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Tasting Notes

News from TasteWise Kids & Days of Taste Maryland
Issue 6, March/April 2017

A Note from Wendy

One of the most exciting things for me as Executive Director of TasteWise Kids is to learn about the lasting influence we have had on students who have participated in our Days of Taste® program. We often run into students who can tell us “their” farmer’s name from 2 years ago or proudly state they now actually like to eat salad!

As you will read below, we were recently contacted by Meah Konstanzer, a current high school student, whose experience with us as a 4th grader participating in Days of Taste® at Fulton Elementary School helped inspire her to examine how STEM standards can improve school
nutrition curriculum. Not only do stories like Meah’s reinforce the need for more food education through hands-on experiences, it also helps remind us that what they learn with us is not just fun but can be life-changing.

We know there are other great stories out there about how participation in our Days of Taste® program has helped to change students’ (and sometimes families’) attitudes or behaviors. If you, or someone you know, have a story like this, please email me. We want to capture these stories and continue to share them with our stakeholders.

All the best,

Wendy Jeffries
Executive Director, TasteWise Kids

Today's Special : What's New

Inspired by her participation in Days of Taste, a local high school student undertakes an independent research project

Meah Konstanzer, a sophomore at Reservoir High School in Howard County, is currently working on an independent research project entitled "Culinary Cognition: The STEM of Good Nutrition". Her participation in Days of Taste® six years ago as an elementary student helped inspire this project.

Read more about her impressive project!


Funding Received from Harford County Government
Our Days of Taste® program was recently awarded $3,975 from the Harford County Government Division of Agricultural Services through its Agricultural Grant Program. This grant will support the farm component of the Days of Taste program in Hartford County. This money will allow us to compensate our farmers, including for the ingredients we source from them for the take-home salad kits, and to improve the printed materials students receive as part of our program.

Two new Days of Taste School Sponsors
This spring we are excited to bring our two new School Sponsors. School Sponsors are local businesses who fund and support the Days of Taste Program at a specific local school. The Baltimore Ravens will be sponsoring Thomas Johnson Elementary School in Baltimore City and in Harford County, QED Systems is sponsoring Halls Cross Roads Elementary School. If you or your business would like to learn more about how to become a Days of Taste School Sponsor, please contact Wendy at

Main Courses: Days of Taste® Program Update

Scheduling for our Days of Taste® program for this spring is underway. We will have 24 elementary schools in Baltimore City and Baltimore, Howard and Harford Counties participating in the program.  New schools this semester will include Thomas Johnson (Baltimore City), Summit Park (Baltimore County), Clemens Crossing (Howard County) and Halls Cross Roads (Harford County).  We are also excited to be welcoming new chefs, including Tom Zippelli of The Turn House and Antonio Burrell  of Petit Louis Columbia, and new farms, including Mary’s Land Farm in Ellicott City and Evermore Farm in Westminster.  

The schedule of Days of Taste schools with dates for the program will be available on our website by the end of March.  For more information about Days of Taste, please contact Riva Eichner Kahn at

TasteWise Kids has also been busy this winter collaborating with our school systems’ food and nutrition services and wellness programs. We are also working with area community groups to build on the many positive things happening in the Baltimore metro area involving school food, children’s nutrition, local farms, and access to fresh food. We are happy to be part of the effort - helping kids understand where their food comes from and encouraging kids to make better food choices and enjoy healthy eating with family and friends!   

Dining Out : Upcoming Events

Days of Taste® Volunteer Breakfasts

Interested in becoming a Days of Taste® volunteer and working directly with kids as they learn about the journey of food from farm to plate and make their own tasty salads? Volunteer breakfast meetings will be held in Baltimore County, Howard County and Harford County the first week in April (dates are being finalized now). At these meetings, we will provide details on the Days of Taste program, explain the role of volunteers, and share the schedule for volunteering for this spring. If you want to learn more or sign up to attend a breakfast, please email Riva at

In the kitchen with...

This month we are in the kitchen with Sherifa Clarke, Farm to Chef Maryland Planning Committee member and Hartford County Days of Taste Regional Director.

How are you involved with TasteWise Kids?
I have volunteered as a member of the planning committee for TasteWise Kids’ main fundraiser (Farm to Chef Maryland) for the past 5 years, working with chefs and farmers to create pairings for the event. Being a part of the Farm to Chef Maryland event and gaining an understanding of how the Days of Taste program touches the lives of kids, their parents and the farming community, I was determined to bring the program to Harford County.  We are now is our third year and are offering the program to 6 schools in Harford County in 2017!

What is your job and/or how are you involved in the food scene in Maryland?
I am currently the General Manager/Co-owner of Laurrapin Caters. For the last 14 years, I also owned and operated Laurrapin Grille and have just recently sold the restaurant to Executive Chef Kristina Sciarra and her partner Janice Rogers.  Both Janice and Kristina have worked for me for many years and it gives me a strong sense of satisfaction in seeing the two of them succeed.

In your opinion, what makes TasteWise Kids so special?
I think seeing kids who participate in the Days of Taste program make the connection between what they've seen, touched and tasted at the farm and what they are preparing in the classroom is so exciting...the look on their faces when they "get it", is truly priceless.

What is your favorite vegetable?
Eggplant is definitely my favorite, whether its roasted for baba ganoush, fried and crispy or just brushed with olive oil and prepared on the grill on a warm summer day.

If you could have one meal at a local restaurant, what and where would it be? 
I would visit the Laurrapin Grille in Havre de Grace, Maryland.  Chef Kristina Sciarra makes the most wonderful homemade gnocchi tossing it with fresh local veggies and seafood...the stuff dreams are made of.

What is your favorite thing to cook at home? 
Growing up, my mother taught me how to stuff just about any vegetable with rice, ground lamb, onions and spices in a light tomato broth.  I love to prepare a variety of stuffed zucchini, Italian eggplant and tomatoes.  It's always delicious, hearty and best of all reminds me of my mom.

What is a favorite food related memory from your childhood? 
My favorite food memory is helping my mother in the kitchen and learning to roll stuffed grape absolute favorite!

Chew on This

These days, we are always reminded to think about where our food comes from and to pick foods that are “good for us” so we are healthy. But how often do you stop to think about the bigger picture of our local food system? What even is a “food system”? A food system includes the governance and economics of food production, its sustainability, the degree to which we waste food, and how food production affects the natural environment.” (source:

Here in Maryland, Fair Farms is one organization striving to improve our local food system. Fair Farms is a movement of consumers who are eager to know more about the food they eat and how it reaches their plates as well as green businesses that are farming for the future. Launched in December 2015, Fair Farms brings together consumers, farmers, public health professionals, and conservationists to advocate for responsible farming practices and increased support for visionary farmers. Their goal is to build a truly sustainable food system that is fair to all.

Food for Thought

Revenge of the Lunch Lady: How an unassuming bureaucrat outsmarted Jamie Oliver and pulled off an honest-to-god miracle in one of America's unhealthiest cities.

Saving the Best for Last
A 4th grader's reflections on her Days of Taste experience learning to love salads.
Copyright © 2017 TasteWise Kids, All rights reserved.

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