Welcome to Episode 4 of our Signs of Spring video series with Project GROWS! We are bringing our Harvest of the Month program to you virtually! In this episode, you’ll see Clara Metzler, our Associate Director of Farm Operations, harvesting turnips and describing how they grow, and Megan Marshall, Director of Food Access, describing how you can cook with turnips in your kitchen.
We are providing freshly harvested and packaged turnips to Staunton City Schools this week to be included in the school meal delivery service. Along with the turnips, we are handing out nutrition information and a turnip stir-fry recipe.The Harvest of the Month vegetable tastings began in 2015 in order to introduce students to seasonal vegetables, expand their vegetable preferences, and demonstrate that eating new foods can be both fun and tasty. Since Project GROWS also hosts on-farm field trips from many of these schools, Farm to School Tastings are a chance for many students to try vegetables they had a hand in growing! In partnership with local public school districts, Project GROWS offers seasonal, locally-sourced vegetables to students across the schools in both Waynesboro and Staunton. This program is designed to educate students about healthy food choices and increase enjoyment and consumption of fruits and vegetables. In order to motivate students to make healthful choices, they are provided opportunities to taste and explore the featured fruit or vegetable of the month during lunchtime. Many students involved in this program are more willing to eat fresh produce, have also come to recognize the seasonality of local foods, and have cut back on the amount of unhealthy food and beverages they consume. Read more about our Farm to School programs here.
Due to school closures because of COVID-19, the usual monthly vegetable tastings in school lunchrooms have been cancelled. However, by bringing this program into a virtual format for students to view in their homes, we hope to creatively continue our Farm to School mission of connecting kids to fresh produce and educating them about the farm where it was grown! We are also providing downloadable materials to further enrich students and inspire them to cook with the fresh veggies we are providing from the Project GROWS farm.
Our Harvest of the Month featured vegetable is turnips. And not just any turnips…but Hakurai Turnips! Turnips are a root vegetable and are part of the mustard family. They are related to brussels sprouts , cabbage, kale, and broccoli. They are in season from September to April and taste best when they are harvested young and small. Turnips have a crisp, white inner flesh that tastes zesty and slightly sweet. As turnips age, the flavor gets spicier. The leafy greens on the turnip plant are also edible.
You can eat turnips raw or prepare them in a variety of dishes! To prepare the turnips, wash the root and the leaves and remove the leaves. Chop the turnip into bite-size pieces. Eat the turnips raw with your favorite dip or saute them in a pan with olive oil and spices. They are also a great substitute for potatoes in a variety of dishes! We hope that you enjoy preparing and eating the turnips grown by farmers at Project GROWS!
Thanks for watching! Be sure to check out our Harvest of the Month poster and our Turnip Stir-Fry recipe, and stay tuned for upcoming episodes and more produce to be distributed with the meal delivery program.
Download Harvest of the Month poster and recipe in English