Three moms organized an Apple Tasting at Templeton Middle School. Here’s how we did it:We sat down with Kim to discuss ways/things that we could actually do to promote healthful snacking/eating as well as promoting and celebrating the local food growers/producers in our area – all without moving heaven and earth and the California legislature.
We committed to organizing various food tastings at some of our district school sites. Kim suggested that we call upon a fantastic resource, the North County Farmers Market Association, for donations of the food. Since it was autumn, it made the most sense to start with an Apple Tasting. We chose Templeton Middle School as our first trial site, since all three moms currently have kids at that site.
Mom #1 called Sandra Dimond, the contact person for the North County Farmers Market Association. Sandra happily agreed to deliver to us several different varieties of apples for the kids to taste – her only request was that we send a letter (attached) in the mail for her board of directors to have in their files. Next, Mom #1 called Jackie Bobsin, the school district’s Food Services Manager, to get her on board and to choose a date. She made a couple suggestions and was very helpful and flexible. We chose a Friday during lunch period at the school, about two and a half weeks into the future. Next, Mom #1 called the teacher of the “Leadership Class” (basically the TMS Associated Student Body leaders) to request some volunteers from the class to “serve” the apple samples. Absolutely, he said; five students volunteered immediately.
Once we had a date nailed down, Mom #2 created color promotional posters to hang at the school, color informational brochures, and an online “press release” about the event for the TMS website. These materials included photos of local apple farmers, nutritional information about apples, and specific info about the six different varieties of apples the students would be sampling.
Mom #3 used her connections with the SOS/PTO organization to get four volunteers (other moms) to come to the school cafeteria about an hour before the tasting and core, slice, and arrange the apples on large trays.
The event was a great success. We moms and the volunteer moms made short work of slicing and organizing the apples on trays. The cafeteria staff at TMS was accommodating and kind. The ASB “servers” showed up and happily carried around the trays of apples. The student body was excited to try the apples and talk about the different varieties’ distinct flavors and textures. They ate ALL the apple samples, and were positive and encouraging about doing something similar in the future with other fruits or vegetables. (Sandra Dimond of the North County Farmers Market Association had said she would be happy to continue to provide donations from local farmers of in-season fruits, maybe even some that the students were unfamiliar with, for future tastings.)
We moms had also discussed the possibility of having, in conjunction with the Apple Tasting, an “Apple-Gram” promotion by which students could send an apple with an attached message to, say their favorite teacher, or “the apple of their eye,” but we didn’t have the lead time to make this happen. But there’s always next fall!