NORWAY — Combine a half-dozen middle school students, a pumpkin and garlic harvest and three runaway pigs, and you’ll find an exciting afternoon at Roberts Farm Preserve.

Students from Kim Carson’s class at Oxford Hills Middle School were on hand Friday to continue harvesting the vegetables grown on the farm which are used to supplement menu offerings for students in the Oxford Hills School District cafeterias.

The students were given a variety of tasks to perform Friday, including weeding the garden, washing buckets, sorting garlic, picking pumpkins and filling holes on the grounds, when an unexpected task was added to the list  — catching three escaped pigs.

It’s not that hard to catch a pig, said Lucas Cook, who successfully rounded up “Junior” with a handful of grain. “You have a bunch of grain in your hand and stick it in his (the pig’s) face. Then you let him smell it and switch the grain to your other hand and grab him,” Cook said.

The pigs have been “on site” all summer as part of a scientific summer student experiment to see which pig grew the fastest eating certain foods.

The Roberts Farm Preserve is a 165-acre, multi-use conservation and recreation project of the Western Foothills Land Trust. Several years ago, the School Administrative District 17 community began an outdoor classroom that has continued to expand, including portable classrooms, greenhouses that produce thousands of pounds of produce each year, laying hens, an aquaponic program and pigs.

It is a year-round outdoor classroom setting for students to learn and have fun, created in part with the use of a $1.2 million Physical Education Program grant the district received in 2011. The money, in part, allowed the district to purchase items such as kayaks, canoes and cross-country skis that are used on the site.

Harvest time — one of the major components of the farm work — is well underway at the gardens.

Jodi Truman, director of SAD 17 Food Services, said that to date, 124 pounds of green beans have been harvested, along with 120 pounds of tomatoes (which are still being harvested), 50 pounds of cucumbers, 101 pounds of kale and 50 pounds of beets. Combined with produce from Cooper Farms in West Paris, including corn shucked by students and blueberries from Machias, Truman has been able to develop a delicious and nutritious menu for students districtwide.

Each day, different produce is used, Truman said. On Mondays, fresh apples from Cooper Farms in West Paris are incorporated into the menu; Tuesday, green beans grown and harvested by SAD 17 students at Roberts Farm Preserve; Wednesday, farm fresh salad is made using tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, beets and kale from Roberts Farm Preserve; on Thursday, Maine blueberry parfaits are made for breakfast; and Friday, Cooper Farms corn is used in the menu.

Additionally, the produce is used for classroom activities, Truman said. All students in the kindergarten through grade eight schools will have the opportunity to guess the weight of pumpkins just harvested. The winner will be able to take the pumpkin home, she said.

Truman said elementary schools in Harrison, Hebron, Norway and West Paris and the Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School will have a local farmer visiting their schools. Each farmer will share with the students what they produce at their farm and explain a little about the process, Truman said.

Kate Goldberg, Carl Costanzi  and Sarah Carter from Healthy Oxford Hills are also scheduled to present a Maine Foods for Maine Kids class to students in grades kindergarten through eight, she added.

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