The company’s Head of Corporate Social Responsibility and Agronomy Mel Miles, Development Chef Luke Pearson, and Managing Director Steve Evans have delivered five sessions throughout June and July to around 180 pupils in years 4, 5 and 6 as part of the Freshtime Fun Club.
Launched in 2014, the programme aims to promote the benefits of healthy eating to schoolchildren in Boston and educate them about the food that’s grown on their doorstep.
This year it kicked off with a salad tasting session in the school hall on Tuesday 13th June, when those in Year 6 were asked to rate a selection of Freshtime products based on five criteria: appearance, smell, taste, texture and nutritional benefits.
They were then shown a video of Steve, in which he challenged them to work in groups to design their own innovative salads – complete with a marketing campaign – to present later in the term.
A week later Luke – who has over 20 years’ experience as a chef – delivered his first official fun club session and gave Year 5 pupils a lesson in food preparation.
Using the school’s kitchen area, he explained several different methods of chopping and preparing fresh produce, including the bridge and claw techniques which are taught as part of the national curriculum.
Luke also introduced the children to the increasingly popular method of spiralising, and added an extra element of excitement by challenging them to guess how long it would take him to slice certain vegetables.
Mel then returned to the school to test Year 4 pupils’ knowledge of fresh produce. Sporting a hi-vis jacket and hard hat, he arrived armed with a wealth of vegetables that had been grown locally – from carrots to the more challenging to identify butternut squash.
Mel said: “It was great to see how engaged all the pupils were and, when I invited them to ask questions, they certainly did not disappoint!
“They wanted to know everything from how I got my job to how turnips came to be, which is especially impressive when you consider that these children are only eight and nine years old!”
When Steve visited Carlton Road Academy for the fourth afternoon of activity, he formed a panel of judges with Year 6 teachers Paula Clegg and Jenny Powell and scored each groups’ ideas for new salads.
The winning team, Flavourful Fiesta, was awarded a children’s cookbook for its organic spicy chicken salad.
Steve said: “I was blown away by the amount of effort and commitment shown by all pupils! We found it so difficult to choose just one winner, and they all worked so hard, that I decided to surprise the children by offering to have each group’s salad made up in the Freshtime kitchen.”
Steve revisited the Year 6 pupils for the final session with Mel and Amelia Langdon from the company’s New Product Development (NPD) team, armed with the children’s salad creations.
Each group had the opportunity to rate their salad and decide whether they would change anything before the product went to market – a process which Steve explained would usually take at least 10 months.
For more information about Freshtime, please visit: www.freshtime.co.uk
Notes to Editors:
• Freshtime, based in Boston, Lincolnshire was created in 1993 by farmer co-operative ELGRO (East Lincolnshire Growers). In 2000 there was a management-led buy-out.
• In recent years more than £14 million has been invested in Freshtime’s purpose-built 82,500 square feet site in Boston to develop the company’s production capabilities.
• Freshtime produces over 170 different product lines, from stir fry and vegetables to couscous and pasta salads, deli fillers, soups and dips.
• Freshtime was included in The Grocer’s Fast 50 list of growing food businesses in November 2012 and 2013.
• For more information visit www.freshtime.co.uk
About the Freshtime Fun Club
• The Freshtime Fun Club provides new learning opportunities for school pupils in the Boston area and teaches them about food production, vegetables and salads.
• Freshtime’s Head of Corporate Social Responsibility and Agronomy Mel Miles, who is Boston born and bred and passionate about promoting his home town and county, helps to design and deliver fun club sessions.
• The scheme was launched in 2014 and has previously partnered with Boston West Academy (2014), St Thomas’ CE Primary School (2015) and Staniland Academy (2016).
• This year Freshtime ran the initiative at Carlton Road Academy in Boston.
• For more information about the fun club, visit freshtime.co.uk/fun-club
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