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Kindergarten chili made with home grown ingredients from school garden

By Staff | Oct 1, 2013

Aaron Kerstetter, a kindergarten student from Muncy, poses with his teacher, John Tewksbury. Each of the 4 kindergarten classes at Myers Elementary made a pot of chili for the chili cook-off.

MUNCY – Six different chili dishes were entered into this year’s chili cook-off held last Friday during Muncy’s 4th Friday, but perhaps the most interesting, by far, was the kindergarten chili.

All four kindergarten classes at Myers Elementary School participated in Muncy’s Chili Cook-Off held last Friday evening in downtown Muncy. Earlier that day, each class room had a crock pot filled with ingredients that the children grew from their school garden. Their teacher, Mr. John Tewksbury, owns a large organic garden in the surrounding hills of Muncy and instructed the children with the help of the cafeteria staff, on how to cook their home grown vegetables and beans into a delicious recipe. “We grew all the ingredients,” said Tewksbury.

Starting with diced sweet potato, they added heirloom Sun Gold cherry tomatoes which the cafeteria cooked down for them. They also added four kinds of beans – Black Turtle, Vermont Cranberry, Yellow Eye, and the Red Kidney. These were also prepared in the cafeteria kitchen.

“We soaked the beans overnight in the classroom,” added Tewksbury. Tomatoes were drained and strained and all the ingredients cooked together all day long for the contest.

As part of the lesson in education, Tewksbury creatively used action words to teach verbs to the kindergarteners. They learned words to describe how to taste and cooking verbs such as cooking, dicing and simmering. The children also made drawings and incorporated them into their reading series.

Meanwhile, FBLA students from the Muncy High School were busy scooping out tastings and collecting ballots of the prepared chili entrees that were entered into the contest. Guidelines and rules were formulated by members of the Muncy Professional Business Association.

All submissions had to include a list of ingredients on a 3×5 index card, and be ready for serving by 5 p.m. Tastings took place between 6 and 6:45 p.m. and ballots were counted close to 7 p.m. At 8 p.m. Tillie Noviello announced the final winner who was Tiereny Snyder. She won a prize of 50 dollars, sponsored by Keri Krause from Robin Real Estate.