Dig it, eat it: Wednesday is ‘Garden Giveaway Day’

17 Jun

“These cucumbers are prickly!”

“I’ve never seen so much garlic in one place.”

“My mom grows tomatoes like these at home.”

Ms. Brogden and students harvest onions, which we'll give out next week.

Students Daniel, Luis, Jonathan and Christina were full of observations as we harvested cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, basil and garlic in the George Watts Montessori garden yesterday.

As they plucked Sun Gold tomatoes and banana peppers from the vine, they were doing more than gathering goods for our first Garden Giveaway Day (more on that in a minute). They were gathering ideas for a writing exercise they would do back in the classroom.

Ms. Brogden later told me:

“When we got back upstairs, the kids were sooo excited to write about what they had seen and touched. We wrote stories, and they had so many descriptive words and experiences. I loved it … especially in contrast to my second group that didn’t go out in the garden and how much they struggled with the assignment of writing a garden story.”

It makes sense: Just think about how much easier it is to talk about something if you’ve experienced it firsthand. That’s one reason a school garden can be such a powerful tool.

When parents came to pick up their children, who are among the 40 participating in the summer GROW program, our Garden Giveaway was in full swing. We sent home over a dozen cucumbers, dozens of bags of Sun Gold tomatoes and basil, a handful of peppers, and I lost count of the garlic plants, but they formed such a heap people were audibly gasping at the sight of them.

(The market’s aim is to help support families with healthful foods. Since we have a limited supply of produce, we’re only distributing to families and teachers participating in the GROW program. We’ll run the market every Wednesday through July.)

The recipe of the week is one I got at the Durham Farmers Market and that my family LOVES. Admittedly, it’s a little naughty with its heavy cream. But you can substitute half-and-half.

Best part about it? The easy-to-cook dish uses three things that are in season and that we picked fresh yesterday from the garden — garlic, basil and Sun Gold tomatoes. During the Garden Giveaway, 40 GW families could pick up a recipe, along with fresh ingredients … for FREE!

Scroll to the bottom for the recipe…

Garlic fresh out of the ground

Students picking the (surprisingly) prickly cucumbers

Showing off some of the goodies we sent home this week.

Ready to help customers

Ms. McGill snags a garlic.

Shiloh’s Creamy Sun Gold Pasta

I’ve never used the shrimp when I’ve made this recipe, so you should know that it’s absolutely scrumptious without it. If you don’t have Sun Gold tomatoes — which are small, orange and sweet — try using sweet cherry tomatoes.

3 cups Sun Gold tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 cup fresh basil, packed
2 tbsp butter
6-8 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2/3 cup heavy cream
one hunk of Romano or Parmesan
Pasta of choice
Optional: peeled shrimp

Heat your pan and saute the garlic in butter, being careful not to burn it. Add salt, pepper and halved tomatoes and wilt them down a few minutes. Add cream and cook gently, allowing the sauce to thicken. When it’s to your liking, add peeled shrimp directly to the simmering cream sauce. They cook pretty darn fast, so wait until the end. Then chop your basil and throw it in. This is perfectly delicious without the shrimp, but incredibly decadent with them. Plate your pasta and smother with sauce. Serve with grated cheese on the side, so it doesn’t get wasted on the sides of the pan.

3 Responses to “Dig it, eat it: Wednesday is ‘Garden Giveaway Day’”


  1. Kid-to-kid: GW students gain a garden mentor for summer « Growing Gardeners - June 29, 2010

    […] thrilled that the George Watts PTA is collaborating with SEEDS on the school’s summer “Garden Giveaway Day” project, in which we harvest the George Watts garden and send produce home with […]

  2. 5 ways edible gardens make kids smarter and healthier « Growing Gardeners - February 1, 2011

    […] families in need. Over the summer, everything we harvested was given away to families at a weekly Garden Giveaway Day at the school. Last spring, every family who wanted one got a free potted tomato plant, along with […]

  3. Guest/5 Ways Edible Gardens Make Kids Smarter and Healthier | Zomppa - International Food Magazine - February 17, 2011

    […] families in need. Over the summer, everything we harvested was given away to families at a weekly Garden Giveaway Day at the school. At last spring’s Great Tomato Giveaway, every family who wanted one got a free […]

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