Students of all grades — and some teachers and parents, as well — had their palates tempted with exotic fruits and veggies that were rich in colors and taste last week during one of EPISD’s Farmers Market activities.
While the Clardy cafeteria served some tasty baked chicken nuggets, officials from Labbatt Food Services handed out trays of an array of what seemed like strange produce, including stringy and salty sea beans, bright-red dragon fruit and colorful purple cauliflower.
Labbatt, a food distributor for EPISD, sent representatives from San Antonio to explain the origin of the delicious and nutritious fruits and vegetables.
“I think this opens their eyes to new items and allows them to learn about new cultures and what other countries eat as far as fruits and vegetables,” said Eireanne Robertson, produce specialist with Labbatt.
The Farmer’s Market visited Clardy, Burleson and parents at Aoy elementary schools. The program is part of EPISD’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Program, which offers healthful snacks to students in selected schools twice a week in their classroom.
The taste of the tiny South African pineapple was familiar to them but paled in comparison to the size of the fruit easily found in local grocery stores.
Orange, purple and green cauliflower seemed unusual but the texture and flavor appeared not so different.
“I thought I wasn’t going to like it but tried it and it was delicious,” said second grader Abigail Valles, who initially thought the green cauliflower was broccoli.
Many students ate up all the samples while others left a few bites. One first grader, his mouth still tinted red and purple from the passion fruit sample, cleaned his plate.
When asked if there anything he didn’t like, he responded with a smile: “¡Me gusto todo!” (I liked everything!).”
Robertson found that most kids enjoyed trying the sea beans.
“They’re very salty and that’s why I think the kids liked them so much,” she said.
Labbatt’s samples sat among a display of even more unfamiliar fruits to give students a visual appreciation for produce such star fruit, kumquats, passion fruit and colored carrots.
“We really want to expose them to new items,” Robertson said. “I think they’re excited to see the other varieties that we brought to show them like the star fruit and the different colored carrots because they look cool.”