Department of Education launches state’s first take home taste test program at New River Primary

OAK HILL, WV (WOAY) – On Thursday, Fayette County Schools handed out 11-day meal packs to their students to get them through the holidays.

But students at New River Primary in Oak Hill got a little something extra as they were the first school in West Virginia to be picked to do a take home taste test. 

“We have an opportunity to work with a local farmer to do a taste test,” New River Primary Principal Lee Jones said. “We normally do that in the school, but with this situation, we’re going to send a taste test home with our New River Primary students.” 

Visitors from the West Virginia Department of Education’s child nutrition program came to fill sample bags of sweet peppers grown right here in West Virginia in Upshur County from a local farmer.

Coordinator Melinda Francis says they have done this grant-funded fresh fruit and vegetables program across the state for several years now, allowing students to try homegrown foods in the classroom, but with COVID-19, they had to get creative. 

“It’s really neat this year because we’re sending a sheet home with a recipe and different ways to eat the pepper, so it’s kind of more of a family event,” Francis said. “You know, next time at the grocery store, it will be an opportunity that maybe they’ll buy a pepper that normally they wouldn’t have bought.” 

So as the school service personnel packaged up 11 days worth of meals for around 600 students, those with the school were excited to give the students and their families something new and unique. 

“I just want to say that we’re happy to be able to help our community with providing meals for our students,” Jones said. “It’s so important that we have that. We had a couple families walk here to get food, so I just what everyone to know that what we’re doing is important and that New River Primary is here to support our parents, so if they need anything, we’re here to help them.” 

Anna Saunders
Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.