Oh, what fun Elaine and Michael had biking to the Wednesday afternoon Farmers Market in downtown Boulder. First stop was our community garden plot to turn the water on for our garden beds. Then we were off, Burley in tow to spend our $75 of delicious nutritious “veggies bucks” donated by Boulder County’s “Farm to Early Childhood Education” program. Our initial strategy when faced with all the bountiful beautiful options of the harvest produce was a nice stroll through the market to consider prices, longevity of the food, quality, interest, and uniqueness. All of these points played a role in our decision-making, as well as the ingredients needed for recipes for our upcoming cookbook. Our contemplative time paid off; we were ready to shop.
Sugar Pears, so delicate, a child’s hand would be larger than the miniature fruit.
“Bubble Gum Plum”…what preschool teacher would pass up that rhyme, not to mention the color and the promise of fresh sweetness.
Romanesque Broccoli…if you don’t know what it looks like, google it now and stare into the sacred geometry of nature’s fractal patterning.
Mini English Cucumbers that feature thin skin and are seedless. Broccoli florets already cut from the main stalk, perfect for hummus dipping preschool snack. Nature making less preparation work for us in the kitchen, we’ll take it.
Last week, for Palisade Peaches from the Western Slope, you say? …say no more, “Large bag, please”.
Hakurei Turnips for pickling… don’t mind if I do. These will make a great addition to our garden grown carrots, radish, dill and parsley pickling recipe.
Five bulbs of Garlic for our Fall garden bed planting; check.
Our Farmer’s Market Goodies were artfully displayed in ceramic bowls for our Harvest Display. Children were offered oil pastels and a nice weighted paper for a Still Life Drawing Experience. The experience was accompanied by classical music. Teachers wrote the exact names of the produce varietals, so that we could educate parents who may not be familiar with the names.
The carefully drawn produce will decorate our classroom walls and then they will be dated and filed in individual children’s “Memory Books”. This experience of seeing, smelling, tasting, drawing, decorating can be cherished for posterity and with our hope and blessing for lifelong health and a relationship to healthy eating.
PROMOTION OF TRYING NEW FOODS
To bolster children’s courage to try new foods, we offer a bowl of pearls at the end of snack. If a child tries a new garden fresh goodie at snack, that child can place a pearl into our counting bowl. At the end of snack, we count how many pearls, we collected for that snack offering. Each day, over the past couple of weeks we have observed a growing excitement for this ritual. One child, regulating herself asked, “I tried the spinach dip for the first time yesterday. Does that mean I shouldn’t put the pearl in the bowl today since it’s my second time?” (P.S. teachers the answer is always, “Do you want to put the pearl in?” Let the child decide.)
We call our Pearl Counting Bowl our “Pearl of Wisdom” Bowl because wisdom comes from trying new things.
ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE
Thank you, dear local farmers for growing beautiful food for our young citizens without poisoning our earth and water supplies with toxic chemicals.
Thank you, Boulder County Health Department for piloting “Boulder County Farm to Early Childhood” program aimed to make a difference in the alarming, rising rate of childhood obesity and Type 2 Diabetes. Thank you, Children House staff for growing, caring, researching child friendly recipes and prepping and cooking delicious, healthful food options. Last year, a three-year-old child, told us after six months of being every day in our preschool, “I don’t eat McDonald’s anymore and I feel better.”
Let’s all dig in and be a part of the solution.