Locally Grown Strawberries Produce Chesnut’s First Schoolwide 100% Tasting Rate

Visit any classroom in Chesnut and you will be looking at some super SUPER fresh eaters. super super fresh jpeg

March’s Farm to School lunch item — Georgia-grown strawberries — was well loved by all the kids. So much so, that for the first time since the Chesnut Changers began promoting the locally grown monthly food, they reported that in all classes, every student who had strawberries, tried them! That is a success for the Ecology Club’s Farm to School promotion, but better yet, a sign that our kids are really enjoying fresh fruit.

In fact, some of the students needed reassuring that these strawberries would not be steeped in a simple sugar syrup, as the fruit has been served in the past. One 4th grader who had declared in the lunch line that he would not be eating those, later at his lunch table happily held up his chosen fresh strawberry to show he was glad to take a taste — if it was the real deal.

Several of these discerning young eaters even commented that the strawberries with white at the top had a tartness to them, while the all-red ones were sweeter. We discussed why that might be, tying it into what we had learned about colors during our November Farm to School Nutrition lesson, “Tasting a Rainbow of Plants.” Considering that the fruit’s color develops as it ripens, they correctly guessed that the white-topped strawberries were not as mature as the all-red ones.

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Chesnut Wins Gardening Grant Just in Time to Fund 3rd Graders’ Presidential Campaign

Anne Marie Walkup, Erika Peltier and Nakailey Jackson for Chesnut President!

These third grade Chesnut Changers want “a bigger garden so the lunch ladies will have fresher food to cook for the kids.” And they are not afraid to get their hands dirty planting it! 2013 F2S if I were pres

Kitchen Gardeners International to the rescue! Today they listed Chesnut Garden as one of their Sow It Forward full grant winners. They must agree with these young ladies that this program is worthy of presidential attention, because they selected Chesnut as one of 50 winners out of 925 applicants from 48 states and 11 countries.

The grant includes $300 cash, $200 garden supply gift card, $55 worth of seeds, a book and one-year subscription to KGI Garden Planner. Thank you KGI!

We plan to use the money to fulfill the wish of fifth grade teacher Timika Howard, who thought of using geometrically shaped raised beds as math teaching tools for area and division. Whether or not they are elected to School President, Ms. Peltier, Ms. Walkup, and Ms. Jackson WILL soon have a bigger Chesnut Garden, where as fifth graders, they will decide what to grow in their new beds. Though they won’t make it into the lunchroom because of county regulations, their crops could certainly become another math lesson, as the students measure quantities in a recipe, for a delicious snack they grew themselves!

Snow Peas in Winter, English Peas in Spring

Last month, Ms. Radford’s 1st graders came out to the Chesnut Garden to taste the snow peas.  They paired up, one child cutting the pea off the vine and the other cutting it into two pieces so they could each have a taste.

Soon after, it was time to plant more peas (of a different nature). All four Kindergarten classes and the 4th and 5th grade collaborative class came out to the garden (in the sprinkling rain!) to each push one English pea seed into the dirt.

Garden Leader Carissa Malone showed them how the snow peas were growing as a trellised vine, and explained how English peas grow differently, forming small bushes. She also pointed out that while we shell English peas (opening the pods to eat the seeds inside), we eat the entire snow pea pod.

Mr. Chicoine’s Kindergarteners were given the important job of delivering a large bag each of the Swiss chard harvest and parsley harvest, to Principal Veronica Williams and Assistant Principal Lloyd McFarlane, both strong supporters of Chesnut’s gardening program.