Your classroom crop has grown abundantly. The kids are excited to harvest and taste the fruits and vegetables of their labor. Now what?! Here are some tips for making your classroom garden tasting run as smoothly as possible, allowing the kids to enjoy the harvesting and tasting experience during the class garden time!
The key …do prep work before you take the students to the garden.
- Paper towels/squeegee – to wipe down the tables
- Hand wipes or sanitizer – for the kids before tasting
- Small paper plates, napkins, Dixie cups or Large trays – (see photos)
- Dressing (e.g. Ranch) – only if you want something for dipping
- Bags – for take-home harvest
Some supplies might be in the shed behind the white lattice and adjacent to the school building.
- A day before your class comes out, pull part of the harvest. Leave the rest for the students to pull. Prepare the food they will taste, such as washing dirt off and cutting if necessary. Or, if you have a “fragile” crop such as lettuce, you may consider prepping on your garden visit day, an hour or so before the students come out.
- Shortly before the students come to the garden, wipe down the tables and prepare all the plates/cups of vegetable or fruit samples. Plates or Dixie cups are helpful for vegetables so you can pre-pour the dressing. Distribute the plates around the tables where your students will eat.
- Depending upon the dynamics of your students, you can do this tasting with the entire class brought out together at one time.
- Divide your group into two: one to harvest (and put their winnings in the take-home bag), and one to sample the harvest at the table you have set up already. Then switch the groups about halfway through. If there is not enough crop for each student to harvest a take-home sample, one of the groups could do garden maintenance while the other group is tasting.
- Leave the bags for take-home harvest near the entrance gate to the garden, so the students can pick them up on the way out.
Hopefully the tips above take some of the guesswork out of a classroom tasting. Make the tasting as elaborate or simple as your schedule allows. Most importantly, have fun! You will be amazed at what the kids will taste knowing they have grown it themselves!