- Put up posters in the cafeteria or hallways; tape index cards to lunch-line sneeze guards.
- Engage students in trivia-type games about a food item during their cafeteria time. Use the "Fun Facts" sections to develop trivia questions.
- Use the Newsletter sample to communicate with parents about upcoming local food on the menu.
- Send home a Home Recipe so families can try a home version of food that will be served in the school cafeteria.
- Use the "Fun Facts" and photos of food items to build your own newsletter articles.
- Give teachers an announcement to read to their class about a local food item that will be served at the school.
- Supply teachers with a poster that they can put up in their classroom.
- Invite teachers to check out the classroom enrichment materials for more in-depth activities around each local food item.
Cool Stuff About Strawberries!
Did you know that strawberries are the only fruit with seeds on the outside? There are 200 tiny seeds in every strawberry! Strawberries are the most popular berry in the United States and they are grown in every state. Minnesota’s strawberry season usually begins in early to mid June in southern and central Minnesota and about two weeks later in Northern Minnesota. Did you know Native Americans called strawberries "heart-seed berries” and they pounded them into their traditional corn-meal bread? The early pioneers decided to create their own version, which became the American favorite... Strawberry Shortcake!
Minnesota is famous for the “pick your own” strawberry farms, which is a good thing because we eat nearly 5 pounds of strawberries every year. Strawberries are sweet and refreshing. With less than 60 calories in one cup, strawberries are also a nutrient dense fruit! They are packed with vitamin C, potassium, fiber and folate.
There are more than 600 different varieties of strawberries and over 75 places to find strawberries locally grown in Minnesota. You can stop by a “pick your own” farm or go to the local farmer’s market with your family. Try using the recipe in this month’s newsletter. Today at lunch, you will have the
In [MONTH] your child tried [FOOD ITEM] with locally grown strawberries from [FARM NAME] in [CITY]. Prepare this delicious recipe with your family and ask your child(ren) if they can answer the following trivia questions.
- There are over 600 varieties of strawberries and strawberries are the only fruit with seeds on the outside. About how many tiny seeds does each strawberry have?
- It’s a fact, nine out of ten families eat strawberries, but on average how many pounds of strawberries do we eat every year?
- Strawberries are the first fruit to ripen in the spring. When does Minnesota’s strawberry season usually begin?
- Strawberries have about 200 tiny seeds. Native Americans called strawberries "heart-seed berries" and pounded them into their traditional corn-meal bread. The early pioneers decided to create their own version, which became the American favorite... Strawberry Shortcake.
- Americans consume nearly five pounds of strawberries every year! Strawberries are sweet and refreshing. With less than 60 calories in one cup, strawberries are also a nutrient dense fruit! They are packed with vitamin C, potassium, fiber and folate. Ounce for ounce, strawberries have more Vitamin C than citrus fruit!
- Minnesota’s strawberry season usually begins in early to mid June in southern and central Minnesota and about two weeks later in Northern Minnesota. The Minnesota Grown website lists over 75 farms that grow and sell strawberries to hungry eaters like you!
History and Origin
- There is a legend that strawberries were named in the nineteenth-century by English children who picked the fruit, strung them on grass straws and sold them as "Straws of berries". Another theory is the name was derived from the nineteenth-century practice of placing straw around the growing berry plants to protect the ripening fruit.
- Strawberries grew wild in Italy as long ago as 234 B.C.
- Wild strawberries were discovered in Virginia by the first Europeans when their ships landed there in 1588.
- The ancient Romans believed that strawberries relieved symptoms of sadness, fainting, fevers, throat infections, kidney stones, and even bad breath!
- To symbolize perfection and righteousness, medieval stone masons carved strawberry designs on altars and around the tops of pillars in churches and cathedrals.
- Madame Tallien, a famous figure at the court of the Emperor Napoleon, was famous for bathing in the juice of fresh strawberries. She used 22 pounds per basin!
- Strawberries are a nutrient dense fruit. In addition to being fat free and low in calories (less than 60 calories in one cup), strawberries are packed with:
- Vitamin C: Ounce for ounce, strawberries have more vitamin C than citrus fruit. Eight medium-sized strawberries contain 140% of the U.S. RDA for vitamin C.
- And other antioxidants (phytochemicals that can reduce your risk to certain cancers and heart disease).
Did you know…?
- Ninety-four percent of U.S. households consume strawberries.
- The length of the Minnesota season varies from year to year depending on the weather conditions but usually lasts at least 2 full weeks, sometimes closer to 4 weeks.
- The flavor of a strawberry is influenced by weather, the variety, and stage of ripeness when harvested.
- Strawberries are the first fruit to ripen in the spring.
- There is a museum in Belgium just for strawberries.
- Strawberries are a member of the rose family.
- The strawberry is not classified by botanists (people who study plants) as a true berry. True berries, such as blueberries and cranberries have seeds inside. The strawberry, however has its dry, yellow "seeds" on the outside (each of which is actually considered a separate fruit).
- 70% of a strawberry's roots are located in the top three inches of soil.
- For strawberries to stay “fresh” do not wash them right away. Store them in a large container with a dry paper towel at the bottom. Separate the berries by layering them with paper towels to maximize freshness. Just before using, wash strawberries with the caps attached under a gentle spray of cool water. For best flavor, allow strawberries to reach room temperature before serving.
- Researchers at Purdue University and in Israel have developed an electronic semiconductor "sniffer" to determine the ripeness and quality of strawberries. Fruit emits an increasing amount of aromatic compounds as it gets riper. The sniffer captures and senses these volatile compounds. The sniffer requires less than one second to respond, and can be used for sorting, or during quality control sampling.
How to Eat Strawberries
- Deliciously sweet, all you have to do is wash, eat and enjoy!
- Try adding sliced strawberries to cereal or top pancakes and waffles with fresh strawberries.
- Add strawberries to a fruit or vegetable salad.
- Try adding strawberries to low-fat yogurt or on top of frozen yogurt.
- Make fruit kabobs or a strawberry shake.
- Use strawberries as a topping on angel food cake.
The above information was compiled from:
Tasting Poster (114 K PDF)
3-Column Poster 187 K PDF)
Index Card (90 K PDF)
Use these photos as needed in newsletters, for promotional posters, etc.
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Print-quality photos are JPG files with maximum size of 1.5 MB. Photos courtesy of Kent Lorentzen, Grand Rapids Farmers' Market
Boxes of Strawberries
Don't they look delicious?
Close-up of Strawberries
Whole Flat of Berries
- Strawberryville - Classroom activities for children ages 5-7 and ages 8-12, including gardening activities, nutrition information and strawberry science; also a section for parents and teachers.
- Strawberry math lesson - Based on California agriculture and geography, but includes strawberry-related math problems.
- Strawberry taste test - Test whether strawberries taste sweet or sour when eaten in combination with condiments such as vinegar or black pepper.
- Strawberry Schools - In-depth social studies project for junior high or older students about Florida's "Strawberry Schools," where children went to school in the summer so they could work in the strawberry fields during the winter.
- The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear - Lesson plan for elementary children on predicting a story's plot, using this book by Douglas and Audrey Wood. Lesson plan involves fresh strawberries for the children to eat.