FoodCorps Diaries: Students’ first hoop house harvest

Students at Platte River Elementary check out their new hoop house. 

Late last month, students at Platte River Elementary harvested their first produce from their new school hoop house for a quick science lesson and delicious treat.

Four sixth-grade science classes marched to the hoop house in the brisk fall air, and harvested their first radishes. They brought the bounty back to class to examine the radish plant parts and learn about structure and function. After a scientific observation, they sampled the radishes, making it a tasty science lesson!

The students also had the chance to try a unique, dark green leafy vegetable called kale, grown locally by farmer Meryl Estes of Narrow Gauge Farm in Beulah. The farm grows a wide variety of vegetables and also sells jams, eggs, and maple syrup.

The whole cafeteria tasted a freshly prepared kale salad during lunch, and some students got another taste during hoop house school garden tours with their individual classes.

We’re helping the students grow kale in the garden, so there will be much more to eat come springtime. And it’s a good thing, too; of 103 students who sampled the kale, 70 students said they “loved it” and 20 students “liked it.”

By the request of many students, we have included the recipe for the simple kale dish sampled at school in the sidebar.

Fresh Raw Kale Salad


-1 bunch kale (6-8 leaves)
-2 TB honey
-2 TB apple cider vinegar
-1 TB vegetable oil (olive or canola)



1.     Wash and dry kale leaves. Trim off bad leaves and if desired remove stems
2.     Chop leaves into 1/2 inch strips and place into a medium size bowl
3.     In a separate small bowl, stir together honey, apple cider vinegar and oil
4.     Pour liquid mixture over chopped kale leaves. Use both hands to “massage” the leaves – crushing and kneading the leaves until they turn a darker green and begin to get tender.
5.     Serve immediately (or allow to marinate in the refrigerator for several hours) and enjoy!
6.     This salad is delicious with sliced apples or pears, walnuts, and dried fruits mixed in too!

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