“What makes this carrot prettier than that one?”
“Believe it or not, this carrot tastes exactly the same as that one!”
“That’s a pickle? But why is it so… white?” Oh I get it… It tastes just like a pickle, it’s just an ugly pickle.”
As we are fully immersed in San Francisco Fall – or technically a San Francisco summer? Here at the Edible Schoolyard we are wrapping up our summer harvests of tomatoes and peppers, while also beginning first rounds of of collards. We made good use of these fresh ingredients to make collard greens for our Greens Over Grains class – a popular lesson shared with us by the broader Edible Schoolyard network. We also had the pleasure this month of making homemade salsa to accompany our Lettuce Leaf Tacos. With these tacos, the black beans provide a solid source of protein, and the lettuce acts as a nice substitute for tortillas while still providing that desired crunch! We are now seeing the beginnings of our winter vegetables, starting with our carrots. Not only did the kids enjoy wrestling these delicious roots from the dirt, but they also found a few prime examples to go along with one of our class readings for the day, “The Ugly Vegetables” by Grace Lin. This month we spent some time challenging youth members ideas of what certain fruits and vegetables are supposed to look like, introducing exotic heirlooms of beans, carrots and even introducing (as indicated by an opening quote) the albino cucumber. It was fun to see how the kids envisioned what a perfect fruit or vegetable looked like, and to show them that the albino pickles made from our heirloom cucumbers, tasted just as good (if not better) than the typical store-bought ones. Along with our lessons focusing on calories and vitamins, another major theme of this month was that there is more to your average vegetable than what meets the eye!
Now that we’ve peeked an interest, we hope that our members will keep exploring, both in the garden and in the kitchen.
While we weren’t gone long for summer break at the Edible Schoolyard, we were gone just long enough to come back and be welcomed by a bounty of mature summer crops – cucumbers, lush ears of corn, squash, peppers, as well as multiple varieties of the sweetest cherry tomatoes. So much so, that in the ESY kitchen, we were faced with the fun and inviting question of, “What should we do with all these tomatoes!?” eager to participate. From a “Taste of Summer” elbow macaroni to corn-cucumber salsa, these are just two ways we decided to dedicate our summer crops to our anticipating bellies. As we make our way into the school year, we are excited to announce that one of the many activities we’ll be resuming this Fall is a drop-in “Teatime” – this year with a bigger focus. Teatime will allow groups of 6-8 students to come into the dining room and enjoy a cup of tea with their peers, hosted by Seed to Mouth instructor and ESY cooking program coordinator, Crystal Jones. During teatime, members are allowed to enjoy a contemplative space where they use their senses to try and guess their tea flavor of the day and we exercise attentive listening by employing the practice of “one mic”. In the first 10 minutes of the 20 minute tea time session, members get to check in and have a brief reset, while they answer the simple but very important question of “How are you?” Within the last 10 minutes of teatime, members will get to respond to a Q.O.T.D (question of the day) such as, “If you had the opportunity to learn something that is not taught in schools, what would it be?” or “Who is someone in your life who has made your life better? If you had the chance, what would you say to them?” The latter is an exercise in which they are given the option to write a small thank you note to hand deliver to their person of choice. This school year, we’ll continue to find ways to practice mindfulness, both in and out of the kitchen. We welcome you to join us! Keep well.
Report by Crystal Jones, CommunityGrows Seed-to-Mouth Coordinator.
Tuesday May 2nd was a very exciting day for youth in the Seed to Mouth – Edible Schoolyard Program at the Boys and Girls Club. A group from Willie Mays had a chance to invite the Tenderloin Clubhouse to join them on a field trip to the Giant’s Baseball garden at ATT Park. The youth got to exercise both mind and body, when we arrived to meet Hannah Schmunk of BonAppetit, who was prepared with a garden scavenger hunt and a day of pizza making for the them. The hunt involved reading a clue and identifying which fruit or vegetable was in the clue, then as a team, going throughout the garden in a youthful frenzy to find it. After the scavenger hunt and jump roping relay race, the youth worked in groups to make garden pizzas and fruit kabobs, using both herbs and various other ingredients growing in the garden. Youth adorned their pizzas with kale, a super food very well known to our garden-loving bunch. They were all very excited to learn of it growing in the Giant’s garden, and to find out that it is Giants’ baseball right fielder Hunter Pence’s favorite vegetable!
Each student got to take home their very own Giant’s Garden tote bag, and were surprised to find small bottles of olive oil, along with personally designed vegetable seed packets to plant veggies at their homes or school gardens. For more photos from the day check out the Photostream here.
On Monday, April 18, 2016 the kids at Hayward Rec Connect after-school made delicious Vegetarian Tacos. The students learned about the beauty of vegetables when slicing into a beet, and the healthy benefits of combining foods, like beans, rice and salsa with other vegetables like zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, and spinach, to name a few. After cutting and prepping the vegetables, everyone got to assemble their own tacos. Linda Saenzpardo, one of our Spring cohort BEETS, assisted Crystal Jones, Seed-to-Mouth Coordinator with the class. In the corner of the room sitting contently, was a new addition to the Hayward Rec Connect named Hippity Hop. The rabbit seemed well adjust to the excitement of after-school activities.
On Thursday evening, April 14, 2016 residents and youth of Plaza East cooking class made delicious Crispy Quinoa Patties. Crystal Jones, our CommunityGrows Seed-to-Mouth Cooking Coordinator, led the youth in preparing the ingredients and putting the patties together.Another delicious dinner enjoyed by all.Here is the recipe!
Crispy Quinoa Patties
2 cups cooked quinoa (can also use rice to make rice patties)
3 large eggs, beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped herb of choice (parsley, cilantro, oregano)
1/2 small onion, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1/3 cup fresh parmesan cheese, grated
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3/4 cup whole grain breadcrumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot and zucchini (or veggie of choice)
1 Tablespoon oil, plus more as needed
1. Combine quinoa, eggs, salt, and pepper in large bowl. Add remaining ingredients (save oil for cooking). Let the mixture sit for a few minutes so the crumbs absorb some of the moisture.
2. You should have a mixture you can easily form into patties. You want the mixture moist so it will hold together when cooking. You can add more breadcrumbs to firm up or add a couple drops of water to moisten the mixture.
3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat, add 5-6 patties, cover, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes until the bottoms are browned. Carefully flip the patties with a spatula and cook the second sides for 5 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the skillet and cool on a large plate while you cook the remaining patties. Enjoy with a fresh salad.
Here is Alana Herro, one of our CommunityGrows extraordinary volunteers who helps out at the Plaza East cooking class on Thursday nights with one of her helpers!
by Crystal Jones, CommunityGrows Seed-to-Mouth Cooking Programs Manager
During the month of February we had several exciting program meetings with youth Willie Mays Club members in the Seed to Mouth cooking class, lead by CommunityGrows Cooking Programs Manager Crystal Jones. We started the month off by covering the rules of knife safety, then applied those rules with an activity that distinguished the difference between dicing, chopping, and julienne slicing. Using newly learned tools, youth club members were able to assist in preparation for a surprise garden pizza oven day held at the clubhouse, which focused heavily on ways to incorporate nutrients into the foods that they love. Every week youth members meet on Tuesday and Friday to prepare a meal or snack that incorporates ingredients from the ESY garden and harvests made by cooking teacher Crystal Jones from a neighboring garden at Project Bayview’s Huli Huli Grill. Going forward, youth members will be using these harvest to host a salad day once a month, where not only will they make a variety of large salads to enjoy on the day of, but youth club members will also be able to take home salad bags and recipes to share with their families. [more Photos and Flyer by Crystal Jones].
This past February CommunityGrows staff and the afternoon Buchanan YMCA youth were cooking up a storm at Hayward Rec Connect thanks to a grant from Aetna and Kaiser-Permanente Foundations. In one class we made veggie burritos and fruit and yogurt parfait. During this afternoon, we were joined by Talia Matau, one of our BEETS interns who read the story, We Had a Picnic This Sunday Past by Jacqueline Woodson. This story turns to a tale for the younger set with this bouncy story about an annual family picnic. Teeka, the young narrator, accompanies her grandma to the park with a basket of fried chicken and biscuits. Soon her best friend Paulette and various family members arrive, bearing bowls and bags of home-cooked food and desserts. Each is introduced through Teeka’s eyes: Reverend Luke, who wields a Bible, “can eat like the devil–strange, since he’s such a holy man” and “Moon Pie is really Joseph, but don’t he look just like a Moon Pie?–came empty-handed, too.” But where is Cousin Martha and her infamous, dried-out apple pie? Everyone chows down, and when Martha finally does show up–with a store-bought cake (“No time to bake”)–Grandma greets her with a little white lie: “Oh, but Cousin Martha, all year long, I’ve been thinking about your pie.” The snippets of dialogue help keep this story lively, but it’s Greenseid’s (When Aunt Lena Did the Rhumba) effervescent illustrations, done in candy-bright acrylics, that inject the pizzazz. One hilarious spread shows Auntie Sadie’s shocked face when she finds her corn cobs covered with flies (plastic flies, contributed by naughty Cousin Terrance, whom readers see fleeing his parents in the background). In another, roly-poly Moon Pie literally spills across the spread. Readers will enjoy the gentle fun poked at family gatherings here. Diane Greenseid’s exuberant artwork bring to life the humor, love, and of course, the wonderful food of the quintessential family picnic.
On Saturday, January 30, 2016 our CommunityGrows Seed-to-Mouth Coordinator, Crystal Jones join the Plaza East Apartments Health Faire outside their Community Room and had this to report: Saturday’s demo at Plaza East went great. It was really nice to be able to familiarize myself with some of the residents and meet parents of a few of the students who I’ve had the pleasure of teaching in cooking class over the past few weeks. This cooking demo felt to me, what the first restaurant pop up or food truck must have felt like. I strapped my camping stove onto the front rack of my bicycle, enjoyed a sunny ride from the Mission to the Western Addition, where I set up a small table, a few flyers, my camping stove and a propane can. Then prepared Community Grows’ “Tortilla Espanola” recipe (recently featured on the blog). It was a success. Though truly, not much can go wrong with sweet potatoes, caramelized onions, egg whites, spinach and a little Parmesan (I threw in some garlic to attract a crowd). A line of curious and encouraging brunch enthusiast formed in no time. I look forward to the next event where we can again engage like this with the community – and hope to even have a couple of my Thursday night elementary school chefs assisting next time. *I even had a couple who thought we were there selling the omelettes and tried to pay me for them. Ha!