BAXTER — It’s not typically youngsters welcome the sight of greens.

However they did on the Warrior Early Studying Middle in Baxter when Brainerd Mayor Dave Badeaux appeared of their halls as a life-sized cucumber on Thursday, Might 12.

“Who likes cucumbers?” Badeaux requested the greater than two dozen youngsters earlier than studying to them “When Cucumber Misplaced His Cool” by Michelle Robinson.

Brainerd Mayor Dave Badeaux wears a cucumber costume and reads to children

Brainerd Mayor Dave Badeaux wears a cucumber costume Thursday, Might 12, 2022, on the Warrior Early Studying Middle in Baxter whereas studying aloud “When Cucumber Misplaced His Cool” by Michelle Robinson.

Frank Lee / Brainerd Dispatch

The mayoral go to in costume was the primary neighborhood outreach occasion of the 12 months by Crow Wing Energized to advertise the cucumber’s win as Crow Wing County’s Vegetable of the 12 months.

“One of many factors is de facto to construct consciousness,” mentioned Karen Johnson, a Crow Wing Energized neighborhood well being specialist. “We wish individuals to seize that vegetable of the 12 months — particularly the youthful ages — as an alternative of various meals selections, like maybe chips.”

One Vegetable, One Group

The zucchini, inexperienced beans, the cucumber, onions and peas had been within the operating for Vegetable of the 12 months. Of the 174 votes solid, 33.9% went for the cucumber and 33.3% went for inexperienced beans, in response to Carolyn McQueen, a SNAP-Ed educator on the College of Minnesota Extension.

“Voting was completed electronically,” Johnson mentioned of the voting wherein peas and onions tied for final place within the third county Vegetable of the 12 months contest. “Group members had been capable of vote for the vegetable from Dec. 1, 2021, to Jan. 28, 2022.”

Crow Wing Energized launched the One Vegetable, One Group initiative to encourage wholesome consuming. The most recent Crow Wing County Group Well being Survey discovered 2 out of three adults within the county should not consuming the really useful 5 or extra vegetables and fruit a day.

Children stand and listen to a presentation about vegetables from people in vegetable costumes.

Brainerd Mayor Dave Badeaux, left, Karen Johnson, a Crow Wing Energized neighborhood well being specialist, and Kara Schaefer, a Crow Wing Energized neighborhood well being educator, speak about greens on Thursday, Might 12, 2022, whereas dressed as a cucumber, a pepper and a carrot, respectively.

Frank Lee / Brainerd Dispatch

“Normally why greens have unhealthy reputations is simply how they style, so now we have some good recipes that we’ll be sharing that you could make with cucumbers,” Kara Schaefer mentioned.

Schaefer is a Crow Wing Energized neighborhood well being educator and helped present cucumber samples to the kids within the type of pickles to style on the Baxter outreach occasion.

“I actually do inform the children that their style buds on their tongue, they alter, so do not be afraid to maintain on attempting meals another way and also you’ll study to love them,” McQueen mentioned.

Badeaux the cucumber will probably be on the Brainerd Public Library at 10:30 a.m. Might 24 for storytime to unfold the gospel of excellent consuming.

“We anticipate voting for the Vegetable of the 12 months in 2023 to be in particular person on the Crow Wing County Truthful,” Johnson mentioned.

Early publicity to wholesome consuming

Badeaux and others who had been dressed as a carrot and a pepper visited these within the Early Childhood Household Schooling program Thursday to advertise the Vegetable of the 12 months.

“Did you discover that now we have some greens again right here?” requested Tahnee Flowers, a workers member, of the younger youngsters who babbled excitedly.

Badeaux mentioned, “Anytime that I can get out in entrance of youngsters and attempt to join with them, I feel it is tremendous vital. I feel rising up on this space the factor that caught out to me probably the most was the leaders and the period of time they spent attempting to attach with children.”

The One Vegetable, One Group initiative strives to unite the neighborhood by encouraging gardeners to plant, develop, prepare dinner and/or share a single vegetable.

“We offer the seeds. … We’ve the directions. We need to make it so simple as doable so that they are capable of plant no matter vegetable it’s after which to attempt that vegetable,” Johnson mentioned.

Crow Wing Energized’s acknowledged mission is to enhance the well being and wellness of county residents by focusing partly on psychological health and office wellness. Early childhood training about wholesome consuming can have advantages that final a lifetime.

“I feel it is actually vital not simply as neighborhood members however as leaders that we get in entrance of youngsters …. to share with them the significance of being attentive to what they’re consuming, and the way what we eat and what we put in our our bodies impacts us,” Badeaux mentioned.

cucumber and pickle slices in sample cups

Slices of cucumber and pickles are positioned in disposable cups for kids Thursday, Might 12, 2022, on the Warrior Early Studying Middle in Baxter, to allow them to pattern the 2022 Crow Wing County “Vegetable of the 12 months.”

Frank Lee / Brainerd Dispatch

Johnson mentioned of the cucumber, “Hopefully, they will acknowledge that vegetable once they’re procuring with their dad and mom. After which, hopefully, the phrase will get again to the dad and mom as to the advantages … why do you have to attain for that as an alternative of chips, and simply how nutritious it’s for you.”

Cucumbers have vitamins, corresponding to potassium and nutritional vitamins Ok and C, in response to the U.S. Division of Agriculture, and are a low-calorie meals which are primarily water, making them nice for reaching hydration objectives.

“There’s one thing inside the cucumber additionally that does assist your physique temperature calm down, so it is an incredible summer season vegetable to eat to assist calm down on these sizzling days,” McQueen mentioned.

Badeaux mentioned, “They’re versatile. You realize you have bought the chop it up, put it on a sandwich or a salad, you have bought the soak it within the oil with the onions, (which) is all the time possibility. However I’ll admit that in relation to cucumbers, I am slightly a fan of the pickle.”

Crow Wing Energized will probably be encouraging the neighborhood to extend their consumption of greens in 2022 by distributing seed packets, sharing recipes and selling wholesome consuming.

“You all the time bought to seek out inventive methods to get individuals to eat greens,” Badeaux mentioned. “Fruit? Not an issue. Greens? You’ve bought to be inventive.”

Cucurbitacins are a pure compound present in cucumbers and another greens, corresponding to squash, in response to the USDA, and a number of variations of cucurbitacins work collectively to inhibit most cancers progress, however some individuals merely can not recover from the style or the feel of greens.

“I all the time inform individuals to roast their veggies,” Schaefer mentioned. “Should you don’t love a veggie, put it within the oven — simply put slightly little bit of oil and salt and pepper on it — and it makes it extra into possibly a french fry. It is slightly bit crunchy. It isn’t mushy.”

Brainerd Mayor Dave Badeaux responds to children at Warrior Early Learning Center in Baxter while dressed as a cucumber.

Brainerd Mayor Dave Badeaux responds to youngsters Thursday, Might 12, 2022, at Warrior Early Studying Middle in Baxter whereas dressed as a cucumber.

Frank Lee / Brainerd Dispatch

Badeaux requested the kids seated at Thursday’s occasion in the event that they favored pickles and lots of responded enthusiastically with their tiny arms up within the air.

“I truly used to do stand-up comedy, and I really like crowds and love being in entrance of individuals, however extra so I simply love entertaining,” Badeaux mentioned of life as an enormous cucumber. “Hopefully, it is one thing they keep in mind as they turn out to be adults as effectively.”

Free cucumber seeds areas

  • Brainerd Household YMCA, 602 Oak St., Brainerd.
  • Brainerd Public Library, 416 S. Fifth St., Brainerd.
  • Crosslake Chamber of Commerce, 35446 Crow Wing County Highway 3, Crosslake.
  • Crow Wing County, Laurel Road, Brainerd.
  • Go to Brainerd, 706 Laurel St., Brainerd.

FRANK LEE could also be reached at 218-855-5863 or at

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