Local Foods Class Benefit from Parent Expertise

October 11, 2022 / Andrea Wenger
Grape juice from Wenger Grapes in Family and Consumer Science class.
Grape juice from Wenger Grapes in Family and Consumer Science class.

Parents of EMS students shared their expertise this fall in the “local foods” class, part of the Family Consumer Science curriculum developed by Anna Haarer.


Mark and Wendy (Wenger) Hochstedler, both members of the class of ’95 and EMS parents, came to to the school in early October bearing the literal fruits of their labor: grapes, grape juice, and jelly.

The two operate Wenger Grapes, a small family farm growing Concord and Niagara grapes in Waynesboro, Virginia. Wendy grew up on the family business which has been in operation since 1938.

The two shared about everything from growing to harvesting, marketing and selling from their own vineyards, as well as local farmers’ markets. They also left 10 lbs. of grapes for the class to make into jelly later in the week.

The operation offers pick-your-own and online ordering, in addition to purchasing already harvested grapes. See more about the Wenger Grape business here.


A few week’s later, Rachel Weaver joined the class to share her bread baking expertise. Rachel has been grinding her own wheat (increased nutritional benefits) and baking bread for about 20 years. She often comes to the school to speak in Anna Haarer’s classes and demonstrate bread baking techniques.

This year’s visit helped Rachel to mark a special milestone, her 50th birthday. Prior to the EMS visit, she had baked 44 loaves to donate to the Virginia Mennonite Relief Sale, to benefit the work of Mennonite Central Committee. With her EMS visit, she rounded the total of donated loaves up to 50, leaving behind six loaves for faculty and staff to purchase and benefit the sale.

In addition to special class visitors, the local food class took field trips this fall to the Harrisonburg Farmer’s Market and Onyx Hill Fruit and Plants.



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