Playing with their food

Annual event encourages creativity with vegetables

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Kids give their creations one final inspection before the Camas Farmer's Market Veggie Derby last year. Awards were given out for most use of veggies, farthest/fastest and most creative.

Most of the time, kids are told not to play with their food.

But at the annual Camas Farmer’s Market Veggie Derby, it’s just the opposite.

Here, children are encouraged to use their skills to make the “coolest, fastest, funniest car” using an assortment of veggies.

The derby, which takes place Wednesday, Aug. 6, is a popular event.

“I love seeing how many kids are so excited for this event every year,” said Marilyn Goodman, market coordinator. “They are so ready for veggie derby when it comes around and can’t wait to make their veggie vehicles. Watching their faces as they are hard at work creating their masterpieces is so fun.”

It is the sixth year of the event. Veggies and materials are provided for up to 75 children. The vehicles are judged according to most creative, fastest and most use of veggies. Children begin making their vehicles when the market opens at 3 p.m. and the racing begins at 5:30.

“They have these looks of determination and are very much into making their vehicles look perfect with just the right touches,” Goodman said. “It might be the addition of a few flowers on the top or just one more piece of carrot that will be the ‘driver.'”

Whole Foods Market provides the veggies, which include zucchini, carrots, corn on the cob, potatoes, asparagus, apples, crookneck squash, mushrooms and green beans. The business also provides staff who volunteer to help the kids assemble their vehicles. Market flower vendors donate flowers for the kids to add that extra “touch” to their vehicles.

“I love seeing the pride in the kids’ faces once their vehicles are completed and the excitement they show in getting ready for the big race,” Goodman said.

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