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Farm to table classes at the 2014 Elkhart County 4-H Fair teach healthy eating

Food always tastes better when you make it yourself.

Caleb Struble-Hedstrom of North Manchester, 5, agreed with an emphatic nod and a mouthful of taco at the Farm to Table Cooking Class on Monday, July 21.

Struble-Hedstrom was one of 12 children who participated in a healthy cooking class at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair.

Zach Lucchese, executive chef at Swan Lake Resort, taught the group how to make tacos with ground beef, cabbage, tomato, onion and cilantro. The kids also learned about the ingredients, which came from Clay Bottom Farm, and took a tour of the 4-H garden at Young McDonald’s Farm.

“I have four little kids, so I wanted to make something that grows out of the garden and something my kids would eat,” Lucchese said. “I think they really liked them.”

The classes are an opportunity to teach children about healthier food, said Sara Granberg, a member of the Fair Board and organizer of the event.

“Most kids have no idea their food doesn’t grow at the grocery store,” Granberg said. “Food is healthier when it comes from your backyard. It’s important to get back to grassroots.”

A pizza-making class will be held at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Wednesday, July 23, at Young McDonald’s Farm, hosted by Paul Cataldo of Antonio’s.

There will also be a “Snacks in the Garden” kids’ activity Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., featuring five build-your-own snack stations set up around the youth ag area. Stations include veggie cups and fruit lemonade from Goshen Farmer’s Market, trail mix from Whole Foods, popcorn from Northwood FFA, and salsa and chips from ModMex.

In the evening, the Taste of the Garden pop-up restaurant is open to fair-goers of all ages with fresh foods prepared by local chefs from 5 to 7 p.m. July 21, 22 and 23 in the garden next to Young McDonald’s Farm.

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