“The humble onion, with its tear-promoting pungency, is without question one of the healthiest things you can put in your body. Eat onions, and live better,” says Farmer Franklin. It is a world-class super food that has received very little fanfare, most likely because of its common position in cookery. And yet, the onion offers superior benefits for both the prevention and treatment of many common diseases, including various kinds of cancer, coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cataracts and more. In addition, onions can act as a powerful antibiotic and are helpful in reducing food-borne illnesses caused by microbial contamination.
If there ever was a Farm to School advocate willing and interested in interacting with students it is Brooks Franklin of Leah Lake Farm. Brooks spoke with every one of the students who tasted onions on February 24.
How do you get middle school students to taste onions? Rather than offering them raw onions, which were available to taste, the cafeteria staff prepared two trays of squash casserole. Students tasted the first one, which many liked. Then they tasted the second casserole, which many liked better. Farmer Franklin asked each student what was difference. The answer? Onions, of course. The onions gave the casserole both a sweetness and a savoryness that the onion-less casserole did not have.
As a part of every taste test, students were asked if they liked it and if they would try it again. Over half of those tasting said they liked it and almost as many would try it again. Farmer Franklin and his wife and farm partner Lisa Ezzard also offered students the opportunity to taste 3 different kinds of salsa. One was made with scallions, one with purple onions and one with yellow onions.
Thanks to Leah Lake Farmers more students will be eating and enjoying healthy savory and sweet onions in the future!