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Elementary students in Union Public Schools try new fruits and vegetables every day

Posted at 11:44 AM, Sep 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-19 18:20:52-04

TULSA, Okla. — The Union School District is expanding the taste palate of its students.

A half-million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture allows the district to provide new varieties of fruits and vegetables to about 6,500 elementary students almost every day. We recently visited students at Ellen Ochoa Elementary School as they were trying a fruit known as pineberries for the first time.

“It tastes like a strawberry, but a little bit more sweeter,” said Grecia Fraire a Union 3rd grade student.

A pineberry is similar to a strawberry. They appear as a white and blush color and many describe the taste as a pineapple-like flavor.

“As soon as the teacher said they could try them, they put them in their mouths and you could hear them go ‘oooo’ and they said ‘this is good’," said Lisa Griffin the Union director of child nutrition. "They were excited and wanted more and we didn’t have enough to give them more but the ones that got it were just very excited about the taste of this.”

This program isn't just about trying the food. The district is also teaching the students why the food is good for them.

“They’re like really good for our brain so that we can learn more and she said it provides us with vitamin C,” Fraire said.

Pineberries are just one of the many fruits and vegetables elementary students in Union Public Schools are getting a chance to try. They’ve also tasted kale, watermelon radishes, dragon fruit, and star fruit.

“It’s very important to have student excited about eating fruits and vegetables. I just read an article where it said this generation has 10 years less of life and they think its because they are not eating vegetables and whole grains," Griffin said. "It’s a very good food for their bodies and if they learn to eat this when they are young, they will eat it when they are older. You introduce new things to them now and it will become a staple in their life. ”

A new fruit or vegetable is introduced to elementary school students nearly every day of the school year which is about 170 days. The district hopes by doing this students will want to try new foods beyond what the school is providing.

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