Thank you, Jason Goodell, Mike and Bianca Zaransky for helping us get our garden ready to plant! Mike came by on a Sunday and cleared off a lot of old plants. Then he spread a huge load of manure donated by farmer and parent, Jason. This awesome tractor made out garden look like a newly frosted chocolate cake! It was a warm sunny day and the raspberries got their first weeding.
After School students made a wish list of garden crops for this year. Then they planted a few flats of marigolds and herbs. Some of those flats will get an extra boost of heat, water and light at Harlow’s greenhouses before they go into our garden. Many thanks to Evan and Paul Harlow.
A group of 15 kids will be working in the garden after school on Thursdays, planting early greens, peas and carrots.
On MAY 10th, the whole school will come out to the garden grade by grade to plant. We’re hoping the warm weather continues and that the kids get to see some garden growth before school ends on June 8th!
In the summer we have six weeks of summer camp when campers will be able to participate in the July/August cultivation of the garden.
Meet our new Westminster Schools chef, Harley Sterling. He is dedicated to maximizing our use of local farm raised products. Harley is truly a culinary gift to our schools and to the local Head Start program; AND he welcomes student participation! Here he is explaining to a group of fourth graders how root vegetables become sweeter after they’ve been exposed to frost. (Hint: We also have a science lesson going on here.) These same students washed and peeled enough carrots, rutabagas and parsnips for the top layer of the featured Shepherd’s Pie lunch. Ingredients for the lunch menu (including the beef) are locally sourced whenever possible.
Today we celebrated that effort by honoring the Harlow family guys at lunch. Farmer Evan Harlow a former student here, spoke to the lunchroom students about the importance of keeping food sources local as a way for our community to stay strong and vital. Evan and his father, Paul work closely with Harley to help create tasty innovative meals that kids will eat. Teo Harlow is a Kindergartener at our school.
Our featured veggies this month were carrots. Accompanying the shepherd’s pie was a yummy carrot ginger soup. The soup was sweetened with maple syrup from Perry Family Mapleworks of Westminster! (We are leaving processed sugar behind as of this month in favor of our local Perry family syrup.) Every student was given a soup sample to try. Fourth grade girls took notes on student responses. In general they found out that most students gave the soup a ‘thumbs up’ or would try it again. It was wonderful to watch how much the girls’ confidence grew with each new interview.
On the last day of the winter After School Program, this group put together veggie pies after learning a bit about Beatrix Potter and her beloved Peter. The day was warm enough to spend a little of our time together checking out the garden. While we went outside, one of our veteran 5th grade cooks stayed back and made kale smoothies for everyone. Some children were very interested in gleaning last year’s kale for more smoothies. (I think we have a few kale converts here.)