The Daily Dirt

FoodCorps Friday- Taste Test

FoodCorps Friday- Taste Testpy17-headshot-dasia-harmon

By Captain Planet Foundation service member, Dasia Harmon


Learning through tasting, both in the classroom and in the garden, has been a fun way to teach kids about fresh fruits and veggies. Taste tests aren’t just my favorite, students and staff members love them too. I’m constantly getting requests to cook up something new and delicious.


The students at Fred A. Toomer Elementary kicked off the year with a school wide taste test.  We sampled fresh kale (with a wee bit of ranch) and sticks of beets.

Most students said that kale tastes like salad, and the size, shape and color of the beets reminded some of a less healthy snack called “Takis.”


Along with students, teachers and some of the other adults took a risk and tried fresh beet sticks for the first time. They were immediately satisfied by the fresh sweet flavor.


Heading into February, the students began to harvest mustard greens from their school garden. We added the fresh greens to Go, Grow, Glow sticks. Starting at the base of the stick was a slice of whole wheat bread, then a cherry tomato half, a fresh slice of the home grown mustard greens, and finally a chunk of mozzarella cheese.dasia2 dasia3

Learning the health benefits of each part of the stick encouraged students to try each part. They learned that “go” foods will give them energy to do all of their favorite tasks, “grow” foods will make them strong, and “glow” foods will keep their bodies well.


The garden tower at Beecher Hills Elementary is flourishing in the science classroom with lots of leafy greens. The STEM teacher and I decided to use some of the basil growing on the tower to make basil pesto with SWAG club (Student Wellness and Gardening).


Students were divided into groups and given a special task. Some measured, some harvested, others grated the cheese and so on.


As everyone finished their task, we made a toast with our toast slice, and tried the basil pesto simultaneously. Many students claimed “It tastes like pizza!”


Everyone was proud of the outcome and was eager to share the recipes with their families. Some students were so eager they hand delivered samples to their teachers around the school to show what they prepared!


Basil Pesto Recipe:dasia4

3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup of pinenuts
2 oz of fresh basil
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Toasted whole wheat bread
Using the vitamix, pulse the garlic and pinenuts together until well chopped, then add the basil. Pour in the olive oil. Pulse in the parmesan cheese. Finally, spread on a thin layer to your favorite bread, and it’s ready to taste! (Salt and pepper can be added for flavor).


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