Thursday, May 24, 2012

The next generation of strawberry lovers

I spent yesterday afternoon getting mobbed by 3rd graders climbing over each other (and, at times, me) to find the picture of a strawberry on the seasonal food poster, count the number of green berries on the demonstration strawberry plant, and tell me how much they loved the juicy red berries that were in their lunches that day at school. Yes, it was the annual DC Farm to School Network's "Strawberries and Salad Greens" day at Tubman Elementary.

Lettuce was a harder sell. And, oddly, the demonstration plants I had were harder for the students to identify.
"What is that one?" I'd ask.
"It's a plant, " they would answer.
"Yes, what kind of plant?" I would push a little further.
"A plant with leaves." Yes, well.
"Well, most plants have leaves. We usually use these leaves in salad. Can you guess what kind of plant it is?"
"A salad plant." Not an eyelash batted.
"It starts with an 'L'," I'd offer.
"It's lettuce."
"Lettuce! Hey, it's lettuce! Can I have my sticker now? I want to go get some more strawberries."

I think we're going to have to work a little harder on cultivating salad eaters. Maybe they'd like some of the strawberry-laden spinach and kale salads we've been making at the Columbia Heights farmers' market lately. Yep, I think local strawberries are the portal to a lifetime of loving fresh fruits and vegetables.


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