( File photo )

Gold Coast Packing teamed up with the Santa Maria Valley (Calif.) YMCA recently to teach children how to grow vegetables and turn them into center-of-the-plate dishes.

In late June, Gold Coast sponsored the Health Cooking Camp at the YMCA in Santa Maria, teaching 9- to 11-year-olds how to make Cauliflower Ceviche, Broccoli & Cauliflower Stir-fry, and Spinach Salad. They also talked about food safety tips and table etiquette.

“Working with these kids each day was a complete joy,” Crystal Chavez, marketing coordinator at Gold Coast Packing, said in a news release. “We learned many had never eaten cauliflower or spinach before, but loved how we prepared it and quickly became new veggie lovers.” 

Healthy living and youth development are areas of focus at the YMCA, and healthy eating is part of that, Kelsey Ferguson, childcare director at the facility, said in the release.

“We are grateful to Gold Coast Packing for the generous supply and variety of new veggies to introduce to our campers and inspirational recipes to take home and share with their families,” Ferguson said in the release. “Some of their favorite items were the watermelon radish tacos with cilantro aioli and cauliflower rice ceviche. Our campers and staff are already looking forward to another partnership with Gold Coast Packing!”

Gold Coast provided the fresh produce used during camp, and encouraged children to draw on their own experiences to personalize recipes. 

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