Students from Amenia, NY’s Maplebrook School visited the farm last week, eager and engaged throughout the day’s programs. Eighteen kids -- ages twelve to fifteen -- with a range of learning differences, came to the farm ready and engaged to participate in the day’s programs. They journeyed together beneath the vines and umbrella leaves to look for squash and cucumbers. By the end of the day, they harvested fruits and vegetables including: kale, tomatoes, summer squash, basil, raspberries, and mint. The experience allowed the students to view their vegetables in a whole new way. One student, Bella, said: "I liked the way onions look when they are growing, I've never seen that before."
For lunch, the kids used some of their harvested herbs, vegetables and fruits to create a delicious meal. The kids used the basil to create a summer pasta with basil and parmesan, and used some of this season’s raspberries to create a raspberry parfait with hand whipped cream and whole wheat graham crackers. One student, Jackson, used a pun to express his excitement over the raspberries, calling them, “berry tasty”. However, taste was not the only reason students enjoyed cooking their own meal today. Another student, Jessie said, “I love cooking because it relaxes me.”
By the end of the day, when asked if they tried something new, most of the students raised their hands, which demonstrated the rich array of new experiences by a single group in a single day.
In NYC, classes in Long Island City are in full swing. Last week, students ventured into the art of creating quesadillas and guacamole. Young students learned about the range of ingredients guacamole and quesadillas have, all while learning the technical skills necessary to create the delicious foods. When it was time for them to start cooking, they were hard at work, using the knife skills and techniques they learned previously. The class was also a family affair as two twin sisters worked side by side, mincing ginger and garlic together for the meal. The class was engaged, and thrilled with the result, ready to add a new food to their repertoire of potential meals and snacks they can make with their families at home.
In the Bronx, our recently graduated Teen Apprentices Halima and Isatou also led a class of younger kids featuring guacamole and quesadillas. They both were natural leaders, calmly leading a class of younger kids. When the class was asked what a quesadilla is one student called it a “sandwich” which gave both the students and the teachers a new perspective on the delicious snack.
After preparing the ingredients, the students became engaged with what they were cooking. They instantly started making connections between what was happening in the classroom, to their experiences with food in everyday life.
Overall, it was a delicious week for our kids at the farm and across the boroughs!