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Summer Program 2013 – Recap

 

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The summer program 2013 was a huge success. 18 kids spent a combined total of 114 hours having fun planting and harvesting in the garden, and preparing/cooking real food in the kitchen. Through hands-on activities in both the garden and the kitchen, the kids had great fun learning about foods, food labels, garden plants, the harvesting process, recipes, and cooking tools. They also tasted new and unfamiliar foods every week. The best part of the summer program is that the kids are applying the learned principles at home and parents established a way to continue the learning at home.

The fall program registration has begun. It builds on the success and enjoyment we had this summer. I’m looking forward to more gardening and cooking with fun.

There are a few highlights of the summer program:

Most Memorable Moment: Garden Exploration

pickingstrawberries The kids excitedly rushed to the pea patch first and ate ready peas on the spot. They then checked and snacked on green beans. The blackberries and blueberries were next to go. They skipped to the herb section to tear off a handful of basil leaves to munch on. Finally, they ate some tomatoes and saved some for home. Their excitement, their genuine interest in the garden, and their curiosity make the garden time extremely memorable.

Most Laughable Moment: Dandelion Lettuce Taste

DandelionTaste1 For the lettuce week, the kids tasted several varieties of lettuce leaves to discover the difference in taste and texture. One of the lettuce leaf was dandelion, a “weed” as described by the kids.  Sure it’s mostly considered as a weed, but this weed is highly nutritious and, unfortunately, very bitter. They all tasted the leaf and their facial reaction was priceless.

Most Inspiring Moment: Courage

thumbs_up Some of the taste tests involved foods or cooking methods completely unfamiliar to the kids.  When they were encouraged to try the new foods, I could see their internal struggle plainly on their faces. I can imagine that their thought process went something like this:  “no way, I’m definitely not tasting that weird looking food” –> “uh-uh, I’m too scared to taste that” –> “maybe it’s not that bad since the other kids seem to like it” –> “maybe a tiny bite won’t hurt” –> “ok, I’ll try it but I’ll do it quickly before I lose my nerves”. It took a lot of courage for some of the kids to taste the unfamiliar foods. Their courage was inspiring.

Most Rewarding Moment: Before and After

swisschard For the Swiss Chard classes, ALL the kids said “yuck” when they saw the mountain of Swiss Chard on the food preparation table. After the kids harvested the Swiss Chard from the garden, prepared a couple of recipes, and tasted the fresh green in the recipe, they ALL smiled and said “Yummmm!!”. Some of them even asked mom to make some at home.

Most Surprising Moment: Request

Tasting raw squash For the eggplant week, one of the activities involved trying several varieties of eggplant cooked different ways. In one of the classes, a young chef asked to try the vegetable raw. It never occurred to me to try it raw and the fact that the suggestion came from the kids was completely surprising. We all tried the veggie raw and the verdict? We all loved it… another

Most Satisfying Moment: Having Fun

ravioli4 This photo sums it up. The summer program accomplished its mission… the kids LEARNED about summer gardening and cooking from the garden, while HAVING FUN!

Parent Feedback for Summer Program

Here is some of the parent feedback received over the summer:

“The kids were asking for Swiss Chard chips today! They LOVED them” – Valerie, July 23 2013

“[My daughter] loved [class], this is a child who will not touch lettuce (unless it is butter lettuce), now we are cheerfully picking out dandelions at whole foods!” – Alyona, June 27, 2013

“[The kids] are SO excited to make [the recipe] today to take to a friend’s house. THANK YOU!” – Mary, June 22, 2013

“Maureen cant’ stop talking about the fennel — I LOVE new veggie ideas for lunchboxes!” – Mary, June 18, 2013

“[My son] is SO looking forward to coming back” – Cynthia, June 13, 2013

“The girls are in love with YOU and with the class. They talk about it days later. Caitlin forced me to buy [heavy] cream for the brownie pie and was reciting instructions on how to make it. Maureen can tell you every ingredient that goes into the tart and how to prepare it.” – Mary, June 14, 2013

“Colleen asks every morning, is it my cooking day yet?” – Mary, June 14, 2013

“They LOVED class and talked about it when their dad got home for at least 1/2 hour non-stop. They were DYING to show off what they made and they nicely shared their treats with all their siblings after dinner. Last night, Colleen looked at me and said, “So, tomorrow then we get to go back?” Meanwhile, Caitlin is literally counting the hours until it is her turn! THANK YOU!! First day was a success of gigantic magnitude!!” – Mary, June 11, 2013

“You have no idea how much my girls enjoy your class. Not only are they enjoying it, they are learning a lot too. I loved the zucchini blossoms. Not much of a dates person but somehow I liked the stuffed dates too. Your class is one of a kind.” – Anna, July 5 2013

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