternut squash for sale at Trader Joe’s. Can you believe our students eat the same squash that’s sold at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and other supermarkets? Pretty cool stuff! What’s even cooler is that the farm produced over three MILLION pounds of butternut squash this growing season! Amazing!
Zach and Rachelle had an awesome time visiting the farm, and Ryan and I absolutely loved helping out and witnessing firsthand the creativity and passion of these two students. We know that they captured some great footage of the farm, and we can’t wait to see what they come up with next! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more updates about #ProjectFoodAwareness! And in the meantime, check out our photo gallery and the slideshow below for photos of our farm visit.
Post authored by Greta Shwachman, FoodCorps Service Member '15-16.
The ChicopeeFRESH team is a group of creative individuals who are working to feed Chicopee students healthy, local and FRESH foods each day.