“I truly believe that eating fruits and vegetables is a magic pill and if we can get kids to eat them, we could…” said Janet Celi, Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Coordinator for the NJ Department of Agriculture, Division of Food and Nutrition.
Janet starts out each of her workshops with this statement and weaves in the possibilities for what could happen when kids eat their fruits and vegetables. During these workshops, food service directors and teachers are donning googly-eyed masks blindly trying a new fruit, running to put in sequential order what they believe is the largest fruit and vegetable crop in NJ, and wondering how cutting and chopping up a mix of rainbow cauliflower, raspberries, peaches, cilantro, basil, and a chili-honey dressing will ever go together. Then the magic happens, and it all goes together. The room fills with the scent of farm fresh-cut herbs, fruits, and vegetables and folks sit down to sample an array of food they didn’t know they would love but end up going for seconds. Jersey Fresh Strawberry Salsa anyone? Perhaps you might want to try the Fall for Cauliflower Salad, Janet promises cauliflower and raspberries do in fact go together.
Just as Janet can find a fruit and vegetable to go together perfectly, so too does she collaborate and blend together the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program perfectly with the NJ Farm to School Program. Always blending, a mix of local, recipe collaboration, with a sprinkle of fun Janet Celi lifts up local to a new level and brings her magic wherever she goes