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‘Seed-to-snack’ garden grows healthy snackers

28 Feb

You’ve heard of “farm to fork,” right? Think of this season’s garden as a “seed-to-snack” project.

Students at George Watts Montessori started planting seeds last week, and they’ll keep going until school gets out. By April, students should be able to start picking from the school’s edible garden to make their own classroom snacks. Imagine walking outside to pluck a head of lettuce — or cut off a flowering broccoli or pull up fresh carrots — then going back to class to make your own delicious recipe for snack.

Last year, some classrooms made lettuce-based salads. Others made salads from freshly picked broccoli, or simply pulled a few carrots to supplement a fruit snack. What creative concoctions will they come up with this year??

Here’s what we’re planting this season, and when:


Radish with your chips?

9 Jun

Our friends down the road at EK Powe hosted a Radish Day last week, which turned out really well by all accounts.

For the entire school day, the fearless Jen Minnelli, chair of the PTA’s Slow Food committee, stationed herself at a “Taste Table” with tortilla chips, radish salsa and vegetable dip. And as kids and parents passed by, they stopped to enjoy the healthy snack. Hopefully, as they nibbled, students remembered the radishes, carrots, lettuce and more they’ve been growing in their beautiful school garden.

This makes me dream about a day when kids can harvest and make daily snacks straight from their own gardens. (Get the radish salsa recipe here.)

Thanks goes to Whole Foods, who partnered with EK Powe for the event! And to Jen for her all her work.

Jen and her son at Powe's garden - photo courtesy of The Durham News

Green smoothies and 320 adventurous eaters

8 Jun

Today we held our final food-in-the-garden event of the school year at George Watts, and what a finale it was. On the menu: grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato and basil, and green smoothies. More on that in minute.

First, I must thank Becca Wright, our school nutritionist, and the team of volunteers who worked in the garden all day, helping kids make the connection between what’s growing in our school garden and the food we were tasting. The volunteers walked the kids to the tomato and basil garden beds (and the now out-of-season strawberry bed), encouraging them to pluck and eat when the fruit is ripe. We picked a few of the Sun Gold tomatoes and popped them right into our mouths. Absolutely wonderful!

We used our garden’s fresh basil for the sandwiches, as well as sharp cheddar cheese donated by Cabot Creamery, a family-owned cooperative in Vermont — thanks, Cabot Creamery!

Now, back to the menu. The green smoothies were (unsurprisingly) the hit of the day. The kids cut up the fruit and spinach, measured ingredients and combined them in the blender. Result? Greenish-brownish smoothie.

Inevitably, one kid in each group was brave enough to be the first taster. And after one kid said, “Mmmmm!” almost everyone else fell in line. Even kindergartners gobbled it up. Parents, you would’ve been proud. You’ll find the recipe at the end of the post.

Our school nutritionist Becca Wright

A green mustache

Our sandwich chef volunteers

Kids picking garlic from the garden

How to Make a Green Smoothie

1/2 banana
12 strawberries
2 cups spinach
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon honey
ice cubes

Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Add ice as desired.

1-minute gardening: Digging the hole

30 Mar

During a recent planting day at our school, Sarah Vroom of Bountiful Backyards told students how to dig holes for our plants and why we amend the clay-rich soil found on our grounds.