On October 28, I did my first taste test at North Fayette Valley High School. I knew that my time with the students would be brief, but I still wanted to leave them with knowledge they could use. So I chose to make spinach smoothies! Going into winter, there would be fewer fresh local produce options, but spinach is harvested later into the year. Having them incorporate more spinach into their diets is a good way to keep them thinking local through the cold months. Plus, the school was eager to lend me their special smoothie machines (which I found out are just blenders that aren’t used for anything else)!
Students were excited to try the smoothies for many reasons: some were still hungry after lunch, some claimed to love spinach, and still others were just happy that it was free. Whatever the reason, about 80 students tried the smoothie and many took recipes or requested a second serving. They ranked it an average of 4 on a scale of 1-5. The most common comment was “This is actually pretty good!” Was there any doubt it would be?! I couldn’t convince them to shake the word “actually”, but I’ll take what I can get.
The moment of the day came not from a student, but from one of the cafeteria workers who tried a cup. She admitted that her health was lacking and that her doctor had told her to cut back on fatty, processed snacks. It was the first smoothie she’d had in a long time and it put them back on her radar. She took a recipe too, excited to go out and take the first small step towards better health. I can’t be sure how much of a difference I made to any of the high schoolers; it was good to know that I helped her.