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WDC fourth-graders shuck corn for lunch

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news Brainerd, 56401
Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

WDC fourth-graders shuck corn for lunch

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WADENA — Making locally-grown food as part of Wadena-Deer Creek’s school lunch has been a priority for the school over the last three years.

“We try to feature a variety a local home-grown foods for the students to taste,” said Mary Ann Hagen, who coordinates the Farm to School program at WDC Schools.

Recently, Gregg and Joan Goeden, who live west of Wadena, trucked in sweet corn for WDC Elementary students to enjoy as part of their lunch menu. However, there was work to be done: the chore of shucking the sweet corn.

Fourth-grade students and their teachers, Jeff Mehl, Jason Mielke, Gena Sperling and Chelsey Weiss, were selected to shuck the 204 ears of sweet corn — and they did it in less than 15 minutes!

“They’re having a fun time (shucking the corn) which is always great to see,” said Jeff Mehl, fourth-grade teacher.

Out of the 89 fourth-graders, there were several who hadn’t shucked corn. Hagen said there is definitely a disconnect between agriculture and the food that we eat and the students, she said.

“That’s why WDC’s Farm to School program is so important for students and area producers,” added Hagen.

The following day, the elementary cooks broke the cobs in half and cooked the sweet corn in large steam kettles. The sweet aroma filled the hallways of the elementary, enticing students for the arrival of lunch.

Second-grade student Eshetu Loer experienced his first taste of corn on the cob. He is from Ethiopia and is the adopted son of the Rev. Nate and Audrey Loer of Wadena. At first, Loer wasn’t quite sure how to eat the sweet corn, picking up a spoon and wondering how he’d ever balance this large vegetable on his spoon. He then watched in wonder as his classmates picked up the cob and began to munch on it. Later, Loer was asked if he liked the sweet corn, and he said, “Yes!”

WDC Food Service Director Sandie Rentz said the Farm to School program at WDC has a number of benefits for both the students and area producers.

“I think this program is very important because we live in an agricultural community and there needs to be a better connection between the school and the producers,” Rentz said.

According to Hagen, other home-grown products to be featured this school year will be: heirloom tomatoes, Yukon Gold potatoes, apples, wild rice, honey and maple syrup. This is the third year WDC has participated in the Farm to School program.

Area producers who are interested in providing a home-grown food or product may contact WDC Farm to School Coordinator Mary Ann Hagen at 218-631-4328.

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