Ligia, Ervin, Colin and Dara Brandt, aka the "Broccoli Kids" at the Jeffersonville Fresh Stop Market
Not all kids need to be told to eat their vegetables. If left to their own devices, the “Broccoli Kids” at the Jeffersonville Fresh Stop Market might be able to eat their weight in them, while simultaneously encouraging you to eat your vegetables.
The Broccoli Kids are Ligia, Ervin, Colin and Dara Brandt, who along with their mother Heather, have been volunteering at every Jeffersonville market.
“Our Mom has raised us to eat vegetables, so we’ve always liked them,” said Colin, 10.
Every other Thursday finds the Brandt kids manning the tables at the market, helping shareholders pick their produce. For those who need a little extra help, one of the Broccoli Kids is happy to jump in and carry the bag and collect their share. And if someone is not too sure about a particular vegetable, they have advice and encouragement.
“With radishes, the smaller ones are not as spicy, and one person took all the big ones,” Ligia, 14, said. “When I told her (they were the spicy ones), she dumped them all out and then picked out the little ones.”
Dara, 6, can even tell you her favorite way to eat radishes.
“I sometimes cut them up with some apples, and then I cut the apple up into little pieces, and then I mix it up with some salt and pepper,” she said.
And coming from kids, their encouragement might meet with more success.
“If they don't like the vegetable as they go by, we try to encourage them to take it because it might taste good if they try it another time,” Ervin, 13, said. “We tell them to try it a different way. I know a person who doesn’t like peppers raw, but she likes them cooked.”
The Brandts earned their nickname at the first market when they became so excited about counting and sorting broccoli. Fellow volunteer Gayle Collins said they know more about vegetables than she does at times.
“They are hard workers,” she said. “I think it is very important to start them young with volunteering, and these kids really enjoy it. They can’t wait to do something, and I think that is very good.”
Their mom said she thought the market would be a good way to get her kids involved with volunteering.
“It was a good match for them, a way that they could serve, and a way that we could benefit and save on organic food, because it is a bit pricey with six members of our family, and they eat vast quantities of food,” Heather said.
Sydney Smith, a New Roots’ AmeriCorps VISTA worker said getting kids involved early helps them make the right start.
“You keep true to the traditions you held whenever you were younger, so if you are around vegetables and you know they are good for you, you’re more likely to hold that throughout life” she said. “It’s a good opportunity for them to see real food and a mission in action.”