Seventh graders learn about local, healthy food

Students seated at tables give thumbs ups and thumbs down after a taste test.

Mr. Feeney’s seventh grade health and Mr. Diehl’s technology classes were able to learn about healthy eating and farm-to-table philosophy earlier this fall thanks to Foster Supply and A Single Bite.

This is the third year that Liberty Middle School and A Single Bite have partnered to teach students about local food and healthy nutrition.

During the series, the students had two in-class lessons, took a trip to Sprouting Dreams Farm and ate lunch at the Arnold House.

A student looks at a bite of food on a plate as another student writes on a piece of paperDuring the lessons, educators from A Single Bite talked to students about real vs. processed foods and talked about health and nutrition related statistics for New York state and Sullivan County, noting that Sullivan County’s rankings are slowly improving but still have far to go.

The students were offered three healthy snacks prepared with local, fresh ingredients. Students were encouraged to take one bite of each snack and describe the taste, texture and more. The reaction to each bite was mixed. Some students took a nibble and shook their heads, while others took larger bites. Some gave thumbs up and finished eating, others placed their snack on their plates, waiting for the next one.

A student picks some greens.At Sprouting Dreams, Eugene Thalmann educated the students about locally grown produce, starting your own business, importance of farms and offered samples. “The mustard plant at Sprouting Dreams farm was spicy but tasty,” student Miles Harman said.

People pick berries from a treeIt wasn’t just the produce that caught the attention of students.

“Farmer Eugene’s flowers were pretty and he gave us a lot of good information about life,” student Sophia Vasko said.

“Loki the farm dog was adorable and made the tour more fun,” student Alena Tarabichi added.

At the Arnold House, students were provided a meal that was served family style made with locally and regionally grown products, including a first course of an autumn salad of leaf lettuce, dried cranberries, red onion, feta cheese and apple cider vinaigrette, a second course of herb roasted chicken with gremolata, seasoned fingerlings potatoes and seasoned broccolini, and a dessert of chocolate pudding.

Students cheers with glasses at a tableStudents discussed the taste, smell and texture of each course.

“Those were some good potatoes; the seasoning was great,” student Adele Gulley said.

“The broccolini was perfectly cooked and well seasoned,” Joseph Certo added.

After each course, the chef shared with the students where the food came from and how it was prepared.

“The students and staff enjoyed themselves during the experience and are looking forward to next year already,” Feeney said.