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. Trump reveals that he didn't record Comey after all

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump declared Thursday he never made and doesn't have recordings of his private conversations with ousted former FBI director James Comey, ending a monthlong guessing game that he started with a cryptic tweet and that ensnared his administration in yet more controversy.

    President Donald Trump said Thursday that he didn’t record his conversations with James Comey.
  2. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick tonight in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) eludes  Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault (24) during the second period of Wednesday???‚??„?s (12/28/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  3. Investigation Discovery TV show profiles 2011 Landy Martinez murder case

    Crime

    The murder of a St. Petersburg man will be featured this week on a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery.

    Jose Adame sits in a Pinellas County courtroom during his 2016 trial and conviction for first-degree murder. Adame was convicted of first-degree murder last year for torturing and then executing his boyfriend as he pleaded for his life in 2011. Now it will be featured in a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery. The episode will air on June 26 at 9 p.m. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  4. Uhuru mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel protests exclusion from debate

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG — Jesse Nevel, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement candidate for mayor, on Thursday demanded that he be allowed to participate in a July 25 televised debate between incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and challenger Rick Baker.

    Mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel holds a news conference outside the headquarters of the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday to protest his exclusion from the mayoral debate. Nevel is a member of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement.
  5. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman also has top-9 wing on his wish list

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Much has been made about the Lightning's interest in bolstering its blue line, even after last week's acquisition of defense prospect Mikhail Sergachev.

    Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman gestures as he speaks to the media about recent trades during a news conference before an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. The Lightning, over the past few days, have traded goaltender Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings, forward Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and forward Valtteri Filppula to the Philadelphia Flyers. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA101