Carrots & Beets, Beets & Carrots: Evergreen students expand their palates.

Flavor Day Fridays Food Tasting events are intended to offer all of our students an opportunity to try new food flavors and textures.  Today's event starred two root vegetables, one that most kids love (carrots) and one that is a new or often, begrudged, vegetable (beets). Smothered in olive oil, red wine vinegar, and olive oil, sprinkled with sea salt and rosemary, then roasted...these two become something savory and wonderful.

 Roasted beets and carrots prepared at home by parent volunteers for our "Flavor Day Friday" School Wide Tasting Event

Roasted beets and carrots prepared at home by parent volunteers for our "Flavor Day Friday" School Wide Tasting Event

Kids throughout the school tried this roasted root vegetable dish and learned respectful ways of responding to a new food, or one that they think they "don't like".  

 Kindergarten uses the "Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down" protocol to respond to questions about the tasting experience.  

Kindergarten uses the "Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down" protocol to respond to questions about the tasting experience.  

We'd like to share a special thank you to the following farmers, businesses and parent  volunteers who actively support edible education at Evergreen. Without their enthusiasm and hard work, we couldn't do what we do as well as we do it!

Thanks to...

Matt at Second Spring Market Garden for selling us a whole bunch of amazing carrots with hardly any notice.

ASAP and the Growing Minds Cooking Stipend grant program for funding this cooking project.

Mother Earth Produce for donating the beets.

EarthFare grocery store for  donating tasting cups for our food tasting events.

Parent Volunteers: Molly Pritchard, Allie Schantz, Rosetta Starshine, and Melanie Derry for preparing the recipe at home.

 

Why do we do food tasting in school?  ...in case you are wondering, check out this great Op Ed piece from the NY Times about the far reaching positive effects that regular “food tasting” experiences can have in the lives of our students.

 

Field to Feast: Chop it, Cook it, Wrap it!

In this trimester's Field to Feast after school club, our theme is Chop it, Cook it, Wrap it!  Students will be learning various chopping and cooking skills and preparing healthy dishes all within the theme of "wraps".  Just think about it...there are SO many things that are fun to eat that are wrapped up: sushi, enchiladas (with made from scratch tortillas, of course), egg rolls, crepes, hand pies, and so much more!

 Field to Feast students chop vegetables for filling our Thai Noodle Lettuce Wraps

Field to Feast students chop vegetables for filling our Thai Noodle Lettuce Wraps

 

This week we learned how to cut our vegetables into "matchsticks" to prepare the filling for Thai Noodle Lettuce Wraps.  This takes a lot of knife control and caution and the kiddos did amazingly well. Kids piled their lettuce wraps high with fillings and smothered them with peanut sauce. Delicious!
 

 

For more information about Evergreen's Field to Feast afterschool clubs, go to the Evergreen Everafter Clubs & Sports webpage.  Remember, Evergreen's afterschool clubs are open to the public!

Pies, Pies, and more...Pies!

Edible Education at Evergreen is a whole new experience now that we have an established classroom kitchen space and an oven. Specifically, the experience is round, crusty, sometimes sweet and sometimes savory... It's all about the PIE in here these days!

Leif making dough
Leif making dough

On our first day together, we explored how flour, butter, salt and water can come together to form the perfect flaky pie crust, or the perfect pasty play dough, depending on a few very important factors.

On week two we dove into a huge pile of apples, picked just the day before down in Henderson county.  These fresh apple varieties all had different flavors and textures and students blended them together to create their very own perfect apple filling.

We learned that it takes some special knife skills and a lot of practice to slice, peel, and core apples. But, we worked together and got it done.  And then came the task of learning how to roll our the dough, filling it, cutting it and pinching the edges.  Again, harder than it looks!

apple pies in oven
apple pies in oven

But, here they are!  An oven filled with delicious apple pies ready for baking...a bit imperfect in presentation, perhaps, but not bad for a first try at it.  I was quite proud of these pie makers.  Pie making is tricky business!

Week three began with a lesson about how to use a food processor to "cheat" and make a homemade pie crust REALLY fast (and delicious).  We made a savory tart crust, with a bit of cornmeal and an egg, rather than milk or water. While the crusts were chilling, I presented the kids with the challenge...we were going to make CSA Pies!  We had just received our CSA box from Terra Preta farms and the challenge was to create pies using just these ingredients.

the csa spread
the csa spread

So, we sauteed and caramelized and roasted to prepare our ingredients: oven roasted eggplant, sweet potato, and zucchini, caramelized onion, garlic sauteed greens, with a sprinkling of cheese of course. And, oh yeah, how about those eggs!  A few kids made quiches.  Look at these beauties!

CSA Pies
CSA Pies

Students gobbled up their pies with a side of salad greens tossed in olive oil and lemon juice.   Afternoon snack doesn't get much better than this.

Nurturing Kids through Partnerships

This week we wrapped up our year long community outreach tutoring experience at St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in West Asheville.   Evergreen first grade Academic Support Teacher, Cathe Bradshaw, worked alongside HELP Program Coordinator, Ms. Zanie Davidison, to tutor 6-10 students every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the 2014-15 school year.  In addition to tutoring support, Marin Leroy Evergreen's EE Coordinator,  provided a healthy snack for every session, giving the students an added boost of after-school nutrition as well as opportunities to try new foods. The students benefited from the extra homework help, and above all, they enjoyed the variety of fresh fruits and vegetables Cathe brought and were eager to try new things whenever they were offered.

The partnership was very successful.  We would like to thank the Rolander Foundation for helping to make this experience possible, as well as Ms. Zanie Davidson for her openness to bringing Cathe on board to work with her in her special community space.

To celebrate Cathe's last tutoring session and the end of the school year, Marin brought Evergreen's Field to Feast class to the church.

Using foods donated by FEAST and Evergreen's new partner farm, Terra Preta, we prepared an Asian Cabbage salad.

mama and child
mama and child
4ths
4ths

Everyone enjoyed learning about the different ingredients and LOVED cooking together.  When it was complete, we feasted and enjoyed one another's company.

Mia & Friend
Mia & Friend

Sowing True Seeds- a story about a few determined 5th grade entrepreneurs

A small group of fifth grade Student Supported Agriculture leaders have been working diligently through the snow, ice and rain to nurture our first Evergreen Peace Garden entrepreneurial adventure. prepping flats

planting seeds3

These determined kiddos have worked hard every day at recess to plant seeds, water them and manage our hoop house to keep things warm  and dry.

Check out these DIY seed warming tables two of our awesome parent volunteers built.  They've worked beautifully!

seed warming2

 

Their hard work has paid off! Little sprouts have grown into sturdy plant starts and tomorrow we'll sell our first batch of plant starts back to Sow True Seeds for them to sell at The Organic Growers School this weekend.

Starts Are Ready round 1-1 Starts Are Ready round 1

 

Thank you Sow True Seeds for this AWESOME opportunity!  And, thank you to these amazing students for their hard work and careful attention.

To purchase plant starts from Sow True Seeds, follow the link to their website to find out their selling locations or visit their store at 146 Church Street in downtown Asheville.

Field to Feast After School Club 2014-2015

Field to Feast engages students with holistic process of growing, harvesting, preparing and eating food.  We work in Evergreen's garden to learn basic gardening skills as well as in our kitchen classroom, where we explore ways to prepare, then eat, what we harvest.  In addition to working in and using ingredients from our own garden, we expose the students to what is grown locally on a more regional scale.  Through our partnership with FEAST (Fresh Easy Affordable Sustainable Tasty), we are able to supplement with ingredients from local farms on a regular basis, emphasizing the importance of connecting to and supporting our local farms and farmers. The Field to Feast curriculum is a part of Evergreen's Environmental Education programming that focuses on connecting youth with food at its source, to understand its journey to our plates and, most importantly, to learn to appreciate good food and have the skills to choose and prepare foods to feed themselves in healthy ways.

With support from the James G.K. McClure Education and Development fund, Evergreen is able to continue to teach the Field to Feast curriculum throughout the 2014-15 school year.  Thank you for your support!

 

 

 

 

Field to Feast: Food & Farmers, Week 1

During session 2 of the Field to Feast class we will be exploring where our food comes from and who grows it.  Of course this will include learning about how to grow it ourselves and what to do with it once we've got it.

Day 1:  Today began by asking ourselves the question, "Can we name where every item in our lunch box began its journey?"  To help us better answer this question we headed off on an adventure to tour Hickory Nut Gap Farm.

I can learn about how the food I eat is grown and processed before it makes its way to my plate.

Our tour at Hickory Nut Gap Farm was led by Hallie, who was full of great information about how different types of food is planted, grown and harvested.  We began with an exploration of meat by visiting the cows in the pasture.

tour HNG

cow HNG

When we entered the pasture, Walker, the farm manager, called us over to meet one of the newly born calves.

baby calf HNG

His nose was very soft.

We also visited the chicken coop and talked about the difference between chickens raised for egg laying and those raised for harvesting for their meat.

The students were curious observers.

Finn & Fish

Scout & Chickens Gloria & chicks

We explored berries of all different types and talked about how they grow and what challenges different crops are faced with.  While out near the berry patches a student discovered this plant:

Asparagus

Asparagus!  Most of our students had never seen an asparagus plant before.  It's beautiful and looks nothing like the plant that we are used to eating when it is mature.  Scout found this little sprout nestled beneath the rest of the more mature plants.  I took a picture of it, then we ate it :-)

Although we didn't get to meet the pigs, the students decided they thought it would be a good idea to purchase some pepperoni from the Hickory Nut Gap store to put on our pizzas we'll make on Friday.

Thank you Hallie and Hickory Nut Gap Farm for the wonderful visit!

Day 2: Creating our own recipes...ice pops from the garden!

I can create delicious and nutritious things to eat from the garden.

Students spent today harvesting, cutting, measuring and blending to create their own ice pop recipes.

Ice Pop Journal Page

Yogurt, lemon, mint...

Gadiel & Emily

Watermelon, lemon, mint...

Gloria & Scout

Lemon balm, basil, mint, blueberry..

 Reggie & Finn

We realized that the flavor combinations are endless, but that the space in the freezer is not.  But  how will they taste?  We'll try them out on Thursday!

Day 3:  The Lord's Acre

Today we visited The Lord's Acre in Fairview and explored what it means to be a "Giving Garden".  The Lord's Acre does a variety of things to make fresh, organic produce available to everyone in their community.  We talked about what a "food desert" is and how it is possible that even though there is so much fresh food everywhere (it seems), that not everyone has access to it or can afford to buy it.

I can learn how to grow and harvest food that I enjoy to eat.

talking with Susan

It was really fun to see many varieties of plants that we had never seen or tasted before.  This is a beet that looks like a peppermint candy inside!

Peppermint Beets

And this is how you harvest carrots...

harvesting carrots-group

harvesting carrots-Reggie

all our wonderous carrots

Thank you, Susan, for sharing The Lord's Acre with us!

We LOVE carrots, especially purple ones!

Day 4:  Ice Pop Taste Test

I can use a variety of fresh ingredients to create and prepare recipes.

a variety of flavors

enjoying the pops 1

enjoying the pops 2

ice pop

Yum.

Field to Feast: Roots and Shoots, Week 2

In Week 2, the Roots and Shoots class will be focusing on useful plants found in nature in addition to the ones we grow and use from the garden.

Day 1: We began the week with a guided hike led by special guest, Alan Muskat.

I can learn about wild plants and how to harvest them. 

Alan gave each student a basket and led us in to the woods.

baskets  heading up the trail

We found spice bush. london

Discovered places where morel mushrooms grow (although we didn't spot any morels themselves!)

morels

Found Touch Me Not, a useful plant for helping heal poison ivy rashes.

 

touch me not 2

touch me not

And various other plants that stuck to our clothes or had funny red bumps, smelled interesting or just looked or felt neat. trail blazing

We learned to thank the plants before harvesting them and how to gauge how much of a plant it is okay to harvest when you are foraging.

Gadiel

We found the sought after birch trees at the very end of our hike and collected branches to bring back to school.  We will processes the twigs and make birch beer later this week.

Thank you Alan for sharing your knowledge and good humor with us! And, many thanks to The Brunk family for allowing us to use their property as our outdoor classroom today.

Day 2: Today we continued our botany lab series from last week with special guest teacher, Carlisle Rankin.

I can use the tools of science to better understand plants and how they grow.

The focus of today's lab was to learn how to use dissection and compound microscopes to observe the STOMATA on plant leaves.

Students collected leaves, used dissection tools to create microscope slides, and learned to use our microscopes to observe at various magnifications.

London & Sam-microscope

Students practiced careful observation techniques to draw what they observed.

Winslow-stomata

 

In addition, we started some mid-season seeds in the garden: carrots, heat-tolerant lettuce varieties, and some summer squash.  We'll see how these mid-season plants do with all of this heat!

I can work together with my community to grow healthy food to eat.

carrot & lettuce seed

Gadiel prepares the soil in our new straw bale raised bed.

 

Gadiel Prepping Bed

Look what Leif and Winslow found while the rest of the crew was planting seeds.  Wow!

 

Leif & Wins- potatoes

Day 3: Today was the day the students couldn't WAIT for...the day when we brewed up our soda concoctions.  We made three soda syrups today: birch, sassafras (root beer), and cucumber-basil-mint.

I can apply the scientific process  to creating edible concoctions in the kitchen

Making Birch Syrup:  The making of birch syrup began on Monday with Alan when we collected birch twigs at The Brunk's property.  Students cut them into small pieces, rinsed them with water and used butter knives to gently scrape the bark, to loosen the cambium beneath and release the sugars from the twigs.

photo 1-1

 

We boiled the twigs in water and ended up with a lovely Birch tea, which, of course, we sampled.

 

Birch Tea Tasting

Then, we added sugar and cooked it down some more to make a nicely Birch flavored simple syrup. Delicious!

The Sassafras syrup was a concoction made from super-locally harvested sassafras- the woods right behind our classroom! We identified the cluster of sassafras trees yesterday and this morning Leif went out and collected for us.

We cut the root into chunks...

Cutting wild sassafras root

...and added a variety of other spices.  As we did with the Birch syrup, we cooked this down to release the flavors from the herbs, strained it, then added the molasses and sugar to make a thick, sweet syrup.

Noah Onions

 

The littlest kids in our group did the harvesting, slicing, washing and measuring for our Cucumber Basil Mint syrup.  We taste tested this when it was done and we all agree that it's amazing!

photo 2

 

Other tasks of our day were to undo some Ugandan Sack Gardens our 7th graders built in the spring and build a new bed for the strawberries to be transplanted into.  Miss Mollie, our fabulous garden volunteer, worked with students in the heat to lift, dig, carry and rake.  They worked hard, sweated a bunch and saved a whole bunch of little strawberry plants from near-death.

Strawberry Bed

 

Students also scrubbed potatoes that they harvested, shucked corn and prepared some awesome potato wedges for us to snack on.

Gadiel Cooking

For our end of class taste test today we enjoyed herb-roasted potato wedges and birch tea.  Here's Gadiel and London presenting their herb-roasted potatoes.

Gadiel French Fries

Thank you, Earth, for providing such amazing things for us to eat and Thank you, Friends, for preparing this feast!

 Day 4: Soda Taste Test Day

I can keep an open mind and try new things to eat and drink.

Soda taste test day is AWESOME!

3 different syrups, ice and seltzer wate...YUM!

Michael Soda Taste Test

Day 5: Today we learned about ways plants can be used medicinally and prepared a feast to share with our family and friends.

I can learn about how plants can be used as medicine.

Last week I collected calendula and lavender flowers from my home garden.  We dried them in the dehydrator, then added them to some sweet almond oil.  This oil has been sitting and absorbing the healing qualities of the herbs for almost two weeks now.  Today, we used this infused oil to make a healing salve to use on our skin for minor cuts, scrapes and irritations.

Herb Harvest

The students enjoyed watching the process of the solid beeswax melting to a liquid, then adding the infused oil and a drop or two of tea tree oil.  We poured the concoction into these small jars and watched it change form AGAIN into a solid. Wow!

Salve

Here's Winslow preparing some caramelized onions for on top of our pizzas.

Winslow Saute

And here we are, once again, feasting together in celebration of friends, family and the abundance of amazing food.  Thank you to everyone who joined us tonight to participate in our meal.

Roots & Session end of session feast

Many, many thanks to our food partners this week, who help make this all possible:

FEAST- for delivering farm-fresh produce to us on a weekly basis.

The French Broad Food Coop- for donating cheese and pizza sauce for our weekly feasts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Field to Feast: Roots to Shoots, Week 1

This week begins Evergreen Summer Adventures Camp and the first Field to Feast session: Roots and Shoots- An exploration of how different plant parts are used for crafts, food and medicine. Day 1:  Today we oriented ourselves to  the kitchen and garden classroom spaces.

I can plant seeds and observe how they grow.

We planted bean seeds in our new raised bed and began a seed sprouting experiment.

We wonder...will the raised bed protect the baby bean seedlings from the hungry groundhog and bunnies?  This is our FOURTH planting of beans this season.  We are determined! We will watch and see.

Planting Beans1

 

Plant a seed, measure four fingers, plant a seed, measure four fingers...

 

Planting Beans2

This is our bean sprouting experiment.  We will closely observe how seeds sprout and record the what we discover in our journal, day by day.

Bean Seed Experiment1

Bean Seed Journal

I can harvest, prepare and eat food from the garden.

We harvested cucumbers, sliced them up and conducted a cucumber taste test.  How do you like your cucumbers best?

Peeled without salt?  Peeled with salt?

Unpeeled without salt? Unpeeled with salt?

Cucumber Taste Test

The students used describing words to share the differences in flavor; soft, juicy, chalky, crunchy, delicious, sweet, sour...

We wrapped things up by enjoying our cucumber snack and singing The Garden Song.

Garden Songs

 

Day 2: Today we had a guest teacher join us in the science lab for a plant anatomy lesson.

I can use the tools of science to learn more about plants and how they grow.

First, we listened.

Carlisle-xylem and phloem1

Next, we explored the concepts of xylem and phloem with our bodies.

rock, paper, phloem2

micah & cat

Then, we cut, shredded, and dissected to learn more about xylem and phloem in plants from our garden.

Dissection Micah

Tools of Science Ellie & Rowan

Tools of Science2

xylem & phloem

In the garden, we worked together to prepare beds, transplant starts, harvest and collect measurements for the building of two straw bale raised beds, which we will do later this week.

I can work together with my community to grow and harvest food.

Carrying the Goods

Preparing beds in the hoop house for tomatoes and peppers.

boys digging

Hoope House Teamwork

Exploring what's beneath the soil...are the potatoes ready for harvest yet?  Some are, and...

Finding Potatoes

Some aren't!  It's the tiniest potato EVER!

Smallest Potatoe Ever

Harvesting garlic.     Micah Garlic       Stevie Garlic

I can work together with others to design and build a raised garden bed out of straw bales.

Today was day 1 of this project.  We worked together to measure the space where we will build the beds.  We measured the size of a bale of straw and used math to determine how many total bales of straw we'll need for the project.  18!

Straw Bale Raised Bed Prep

Proud farmers!

Day 2 harvest

Day 3: We began today with a study of the six plant parts.  Then, we began our dye making project.

I can make natural dyes from plants.

Onion Peels & Coffee Grounds- to make tanish brown

Beet roots and stems- to make red/pink

Black Eye Susan stems and leaves- to make green

Students cut, peeled and trimmed to make our dye baths.  We'll add water and boil the materials to see what colors they produce.

peeling onions

With the leftover beet greens, we added some onions and garlic from the garden and cooked it up with some olive oil and sea salt for our Taste Test #2: Beet Greens Saute

cutting with goggles micah

Micah and Rowan thought it would be a good idea to chop onions wearing goggles so their eyes didn't get watery.  We learned that although it looks cool, it doesn't really work.  We still had some watery eyes around the cooking table.

cutting with goggles

Learning how to crush garlic cloves to make it easier to peel the skin off.

prep cooking

Here's our final product...greens on the plate

And, here's what they think...

Thumbs up Beet Greens

11 happy members of the Clean Plate Club.  Yummy!  and Delicious!

We spent the rest of class shoveling soil to mound our potatoes and peeling the outer layers of skin off of our newly harvested garlic.

Tomorrow is all day garden day:  straw bale raised beds, more potato mounding, garlic braiding and tomato sucker trimming.

Day 4: Today we worked hard and sweated a whole lot.

I can work together with others to design and build a raised garden bed out of straw bales.

Our big project was to build a raised bed out of straw bales.  First, we had to figure out how to move the straw bales from the truck to the garden.

We figured out that rolling them worked really well. flipping bales

Then, we put the bales in place and started filling the inside with soil.  This is the part where we sweat a whole lot.Hard Work Unloading Soil  Unloading Soil

 

Never underestimate the capacity for a small group of seemingly small children to get a WHOLE lot done!

Here's our finished bed.

Straw Bale Raised Bed

What will we grow in it?

Growing Kids

One happy teacher and whole bunch of proud kids!

Our other fun project of the day was peeling and braiding our harvested garlic to ready it for drying.

Peeling the garlic is a very satisfying chore.

Ellie Peeling Garlic

Braiding London 2

Isn't it beautiful all hung up in our outdoor kitchen classroom?

Garlic Hanging

Day 5: Friday Feast

I can harvest, prepare and eat delicious and healthy foods from our garden.

Today is our first Friday Feast day.  We put ourselves to work preparing toppings for our pizzas and cleaning and slices the vegies we harvested from the garden.

Stevie and Moe learned how to saute onions and cook them until they caramelized.

Friday Feast Roots & Shoots 1 Friday Feast Roots & Shoots-saute

Chopping potatoes and onions harvested earlier this morning.

Friday Feast Roots & Shoots-cutting onions

 

This crew of washed and sliced carrots and cucumbers and prepared a lovely yogurt dill dipping sauce with fresh herbs.

Friday Feast Roots & Shoots 2

And, finally, it's feasting time!  A few students prepared our menu board and made sure the tables were set and looking pretty for our meal while Cat got the coals going in the pizza oven.

Friday Feast Roots & Shoots-Menu Board Friday Feast Roots & Shoots-Cat Oven

 

An awesome meal, prepared by all and shared with family and friends.

Friday Feast Roots & Shoots-Rowan and Micah

Micah explains to Dr. Susan how to make a pizza.

Friday Feast Roots & Shoots- Micah with Dr. S

Friday Feast Roots & Shoots-Group

Friday Feast Roots & Shoots-familyThank you to our food sponsors this week: For seed & soil contributions, ASAP, Sow True Seeds and Fifth Season.  For food contributions, FEAST, Trader Joe's and French Broad Food Coop.  You help make healthy cooking and eating in the schools possible.  We appreciate you!

 

 

7th Grade Global Foods Project

DSC_8309 DSC_8318 7th grade students explored issues around food production in the United States.  How has it changed over time? How does our current industrialized food chain affect our relationship with the food we eat and the farmers who grow it?

We began with reading the following excerpts:
Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma Young Readers Edition (Chapters 1-6)
Schlosser & Wilson's Chew On This, The Secret of Fries
Perspectives: Farmacology, from the Nourish: Food + Community Curriculum
Farmer in Chief, a letter to the President Elect by Michal Pollan from the NY Times Food Issue, October 12, 2008
Michael Pollan: "Our Food Is Dishonestly Priced", BillMoyers.com activism blog, February, 2014
Students presented on the ideas discovered in these articles and created an image to present to their classmates that summarized the ideas. Students then explored ways that 8 common foods were used in various countries around the world. Students layered this new investigation onto an ongoing exploration of the economics and culture of an assigned country.  

Students then submitted recipes that used their assigned food.  Many students were also able to help plant their assigned food in our school garden.  We sifted through the recipes to find the most intriguing and make-able recipes for our Earth Day celebration.  On Earth Day, 15 student worked together to prepare these dishes and present a "Global Foods Tasting Table" as part of our Earth Day Community Picnic.

The following recipes were our "Global Food Tasting" Contributors:

Bureek- Arabic Savoury Pastry

Israeli Couscous with Diced Sweet Potato and Sumac

Kenyan-style Collard Greens with Lemon

Edamame Gohan- Japanese Soy Beans

Strawberry Spinach Salad 

Korean Salad with Sesame Dressing

Russian Potato Salad

Brazilian Vegetable Feijoada

Tofu Keema- Indian tofu recipe

Simple Chocolate Pudding

Arabic Cardamom Shortbread (Gorayba)