Children excitedly dig for produce during Harvest Day in Northport

Students dug potatoes Thursday in their school garden project at the Edna Drinkwater Elementary School's Harvest Day.
Students dug potatoes Thursday in their school garden project at the Edna Drinkwater Elementary School's Harvest Day. Buy Photo
Posted Sept. 26, 2013, at 3:41 p.m.
Second grader Alexis Smith harvested a cabbage nearly as big as she was Thursday at the Edna Drinkwater Elementary School's Harvest Day.  Fifth graders Issac Ernst, (left), Matt LeBlanc and Robert Hicock pose behind her.
Second grader Alexis Smith harvested a cabbage nearly as big as she was Thursday at the Edna Drinkwater Elementary School's Harvest Day. Fifth graders Issac Ernst, (left), Matt LeBlanc and Robert Hicock pose behind her. Buy Photo

NORTHPORT, Maine — Nothing gets the children of Northport as excited as cabbages, rainbow corn and digging potatoes.

At least that was the case Thursday, as the 100 or so students of the Edna Drinkwater Elementary School enthusiastically took part in “Harvest Day” activities, including gathering produce from the garden that they planted last spring.

“Oooh, a potato!” came the shouts from the group of children assigned to harvest one of the six raised beds in the school garden.

Glee over finding potatoes hidden in the rich black dirt was quickly followed, in one girl’s case, by horror.

“Eww, a worm, a giant worm!” she shrieked.

The adults volunteering with the garden project — which was first planted in the 1990s — said that it’s great to get youngsters to know more about where their food comes from.

“They can learn about the different vegetables,” said David Smith of Belfast. “That leads right into healthier diets and enjoying eating their vegetables.”

But don’t tell that to fifth grader Issac Ernst, 11. He helped design the shape of this year’s garden — a sun with rays emanating out from the center in the form of raised beds. He also helped plant cabbage and other vegetables.

“I don’t like cabbage. I don’t eat it,” he said. “But I planted it.”

However, Issac was excited about one of the next Harvest Day projects that seemed likely to incorporate cabbage.

“We’re going to make stone soup! You put a stone in the bottom of the pot. Then you can put anything you want into it,” he said.

His favorite vegetable is carrots. Classmates Matt LeBlanc and Robert Hicock, both 10, also helped design the garden last year. Their favorite vegetable? Corn on the cob.

Smith and Dean Anderson of Belfast, another volunteer, said that one key to the garden’s success was that a kind neighbor — Matt Scala — came by in the summer to weed, water and mow around the raised beds. That meant that when the students came back to school, they were met with a garden ready to harvest — not an overgrown mess of weeds.

“The story of this garden, I think it’s just a huge success,” Smith said. “It really is beautiful.”

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