Summertime in North Carolina means an abundance of amazing tomatoes, berries and peaches. I always look forward to the July 4th weekend in Raleigh, when we can forage and pick blackberries and if we miss them, we can pick them in the NC mountains the first week of August. Picking blackberries and eating blackberry pie are a favorite childhood memories of mine.
Children learn best from modeling and real life experiences. Rather than telling our children “fruits and vegetables are good for you,” we can teach them this concept by offering them fruits and vegetables, modeling eating a variety of foods, and teaching them about produce. Learning where food comes from and, maybe even seeing our food growing, can be fabulous education and exposure for children. Check out my post The Berry’s Journey: Learning Where Food Comes From. It includes a list of ideas of how to teach children about where their food comes from. Also, in case you missed it, here is a video lesson I made for upper elementary aged students about the Edible Parts of Plants. This lesson plan can be shared with educators in your life and includes handouts and downloads.
Learning Through Experience
Nutrition education isn’t just for the classroom. Visiting u-pick farms and roadside stands and foraging, can be fabulous ways to learn about what’s in season and how produce grows, and expose children to fruits and vegetables. An added benefit is you are also supporting your local economy! Exposure without pressure is the best way to help children expand what they eat! Picking fruits and vegetables can be a great way for children to be exposed without the pressure of eating what they pick. However, not everyone can visit a u-pick farm. In my post, Picky Eating If Pressure Doesn’t Work, What Does? I discuss many ideas, including picking fruits and vegetables, to help support your child in expanding their food choices.
What’s in Season?
When teaching children about nutrition, a developmentally appropriate topic is learning about what produce is in season. Many of us live in a food environment where we can buy most produce year-around. Summer is a great time to teach children what is in season, what that means, and maybe visit a farm or road side stand to learn more.
Here in North Carolina, “Got to Be NC” Agriculture created this chart showing what months certain foods are in season in this state. You may be able to find a similar chart for where you live through your Cooperative Extension or state supported agriculture. Or, Check out the Seasonal Food Guide App. This app has compiled information from state databases.
What is in season for you right now?
In NC, July and August offers an abundance of variety of produce. We’ve pulled together our recipes of our summertime in season produce. What’s in season where you are?
- Berries: Mixed Berry Cobbler – And Other Ways to Serve All Those Berries You’ve Picked
- Sweet Corn:
- Watermelon: On the go Summertime Snacks