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Passion, enthusiasm highlights grocery trip

The art of culinary design has been passed from generation to generation for hundreds of years. Carrying on this tradition, Sharon Scharf, home economics teacher, escorted her students to a local Save Mart on Sept. 23 where a professional merchandiser showed them the ropes.

“We’ve been going on this trip for five years now,” Scharf said. “I always enjoy it. The students get the opportunity to learn from someone in the nutrition industry.”

Over the last six years, Scharf has taken her home economics students to the Save Mart on Cedar and Herndon for an educational field trip. Sharon Blakely, a registered dietitian, is the consumer relations’ coordinator for Save Mart Supermarkets throughout the San Joaquin Valley.

“Mrs. Blakely has a real gift at presenting useful information to high school students about the grocery industry and Save Mart’s part in it,” Scharf said. “She speaks with enthusiasm and has a passion for the business.”

While touring Save Mart, students were introduced to concepts such as merchandizing, reading nutrition labels, smart shopping and consumer education.

“My favorite part of the tour was going into the bakery,” Ashley Tucker, ’05, said. “We got to learn about how they made all the cookies, cakes, and bread. It was a really unique experience.”

Students also appreciated the knowledge they gained from their knowledgeable tour guide.

“The lady [Blakely] who did the tour was very excited and enthusiastic,” Taylor Warner, ’05, said. “She knew everything about the store. The trip was a really informational experience.”

Blakely’s career in nutrition has spanned 24 years and has opened the door for her to teach health in a preventative manner.

“Nutrition’s role in preventative medicine used to be “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away!” Blakely said. “Nowadays I can apply food and nutrition to health in countless ways, and I can be creative and open doors of opportunity.

“Whether old or young, male or female, student or adult, employed or unemployed, vegetarian or carnivore, everybody eats!”

Scharf hoped the outing to Save Mart and Blakely’s expertise would benefit her students later on in life, and give them skills that will be used on a day-to-day basis.

“As a dietitian, I know the importance of understanding food and your health,” Scharf said. “Save Mart has a wonderful program offering this educational opportunity.”

For more information on joining the home economics class, contact Scharf at 297-9464, ext. 159 or Blakely at (209) 557-6312. Those interested in learning about the grocery industry should visit www.gourmetnews.com/home.htm or www.gourmetnews.com/september2001/depts/sds/sdsstory4.htm.

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