For FOOD SERVICE PROVIDERS:
Let your students know that carrots taste great and are grown here in Massachusetts!
Blurb for your school newsletter or menu:
This month for Harvest of the Month we’re featuring CARROTS! With help from Massachusetts Farm to School, our school cafeteria will include produce from local farms throughout this school year. December’s Harvest of the Month crop is CARROTS, which will be featured in ___(dish)___ on __(date)______. To learn more about Harvest of the Month, visit http://www.massfarmtoschool.org/hotm.
Carrots are kid-tested, crunchy, and full of vitamins. An easy red-orange vegetable enjoyed in foods from nearly every culture. Try a few of these recipes from some of our favorite school food cookbooks with your students!
Recipe Ideas for Pre School – Grade 12 Students:
- Baked Carrots (Washington State Farm to School)
- Brown Rice Pilaf with Carrots and Dill (from Fresh from the Farm by Mass. Farm to School)
- Honey Carrot Coins (from Fresh from the Farm by Mass. Farm to School)
- Moroccan Carrot Salad (from Let’s Cook Healthy by Project Bread)
- Winter Vegetable Soup with Noodles (New School Cuisine by VT FEED)
- Yucatan Wrap (Center for Ecoliteracy’s Cooking with California Food)
- Curried Carrot Soup (Center for Ecoliteracy’s Cooking with California Food)
- Carrot Muffins (from Montana’s Healthy School Recipe Roundup)
- Spicy Roasted Fresh Carrots (Salem, MA Public Schools)
What do you know about Carrots?:
There’s more to carrots than crunch! Post these facts on your bulletin board or include them on your lunch menu (you can also find them on the back of the Carrots Harvest of the Month Trading Cards).
- History: Thousands of years ago, carrots weren’t orange like the ones we eat today. The original carrots were deep purple in color.
- Production: Carrots grow best in deep, sandy soil, and prefer plenty of water and a cool climate. In fact, in Massachusetts, carrots store well in the soil and sweeten in flavor with each frost.
- Fun Fact: A baby carrot isn’t really a baby. Baby carrots come from full sized carrots that have been cut to make a short, round-ended baby carrot.
- Nutrition: Orange carrots are an excellent source of beta-carotene, which our bodies turn into vitamin A. Orange carrots have more beta-carotene than any other fruit or vegetable! Vitamin A is important for good eyesight, especially at night. Vitamin A helps your body fight infection, is good for your bones and teeth, and keeps your skin and hair healthy.
For TEACHERS AND SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS
Here are some ideas for how to integrate carrot-themed activities into classrooms and school gardens.
Text for morning announcements
“Good morning, this is _____, with a Harvest of the Month soundbite. This month we are featuring fresh, healthy, LOCALLY GROWN CARROTS in the cafeteria. The carrots we are eating were grown at local farms and harvested this fall. Because they are a root vegetable (meaning that we eat the part that grows under the ground) they can be stored for many weeks. Look for CARROTS grown at Massachusetts farms (name the farm(s) you’re purchasing from, if you can) in school lunches this month. Can you taste the difference?”
Classroom and school garden activities
It’s winter and not much is visible in the garden, so why not spend some time studying what happens underground? Carrots are a taproot. The root anchors the plant and absorbs nutrients from the soil. The root also acts as a storage depot for carbohydrates, a source of energy for your body.
- K-5th Grade Carrot Activities (Southern Nevada Health District)
- Preschool-K “The Carrot Seed” Activity (University of Washington, Seattle)
- A detailed description of root parts and their functions for older students
- The Root Show, a roots exploration curriculum from Hidden Villa Classroom (check out the root viewer project)
- The University of Minnesota has some great resources for promoting carrots here
For FAMILIES AND CAREGIVERS
Share this information and try a carrot recipe at home!
- Click here to download our family newsletter with fun facts and serving ideas for carrots.
- Click here to download an info sheet about carrots in English and Spanish from UMass Extension Nutrition Education Program.
- How to shop for carrots at the grocery store or farmers market
- Look for carrots that are firm, smooth, evenly shaped, and have a bright orange color.
- Avoid carrots that are flabby, shriveled, or cracked.
- If you choose “baby” carrots, check the date on the package.
- Once you get your carrots home, snap off the green tops if they have any. Rinse and scrub each carrot under cold water, or thinly peel and rinse.
- Pop them into your refrigerator for a handy snack.
- Instead of french fries, try this recipe for Crispy CARROT Fries from Chop Chop Magazine.
- Try this Carrot Macaroni and Cheese recipe from Edible Boston magazine.
Thank you to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources for helping to make Harvest of the Month possible.