Can't beet a farm visit

Chioggia beet.As the Garden City Harvest PEAS Farm Caretaker, I get the pleasure of chatting with the vast majority of farm visitors. The folks that stop by range quite a gamut.  Some are regularly scheduled, others early morning surprises. There might be a tyke towed along in a bike trailer or a senior visiting our farm site after purchasing produce from the Youth Harvest Mobile Market truck. This week, I’ll share with you one story from these early season visitors.
The spring and early summer at PEAS means field trip after field trip of grade school, middle school, and even high school students. Each group is lead by Jason Mandala, our Community Education Director, and Katie Mikelsons, our School Gardens Coordinator. They lead youth of all ages from the chicken coop to the pig pen to a very important stop at our hoop house for a beet and carrot tasting.

One Saturday morning, while the farm was fairly quiet (aside from me and a couple of University interns helping out with the watering), a father and his son rolled in the PEAS gate on their bicycles. As I greeted them, the dad let me know his son, had a question for me.

“What would you like to know?” I asked his son, a boy I’d guess is about seven.

He responded, “What kind of beets do you grow here? I was on a field trip and we got to eat beets.”

“Oh,” I said, “That was probably a Chioggia beet, that’s the variety. Was it swirled with red and pink on the inside?”

It was.

His father then offered, “He liked it more than any other beet he has had, where could we get some?” Aside from buying a PEAS CSA share, I guessed he might find this variety at the trusty ol’ Good Food Store or by asking around at the farmers market.  More so for the father’s sake than the sons, I told the boy, “Even though those beets look different than the beets that are just red, they actually taste pretty much the same. Maybe you just like raw beets more than cooked beets.”

The dad quickly mentioned that “Well he liked the beets I made last night, and they were cooked.”

Looking squarely at me, the son sharply answered his father, “No I didn’t.”

This conversation was not too surprising for me after hearing stories from other parents who want to know “Just what you did to that kale that made my kid love it so much?”

I can relate to what this young generation is feeling. Watching my food go from seed to a full plant and harvesting it fresh before dinner does make it taste better. So does eating it right off of our just dug from the ground. So stop by for a walk around PEAS some Saturday afternoon, we can say hello and you can take a look at what your kids are raving about.