MIDDLEBURY — The recent Addison County 4-H Foods Day was a day of learning and giving as 52 youths participated in workshops and culinary competitions.
The event was held Feb. 25 at Middlebury Union Middle School. In addition to fun learning activities, participants also collectively donated 45 pounds of dry and canned food items to the Middlebury Food Shelf.
The youths were divided into groups based on age to rotate between three different workshop labs. In the Nutrition Lab they learned about the new Vermont composting laws — including food scrap composting in schools, from Jaclyn Hochreiter, Addison County Solid Waste Management District. Andrea Warren from Addison County Line Dancers in New Haven taught line dancing in the Exercise Lab.
In the Foods Lab the younger group cut up root vegetables and learned how to roast them with the help of Sue Bodette, a nutrition educator with the University of Vermont (UVM) Extension Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program. Janet Piper, a 4-H leader from Bridport, and Melinda Piper, Sudbury, worked with the two older groups, teaching them how to make beef and vegetable skewers and pork stir fry. These groups also heard from staff from Green Pasture Meats in New Haven who presented information on cuts of meat and worked with them on their knife skills.
Participants prepared dishes at home to be evaluated at the event with each age group assigned a different category of dish to make. Judging was based on presentation including table setting and appropriate garnishes, appearance and taste, among other criteria.
Awards were given out in the following groups:
Grades K-2 (appetizers): Noah Sheldrick, Salisbury, tuna bites (first); Jocelyn Foster, Middlebury, roasted carrot dip (second); Alexis Whipple, Bridport, ranch dip (third).
Grades 3-4 (desserts): Joe Bergiven, Shoreham, healthy carrot cupcakes (first); Aiden Ellis, Shoreham, banana blueberry muffins (second); Jordan Bertrand, Whiting, pretty pink pies (third).
Grades 5-7 (salads): Gabby Ellis, Shoreham, shrimp pad Thai salad (first); Morgan White, Whiting, spring fruit salad (second); Michael Plouffe, Bridport, pasta fruit salad (third).
Grades 8-12 (main dishes): Courtney Curler, Bridport, slow cooker creamy tortellini (first); Serena Welch, Shoreham, healthy beef stew (second); McKenna White, Whiting, rainbow spring roll (third).
The day ended with a buffet lunch featuring the dishes the young cooks brought in to be judged as well as what they prepared in the Foods Labs.
To learn more about the Addison County 4-H program, contact UVM Extension 4-H educator Martha Seifert at (802) 388-4969 ext. 355.