Program gives Carson elementary students fresh fruits and vegetables

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal

When Jesus Vidro, 6, looked inside his snack packet before heading out for recess, he was happy with what he saw.

"Tomatoes, yay," he exclaimed. "I like these."

Every Tuesday and Wednesday, students at Empire Elementary School file through a line before the 10 a.m. recess to receive a helping of fresh fruits or vegetables.

"I'm really happy with this program," said Peggy Sweetland, special projects coordinator for the Carson City School District. "I'm thrilled all these kids are getting healthy snacks."

Through a year-long grant funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, all students at Empire and Mark Twain elementary schools are provided two fresh fruits or vegetables a week.

This week, they received a package with cherry tomatoes, sliced carrots and celery with dressing.

"They're tasty," said Trent Boatner, 7.

However, Arisbet Vasquez, said she prefers the fruit, like the red pears served earlier this year.

"I like it better because it's juicy," she said.

Sweetland said the servings vary from traditional selections, such as the carrots and celery, to more exotic fare.

Next week they will get to try Meyers lemons one day and yellow squash the next.

The fresh produce is ordered through the culinary arts program at Carson High School.

Instructor Penny Reynolds and her students prepare, wash, cut, bag and refrigerate the produce.

The culinary arts students also compiled fresh fruit facts that are posted throughout the two elementary schools at the end of each week to inform the students what fruits and vegetables they will be sampling the following week.

Briana Nunez, 8, said healthy eating is a habit she wants to continue as she grows older.

"So we can be stronger and have a healthy body and a healthier life," she said.


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