For many parents, getting their children to enjoy eating vegetables can be a difficult task to accomplish.
That wasn’t the case at Sierra House Elementary School on Wednesday.
Students at the school’s second annual farmer’s market walked around with half-eaten carrots in one hand and bags full of broccoli in the other. They lined up in front of booths covered in food to sample salsas, melons, jicama and more.
“They’re trying foods they might not have otherwise tried,” said Carey Galles, wife of Sierra House principal Ryan Galles and one of the organizers of the farmer’s market.
The market was set up on Sierra House’s front lawn and featured a variety of foods for students to take home with them. Bell peppers, cucumbers, oranges, pears, kiwis and watermelons were just a few of the items available to children at the school.
Carey Galles said the point of the event it to promote healthy foods and nutrition at an early age.
“We’re trying to expose kids to a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables,” she said, “and we have recipes and samples out here to try and inspire them.”
The event is also used to help educate students on where their food comes from and how it’s grown.
“It’s a new thing for some of them,” she said of the experience.
Parents and teachers organize the event using funds through a Vail Resorts Echo grant. They buy the food from a local grocery store or use donations from several local businesses, including Artemis Mediterranean Grill, Sprouts Natural Foods Cafe and Steamers Bar & Grill.
One parent, Michelle McLean, said the event has grown considerably since the first year, moving from indoors to the outside to create an atmosphere similar to a real farmer’s market.
Excitement from the students also seemed to be higher for this year’s event, she said.
“They are actually eating the stuff this year,” McLean said, pointing to a child who was chewing on a carrot.
Organizers hope to increase the scope of the event even more next year by offering a farmer’s market at the school, then following up with a bus ride to a real farmer’s market in town.
Until then, Ryan Galles said the program has been a welcome addition to the school.
“This is an event that has grown and grown,” he said of its creation. “It’s great to have it.”