New fruit to debut for January Harvest of the Month program
January 5, 2009
Elk Grove Unified School District’s Food and Nutrition Services will spotlight fresh Mandarin oranges as the January 2009 Harvest of the Month.
The Harvest of the Month program, funded through the Network for a Healthy California and Kaiser Permanente, provides a box of farm fresh produce each month to all participating classrooms. The produce is studied and sampled by students in an effort to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables. The produce will arrive in classrooms on January 6 and 7, 2009.
Teachers participating in Harvest of the Month receive a monthly educator newsletter that provides information, curricular ties and activities for incorporating the Harvest of the Month into the core curriculum. In addition, students receive a newsletter to let parents know what they tasted in class and to provide a recipe to use the produce at home. Previously, students have made fresh salsa from tomatoes, explored persimmons and taste-tested dried fruit as part of the program.
During January 2009, a total of 603 elementary classrooms will prepare a Citrus Ambrosia Salad. A box of farm-fresh mandarins, grapefruit, and oranges will be delivered to each participating classroom by Food 4 Thought – a central valley produce company, along with vanilla yogurt, spoons and taste-testing cups to allow the entire class to participate in this harvest cooking activity.
“Cooking activities in the classroom are multifunctional,” said Anne Gaffney, a nutrition specialist for the district. “Not only do they reinforce core education goals such as reading, math and science, they also help develop creativity, teach teamwork and increase nutrition awareness. In fact, children are more willing to try new healthful foods when they have helped to prepare them.”
Throughout the remainder of the 2008/2009 school year, students will be exploring cabbage, peas, asparagus, avocados and peaches as a part of the Harvest of the Month program.