Langley sixth grader declares kale tastier than ice cream

Odin Hopkins, Farriss Jokinen, Laura Miller and Kody Newman help serve food from the Taste of Whidbey event to sixth grade students. - Celeste Erickson / The Record
Odin Hopkins, Farriss Jokinen, Laura Miller and Kody Newman help serve food from the Taste of Whidbey event to sixth grade students.
— image credit: Celeste Erickson / The Record

Students in the sixth and seventh grades at Langley Middle School reveled in the flavor of some of their own grown food during the Taste of Whidbey event Thursday, Nov. 14.

Students dined on a kale salad, made by Whidbey Island Nourishes, roasted potatoes, raw carrots and beets during their lunch hour. 

The kale, carrots and beets were grown by Deep Harvest Farms. The potatoes were grown at the middle school farm by the current seventh-grade class which planted the crops last March.

For one student, the kale salad was tastier than a Häagen-Dazs ice cream bar. Dexter Jokinen, a student in the sixth grade, won the ice-cream treat in class prior to lunch. After eating the lunch samples from the Taste Whidbey event, he said he realized the ice cream wasn’t healthy for him and gave it away.

“I wanted to make a good decision,” he said.

Dexter even went back for a third serving of the kale salad — his favorite.

Principal Eric Nerison said the students were quite responsive to the food. He said he hopes the students learn about the science behind what they eat, including the process and production of growing food.

“They have the ability to eat healthy foods that they grow themselves,” he said.

Nerison said he also wants students to develop a sense of connectivity with what they eat and the people who make it. 

Laura Miller, a seventh-grade student, helped grow the potatoes last year and served them to her classmates during the event. She said she enjoyed looking at all the different sizes and shapes the potatoes come in.

“At the store they are all the same,” she said.

She said the experience helped her learn that farming is hard work. In the class, she had to dig in the dirt on her hands and knees.

“It’s hard work to grow the potatoes, rather than just eat them,” she said.

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