Rabbit Creek Elementary School in South Anchorage lived up to its name on Monday. Students celebrated National Food Day by crunching on carrots as part of a taste test.
The State Division of Agriculture’s “Farm to School” program asked the children to be researchers during their lunch hour, by comparing carrots grown in the Lower 48 to those from a farm in Palmer.
The carrots were dispensed in orange and clear plastic cups. The students weren’t told of their origins. And after given time to munch on the samples, they were asked to vote with their taste buds.
“I like the orange cup better,” said 4th grader Ashley Miller. “Because I think it’s sweeter.”
Turns out she was right.
The Alaska carrots won the taste test by more than a two-to-one margin, with the final tally at 265 vs. 91.
“I think it’s kind of cool that we have all these farms here, and we can eat stuff that just came off from the fields,” said Joe LaVigueur, a 4th grader, who was happy to see the homegrown carrots sweep the ballot box.
One of the volunteers, Clayton Jones, a chef at the Haute Quarter Grill in Eagle River, says it was great to see how much enjoyment the kids were getting out of eating. As an advocate for locally-grown produce, Jones believes it’s important for children to learn early about the differences in food quality.
“Being an Alaskan, loving food the way I do, it’s important for me to get that point across,” said Jones.
Allison Arians, who owns the Rise and Shine Bakery on the Anchorage hillside, says she’s sold sourdough bread for five years at the South Anchorage Farmer’s Market and is a believer in Alaska produce.
Arians says Alaska’s long days and cool nights cause plants to make more sugars.
“So the neat thing is that the kids actually taste it; they can tell they’re sweeter.” said Arians.