In January, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) hosted virtual “Florida Citrus Squeeze” events at elementary schools throughout Florida with Chef Paula Kendrick and Miss Florida Citrus Leila Sabet. The program was announced in December to Florida food service personnel and teachers that participate in the division’s Harvest of the Month Program.
Participating schools were sent citrus, and virtual citrus-tasting events were scheduled with classrooms to expose students to all the great flavors of Florida citrus. In addition, “Produce at a Glance” cards and “I Tried it Stickers” were distributed to the students and referenced by Kendrick during the program.
Miss Florida Citrus was introduced as a special guest and explained how citrus gets from the grove to the grocery store. She also discussed the old adage of “beauty is on the inside,” for both people and for Florida citrus. Sabet told the students how citrus is part of a healthy lifestyle that can replenish nutrients after exercising.
“Spending my lunch breaks at work with the students is definitely a lunch well-spent,” said Sabet. “Our Citrus Squeeze conversations are necessary so we can talk about the nutritional value of citrus with elementary/middle school students, and ultimately, ensure we help instill these healthy habits at a young age.”
Sabet also engaged the students with fun facts on citrus, such as how grapefruit got its name (fruit grows on the tree in clusters, like grapes) and why Florida citrus plantings are still called groves rather than orchards (from the wild groves which sprouted up as the Indians and explorers made their way across Florida eating oranges and dropping …..
Read more about Miss Florida Citrus Has a New Squeeze! on the Citrus Industry website.