I’ll be honest—I’m not a big fan of winter. Sure, it’s sometimes nice: romantic walks through a light snowfall, quiet hikes through the woods, a good excuse to stay in bed all day. But, between the constant ice-scraping that my car requires and windburn, I’m over the whole “winter wonderland” concept by the end of January.
Most tragic of all is the lack of fresh fruits and vegetables. We’re all complaining about the overabundance of zucchini and tomatoes by the end of August, true, but by January, I’m really craving that sweet juice that cannot be contained and just runs down my chin. Mmmm….
There are some great options, though, when you still want to eat locally in the middle of winter. This month, our high school cross-age teachers will be highlighting yogurt during their lessons. And last week, I talked about it with Head Start students.
We began, as we always do, with a little movement. Those little ones can be a squirrely bunch, and little light exercise can do wonders for keeping their attention during the rest of the lesson. Since we were talking about dairy, I thought it was a natural leap for us to take a pretend trip to the dairy farm. We got on the bus and then got off, milked the cows, fed them, and cleaned up the barn, acting out the motions as the story was told.
We then read an abbreviated version of the Milk Makers by Gail Gibbons. It’s a great book, but a little too technical for preschool-age kids, so I just talked through the pictures with them. We talked about where milk comes from (all of them knew), and what other products are made from milk (stumped them on that one).
We then made yogurt parfaits with Country View vanilla yogurt, granola from the Oneota Community Co-op and fresh blueberries. Country View yogurt is made in Hawkeye, IA. Although there are still some children that are very wary of the foods that I bring in, most really enjoyed the parfaits.
What I really enjoy about the Head Start Farm to School programming is the amount of interaction the kids get to have with that month’s food. Every week, they try something new, and then they have a celebration with it the last week of the month. By the time they’ve reached week four, they’re probably not scared of the food anymore and may have actually learned to like it.