Northside K-8 School Child Nutrition staff members join in the excitement of tasting apples on Friday. Pictured, from the left, are Louise Wright, Child Nutrition assistant; Angela Perry, cafeteria manager; Mary Williams, Child Nutrition assistant; Rachel Earnhardt, Warren County FoodCorps service member; and Rashawn Steverson, Warren County Cooperative Extension 4-H program assistant.

Northside K-8 School students couldn’t hide their enthusiasm for apples on Friday as Warren County FoodCorps conducted a taste test of the fall fruit.

Rachel Earnhardt, Warren County FoodCorps service member, led the taste testing as part of her efforts to encourage local students to make healthy food choices. She hopes to conduct taste tests at the county’s elementary schools on a regular basis.

Northside students were invited to taste apple slices at lunch and vote whether or not they enjoyed them.

The first students to try the apple slices were members of Edith Ayala’s kindergarten Spanish language immersion class. Several said that they or their neighbors had apple trees in their yards, most liked apple juice, and some had apple juice for breakfast Friday morning. Everyone in the class raised their hands when asked if they like apple pie.

With this degree of enthusiasm for apples, it is not shocking that the class members enjoyed their apple slices. Paris Jordan gave them a thumbs up, Samaya Burchette said she liked them, and Kamya Kearney and Tyler Alston said that the apple slices were good.

Other classmates agreed.

“I think they are so good,” said Sophia Brauer.

Jill Ellis’ kindergarten class was equally happy to be eating apple slices.

Laniya Williams said that her father grows apples, and six students said that their parents bring home apples from the grocery store. Ten students liked apple pie, but two had never tried the sweet treat.

When it came time for the apple taste test, Lilli Williams described the fruit as juicy and sweet. 

“They’re good,” said Nicholas Harrison. Classmates Williams, Christopher Howard, Demetrius Brown and Zaria Dunkley agreed.

As Ayala and Ellis’ classes left the cafeteria and other classes began their lunch, each student was invited to participate in the taste test.

On Monday, Earnhardt reported that between 320 and 340 students, teachers and staff ate apple slices, and some came back for seconds.

According to the vote tally, 169 students loved the apples and 21 liked them. However, there was one student who marked the “tried it” column, indicating a less than enthusiastic opinion about the taste.

Earnhardt said that her favorite comment came from a second-grade student who said, “I don’t like it.” After a long pause for dramatic effect, he added, “I extremely love it.” 

When the boy made five tally marks on the vote board, Earnhardt asked if the other four marks were for his friends. The student said that the extra marks were to show how much he loved apples.

Earnhardt expressed appreciation for the work of Daniel Harris, Warren County Schools’ Child Nutrition director, for obtaining the apples used in the taste test.

She hopes that the students’ excitement will continue with November’s food of choice, kale.

“The goal is to have monthly taste tests with seasonal produce,” Earnhardt said.