The best kid-friendly food at Target Field happens to be the healthiest, too. Roots for the Home Team, a new kid-run concession, is tossing up salads created and taste-tested by youth gardeners and cooks. At the last game, the salads sold out before the second inning began.
Recipes were designed by kids, grades seven through high school, who participate in Twin Cities youth gardening programs -- Eastside Garden Corps: Community Design Center of Minnesota; Emerge Community Development, and Youth Farm and Market Project. The gardens are located in ethnically diverse and underserved neighborhoods.
The initiative is the brainchild of Susan Moores, a registered dietitian committed to improving children's health. "I've learned that, when students grow and prepare their own vegetables, there's a huge change in attitude about good food," she said. She engaged several partners -- the Twins Community Fund, Delaware North Companies (DNC, the food and beverage management company for Target Field) -- and she worked with Megan O'Hara, a fierce advocate for youth health and local food.
"But it's the kids who made this all happen," Moores said. "We suggested the idea and they ran with it, creating bold, surprising flavor combinations." Sergio Arredondo, an eighth-grader at Nellie Stone Johnson School's Youth Farm and Market Project program, came up with a fiesta salad. "I use a lot of cilantro, jalapeño and lime when I cook at home," he said. "It makes everything taste good. We grow a lot of jalapeños and cilantro in the Youth Farm and Market Project garden, so it made sense to use them here."
The youth gardens supply most of the produce; additional ingredients come from local farmers and natural food co-ops. "We want to change the conversation about food and health," Moores said. "What better way to learn about healthy food and business than to grow, cook and sell good food?" she asked. "In the process, the kids are honing leadership skills and delighting baseball fans." Salad choices include Couscous-a-Licious, Super Soba Citrus, Oishii Asian and Silas' Fiesta Salad.
The salads, prepared in the DNC kitchens, are sold by the kids during Sunday home games. Look for the big orange carrot and the Roots for the Home Team sign near the Gate 34 entrance to Target Field.