WrapAround kids learn the importance of farming

Jun. 25, 2014 @ 07:39 AM

“I’ve got cucumbers!” shrieked a young boy who is part of the Caldwell WrapAround program, holding his plastic bag of cucumbers high in the air as he streaked across the grass. He wasn't the only one among about 200 students visiting the Sawmills Farmers Market who were excited as they bustled from vendor to vendor to buy produce and crafts just like adults. They perused carrots, cumcumbers, squash, peaches and more, picking out the perfect ones to bring home for dinner.

Caldwell County Schools' WrapAround program gives kids different activities, teaches important skills and provides opportunities to learn about their community through various trips. Darlene Berry of the Caldwell County Cooperative Extension Service said that the farmers market activity was to help the kids connect what they have been doing at their schools’ WrapAround program -- most have gardens that the children work in -- and what the communities does.

The kids were given two $1 vouchers to purchase items at the market and were given a bag full of goodies like food stickers, pencils, recipe cards, information about the farmer’s market for their families, a local food guide and packets of seeds. Beekeepers, vendors and members of the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office, the Caldwell Soil and Water Conservation District, and the Caldwell 4-H program taught the children about crafts, beneficial insects in the garden and various types of farming. Conrad the Crawdad, the mascot for the Hickory Crawdads baseball team, also stopped by.

Kaelyn Patterson, 10, held a bag bursting with long, round carrots.

“I got some carrots for my rabbits,” Patterson said. “I’m sure they’d like a treat. I bought enough so they wouldn’t fight over it.”

Patterson said that at home she grows tomatoes, squash and cucumbers. She added that cucumbers were not her favorite but that if she added a little salt to them, “they’re perfect.”

Kenyan Ferguson, 7, said he grows a different set of vegetables in the garden at his school – different types of pumpkins, including ones that are not the usual orange color. Instead, his pumpkins are a dusty blue color.

Berry said of Ferguson, “He is the last one to go in (from the garden). He loves it out there.”