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The beet goes on ...

Kids try Mission Valley beets

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POLSON — As a toast for their roasted beet snack, Polson fourth graders raised their sporks and said, “Remolacha,” which is Spanish for beet.

Then the kids tried the beet pieces, roasted with just a drizzle of safflower oil until they were dark brown.

“They look like brownies,” fourth grader Zeke Burland said. 

Classmate Joseph Martinez said he wanted to try the dark red vegetable, but he didn’t know if he would like them. 

Nicole Jarvis and daughter Clara are farmers who own and work on Ploughshare Farm near Moiese where some of the beets were grown. Jarvis brought along a packet of beet seeds so the kids could see what a beet grows from — after adding soil, water, sunshine and nutrients.

One child described the rough seeds as “like a piece of cow cake that’s hard.” 

Nicki Jimenez, FoodCorps Service member, held up a beet, complete with the beet greens. 

After talking about what seeds need to become beets, the classes did some “beet” math. 

Jarvis explained that she thinks five beet plants per foot is about right. Then she asked how many beets in 200 feet. That question was easy peasey for the fourth graders.

So Jarvis and Jimenez thought up a tougher math question. 

“How many feet would we need to raise beets for the 500 kids at Linderman School?” Jimenez asked.

Students called answers, mostly the correct number — 100 feet. All the while kids were looking at their snack, wondering what it would taste like. 

Jimenez explained that roasting vegetables brings the sweetness out That’s exactly how J.B. Capdeville, fresh fruit and vegetable coordinator for Polson schools, likes the beets. 

Jimenez acquired the locally-grown snack from Mission Valley farmers, and Mission Mountain Food Processing Center cut the beets into chunks and roasted the veggie.

Jimenez reminded the kids about the “two bites club.” If a kid (like Joseph) was not sure about tasting the snack, he or she should try two bites. 

Also, Jimenez talked to the children about “don’t yuck my yum.” If a student doesn’t like the snack, another child may enjoy it.  Kids who don’t like the snack can say something like “I don’t care for that today,” or “Thanks, but no thanks” instead of “Yuck” or “I hate this.”

The program is all about building relationships between the schools and the growers and increasing kids’ access to fresh fruits, vegetables and meat, so children can grow up healthy.



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