HAHRC Beats : Local kids go crazy over kale

HOLLIS DUNLOP watches as Mid Valley Elementary School kids sign a pledge to eat more fruits and vegetables, at the Oct. 24 Tasting Table event featuring pears.

Photo by Esther Smith.
HOLLIS DUNLOP watches as Mid Valley Elementary School kids sign a pledge to eat more fruits and vegetables, at the Oct. 24 Tasting Table event featuring pears.

By HOLLIS DUNLOP

“Mmm ... that’s really good.”

“What will happen to me if I eat it?”

“I LOVE KALE!”

Of all the comments I’ve heard from elementary school kids, the one that has surprised me most has been those three simple words: “I. Love. Kale.” Often followed by, “Can I have more?”

A partnership between the OSU Extension Office and Gorge Grown Farmers Market has begun bringing some new tastes to local school children in a program called “Tasting Tables.”

Volunteer adults arrive before lunch with an array of samples of a single type of produce — fruits, vegetables, and most recently, kale — encouraging children to take a taste adventure and learn about previously untried, healthy foods.

The goals of the Tasting Tables are:

n To highlight a fruit or vegetable once per month in each of the elementary and middle schools in Hood River county;

n To give Hood River County students the chance to try some local fruits and vegetables that they may not have been able to try before; and

n To learn the value of eating a healthy diet.

Students can track their eating adventure in Local Food Passports. The Passports show pictures of the Tasting Tables’ nine fruits and veggies.

In September we offered tomatoes. October’s pick of the month was the pear. In November, I was worried. How could I promote a veggie that I loathed as a child? What would it take for a child to enjoy eating something leafy and green?

The answer is, not that much. Baked kale chips are an easy way to get kids to eat this iron- and vitamin-rich veggie. They are also easy to make — please see the recipe below.

The vast majority of the kids at each school embraced new tastes with glee.

You’ll never know if you truly like something or not until you try. In fact, it takes most of us 12 tries of a food before we like it. So don’t give up if your first try doesn’t taste as good as you hoped. Our kids learn from us. So we can role model healthy eating habits for them.

The next months of the Tasting Tables will bring potatoes, winter squash, mushrooms, salad greens, peas and asparagus to the local schools.

Ask your kids about these foods. Offer them at home. We’ve taken care of the first taste for you. Just offer them 11 more times and you might just create a veggie lover!

n

Hollis Dunbar is a Jesuit Volunteer Corps AmeriCorps Member, serving with OSU Extension, Gorge Grown Food Network, FISH food bank and The Next Door Inc.

Baked kale chips

Ingredients:

1 bunch kale

1 tablespoon oil

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon garlic powder

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 325 degrees.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or spray lightly with oil.

Wash kale under cool running water.

With a knife, kitchen shears or your hands carefully remove the leaves from the thick stems and tear into bite-size pieces.

Drizzle kale with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning and salt.

Bake until the edges just start to brown but are not burnt; about 10-15 minutes.

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Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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