HealthBarn USA had a blast today with the NYC Hunter Elementary School kindergartners at Hilltop Hanover Farm, Yorktown Heights, NY.  We didn’t let the heavy rain put a damper on our trip today — everyone was prepared with rain gear to indulge in their healthy day!

Thank goodness for the two large greenhouses on the farm where the end of the season tomatoes are still providing us with a lot of fruit, check it out!

The first task was to pick up the rotten tomatoes from the ground and put them into the compost bucket!  We received so many yucks! that Stacey quickly came up with a different strategy.  Let’s pick the delicious fruit first, and then, in gratitude we can clean the tomatoes’ raised beds.  Everyone thought that was fair and off we went picking.  There were a lot of great questions from our youngest farmers that we wanted to share with you:

1) Why are the tomatoes dirty?  Since we are not shopping in a supermarket for our produce today, but picking tomatoes right from the vine in the earth — they are naturally going to be dirty — how cool is that?!

2) Can I eat my tomato right now?  Absolutely!  All of the produce grown at Hilltop Hanover is organic which means no chemicals or pesticides — Yum!

3) Brillant comment:  I think these tomatoes look so good that I’m going to bring them to Fairway (an amazing produce market in NYC).

We moved to harvest the bell peppers and here were the top questions:

1) Why are some peppers green and some red?  Bell peppers come out of the flower green first; and the longer they stay on the plant to ripen they will turn red, yellow or orange (it depends on the variety).  This was new information for parents, too.

2) Can I eat the seeds?  The seeds will not hurt you, but it’s better to “save the seeds” by drying them on a paper towel, and letting them sit in darkness over the winter in a dry place, so the seeds can be planted next spring!

We also played the HealthBarn USA seasonal food game and learned that eating seasonally tastes better, gives us more variety in our choices, it’s good for the local economy by supporting our local farmers; and it’s super good for the planet because our “good stuff” is not traveling far to reach us.  In celebration of our seasonal eating, we prepared and ate HealthBarn’s Pumpkin Pie Dip with Stacy’s Pita Chips — and all the students went home with the recipe, too!

What seasonal produce did you eat today?  Tell us because we want to know!

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