Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pine Grove kindergartners get inside look at Publix

Pine Grove kindergartener Samantha Farias, 6, watches as Glen Lakes Publix bakery manager Kim Velez decorates a cake.

PAULETTE LASH RITCHIE | Special to the Times

Pine Grove kindergartener Samantha Farias, 6, watches as Glen Lakes Publix bakery manager Kim Velez decorates a cake.

WEEKI WACHEE — Ja'Mariyah Henry, 6, needed a step stool to reach the scanner at the Glen Lakes Publix store so she could swipe her items and print her receipt under the watchful eye of Publix cashier Tracie Vest.

All of Ja'Mariyah's classmates had a chance to be cashiers. And they were just getting started with their investigation into the supermarket's inner workings.

Ja'Mariyah visited the store with Pine Grove Elementary School kindergarteners and their teachers. One of those teachers, Hanora Cassels, said they took the children "so they can learn about community helpers. This way they get a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to run this business."

Cassels was quick to show her appreciation to the store.

"Publix does a good job of taking care of us," she said.

From the register, the children moved over to the bakery, where department manager Kim Velez demonstrated how to decorate a cake. The finishing touch was the addition of "Mrs. Cassels" to the cake, which Velez did with the names of all of the visiting teachers. At the end of the tour, the cakes went back to the school.

On to the deli, where the children's first sight was an oven full of roasting, rotating, sizzling chickens, which was greeted with a resounding chorus of "oooh." The children were soon distracted to focus on deli clerk D.J. Lane, who was working the popcorn-making machine.

As the popped kernels exploded out of the machine, the children screamed in appreciation. (Kindergarteners are very vocal.) A bag of popcorn was sent home with each child, and the children finished at the deli munching on slices of cheese.

Next up: produce. Here the children watched produce clerk JoAnn Mills take a pineapple, which had its top and bottom lopped off, and place it under a machine, which dropped over and around the fruit, cutting loose the peel in one fell swoop. All Mills had to do was open the peel like a book and discard it. Each child received a chunk of sweet pineapple and a walk through the produce cooler.

In the seafood department, seafood specialist Marc Deese was waiting with a gutted salmon on a table. He sneaked in a science lesson, pointing out the fins, tail, teeth and gills. He explained how gills work, which motivated another chorus from the children.

In the meat department, assistant meat manager Michael Schafer had steaks and talked to the children about the various ways to cook meat. Meat cutter Heather Henson demonstrated how she grinds meat into hamburger, and then meat wrapper Sue Rogers packaged it and priced it.

The children moved from meat to the stockroom to watch assistant grocery manager Johnny Martens crush cardboard boxes. Then Martens took them into the cooler that houses milk, eggs and other perishables. It was 40 degrees in there, a Florida winter.

Next, Martens led them into the freezer to see the ice cream, pizzas and the rest of the frozen food. It was minus-10 degrees, a Wisconsin winter. The children loved it.

The children defrosted as they returned to the front of the store to receive goodie bags that included their popcorn sample and prepared to leave.

Although the cooler and freezer were popular parts of this outing, there were other favorites.

"My favorite part (was) the popcorn popper," said Samantha Farias, 6.

"My favorite part was the cake," Mikaela Napier, 5, said.

Chestin Collins, 6, agreed with both of them. He liked "the popcorn, because I love popcorn and I eat popcorn every day, and my other favorite part was the cake, 'cause it looked so good."

Pine Grove kindergartners get inside look at Publix 03/16/17 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 15, 2017 4:09pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bicylist critically injured in crash involving SUV on Bayside Bridge

    Accidents

    A bicyclist was critically injured Friday morning when a driver drifted into his lane and struck him on the Bayside Bridge, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

  2. Remnants of Cindy expected to drench Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia (w/video)

    Hurricanes

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Forecasters expect remnants of Tropical Depression Cindy to drench parts of Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia Friday afternoon and evening, bringing heavy rainfall, possible flash flooding and higher river and lake levels through the weekend.

    Wth a rising tide, strong southerly winds from Tropical Depression Cindy lash the lakefront Thursday, June 22, 2017 in Mandeville, La. [David Grunfeld | NOLA.com The Times-Picayune via AP]
  3. North Korea denies torturing American detainee Otto Warmbier (w/video)

    World

    SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea on Friday denied it cruelly treated or tortured an American student who was detained for more than year and died days after being released in a coma.

    Mourners line the street after the funeral of Otto Warmbier, Thursday, June 22, 2017, in Wyoming, Ohio. Warmbier, a 22-year-old University of Virginia undergraduate student who was sentenced in March 2016 to 15 years in prison with hard labor in North Korea, died this week, days after returning to the United States. [Associated Press]
  4. Johnny Depp jokes about assassinating President Trump at Glastonbury Festival (w/video)

    Celebrities

    LOS ANGELES — Johnny Depp has asked a crowd at the Glastonbury Festival when was the last time an actor assassinated a president. The remarks came during a segment Thursday in which Depp was speaking about President Donald Trump.

    Actor Johnny Depp introduces a film at the Glastonbury music festival at Worthy Farm, in Somerset, England, Thursday, June 22, 2017. [Grant Pollard | Invision/AP]
  5. Morning after off day: Rays ready for slumping O's

    Blogs