Tasting New Things | Juan Cabrillo

JuanCabrillo_July8_4

My students at Cabrillo are eager tasters when it comes to introducing them to plants in their garden. I usually don’t have to twist their arm — metaphorically speaking, of course — to taste something new. The kids regularly eat chocolate mint, lettuce, kale (of different varieties), cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower and nasturtium. More recently, they have become obsessed (no exaggeration!) with a hearty perennial that successfully grew over the summer: common sorrel. It’s been great because while we were waiting for the tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers to ripen earlier this semester, we’ve had something simple to eat!

It’s extremely entertaining for me to watch a kid taste sorrel for the first time — to see their expression of distrust as I hand the leaf to them, despite their fellow classmate encouraging them to eat it. “What does it taste like?” the student will ask, hesitating to put the leaf in their mouth. “You tell me,” I’ll respond, with a chuckle. After another moment, they’ll bite the spinach-looking leaf, chew it for a couple seconds and then exclaim suddenly, “ah! it’s so sour!” while involuntarily dancing around. Then a wide smile will appear on their face and they’ll ask, “can I have some more?!?!” Since then, this vegetable has been deemed the “sour plant.” 😀

The kids have been eating the sorrel so frequently that the plant looks a little naked. So we’re taking a break for a couple of weeks to taste something different in the garden. Next up on the winter menu – dino kale and lettuce!

a student tasting nasturtium flowers

Hope Cox

Hope is an urban farmer, garden educator and foodie transplanted from Tennessee to SoCal in 2014. She hopes to move out of the big city one day to pursue the life of a sustainable farmer; but in the meantime loves to teach elementary kids about how food is grown, nutritious and tasty recipes and connecting with nature.

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