Trying New Tastes

Once a month, Cave Spring Elementary School students get a special treat – the chance to taste local fruits and vegetables that they might not have tried before.

In January, school volunteers showed up in the LEAP Kitchen to help cook sweet potatoes that were shared during the following day’s lunch. In February, kale was on the menu.

Taste-It events grew from a schoolwide wellness initiative begun in 2021 by Lakshmi Patel, a Cave Spring parent and pediatric dietitian at Carilion Clinic. Over the past two years, students have had the chance to try red and green bell peppers, a variety of apples, purple and green cabbage, red and green lettuces, strawberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, carrots, and radishes. The CSES PTA has worked with Jamisons' Orchard and Porterfield Run Farm, as well as LEAP.

“It has really been enjoyable to see the children try the fresh produce, sometimes for the first time, and to watch their reactions through the experience,” says Patel.

Interested in bringing local food into a classroom you work with? Reach out to for more information. For ideas of how to incorporate local food in the classroom, check out this farm to school website.

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