Summer at the School Farm!

What fun to get an aerial view of the School Farm in summer! Thanks to Nicole Whittington-Johnson, culinary teacher, who snapped this photo from up in the sky showing the South Campus, School Farm and Shakespeare Festival tent and stage.

The grass fields may be brown, but the garden beds are well-irrigated and growing! White beds have floating row cover over them that keeps the moisture in for just seeded carrots. The beds that look brown have recently planted veggies that will be in their prime when school begins – beans, kale, cabbage, broccoli, cucumbers, zucchini, beets, lettuce, carrots. The tomato, corn, winter squash, potato,  scarlet runner bean and flower beds are green from the air. The hoophouses are filled with tomatoes, cucumbers, basil and peppers. We plant for fall when the students return to school, not for summer when they are on vacation!

Our work parties are from 9:30 – 12 noon on Tuesdays at the School Farm, and Thursdays at the High School Garden. Lunch at noon. In addition to the work parties, students from the Au Sable Summer Program at the Pacific Rim Institute and the UW Urban Farming class came and worked. A big thank you to all our volunteers!

Posted in Updates from the garden!

In the news!

Screen Shot 2018-06-28 at 8.15.05 AMWe’re in the news with an article that went out on the AP wires about “Many schools keep gardening efforts going all summer.”

The article features Seth Raabe, High School Ag teacher, and manager of the HS gardens. You can read it in the Washington Post HERE!

Caption from the article: “In this June 21, 2018 photo, Seth Raabe, an agriculture teacher and full-time manager for the South Whidbey (Island) High School Garden near Langley, Wash., is shown while preparing plant beds for students to cultivate upon their return to classes from summer vacation. There is no summertime break for school garden educators. (Dean Fosdick via AP) (Associated Press)

Join Seth at the High School work party on Thursdays from 9:30 – 12 noon. Help cultivate the garden and learn while working. The HS Garden is at 5675 Maxwelton Rd., Langley.  Read about our work parties at the High School and Elementary School campuses HERE.

Posted in In the news, Updates from the garden!, Work parties

Garden Reflections before Summer

At the school year’s end we ask all the students what they remember about the year’s activities and lessons and share a few of their favorites. The answers are always fun to hear:  Garden nibbles! Carrots! Taking down the bean teepees, Planting, Eating, Harvesting, Pulling out the old Kale Plants, Making a salad right from the garden, Putting up the bean teepees and more. It helps the farm team see the garden through their eyes and gives us all time to reflect. It’s always clear that the students love the garden and love spending time therein.

Primary students in Kindergarten through grade two did some reviewing of our garden song: Roots, Stems, Leaves, Flowers, Seeds and Fruit. We took it to the next level by going out into the garden and finding all the parts of the plants that we eat. After thinking and finding the parts, we collected each part for a delicious garden burrito. The outcome of this garden lesson was a big hit with the students and some questions did come up that led to learning about the life cycle of plants. For instance:  Where is the fruit? The apples aren’t ready to eat yet, so how do we collect fruit? We learned that the part of the plant that produces the seeds is the fruit and the peas are producing in abundance right now, an excellent addition to our garden burritos!

The carrots in our hoop house are ready for picking and all the students were able to pull a carrot out of the ground and eat these popular roots for the first time this spring. Satisfaction guaranteed in both harvest and tasting!

Recently, Grade three students said goodbye to the garden by examining leaves. They took time to draw the leaves and to used words to describe shape, color, and texture of the varied leaves in the garden. It gave students the freedom to sit in a favorite spot and observe the life around them. Observations multiplied into finding ladybugs, noticing that the delicious sorrel leaf is going to seed and that there are quite a few birds nesting in the thickets nearby.

There seems to be no limit to the delights and discoveries the students can make given a little time in the garden. When asked, ‘did anything surprise you?’, the answers were plentiful. Children who visit the garden weekly and participate in the work of preparing, planting, and harvesting can be surprised by what they find when they are guided to look at the garden from a different angle. There’s really no limit to their involvement with growing, nature and food. The garden is a living science lab that nourishes both our bodies and minds. Here’s what some of our students had to say:

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Posted in Children in the garden, Lessons, Updates from the garden!

Thank you Goosefoot!

A huge appreciation to the Goosefoot Community Fund for their support!
On Thursday, June 14th, at 3 pm at the School Farm,
Goosefoot will be presenting a $50,000 check to the School Farm program!
5476 Maxwelton Rd., Langley WA.
Read more HERE.
All are welcome!

Photos of the celebration HERE


Posted in Updates from the garden!

Spring Culinary at the School Farm

Our student chefs have been busy this spring! Learning and eating was the name of the game in our culinary classes developed and taught by Nicole Whittington-Johnson. Culinary classes alternate with school farm classes for grades 3 – 6. Here’s what was on the menu:

Third grade student chefs made carrot pumpkin soup. They worked on precise measuring, added puree to their vocabulary and utilized frozen pumpkin puree from our Thanksgiving Harvest Feast, learning how to preserve foods to avoid food waste.

While waiting for the spring crops to grow, the students cared for herbs and peashoots under grow lights. There are a number of uses for peashoots, including the School Farms famous peashoot pesto. Fifth and sixth graders took it a step further and made the ultimate companion for peashoot pesto…Peashoot PASTA!

Student chefs measured, mixed and hand rolled their pasta dough (using all purpose and whole wheat flour) and cut them into fettuccine style noodles with pizza cutters. Pasta was topped with carrot sauce made from school farm carrots and rounded out with a sprinkle of parmesan thanks to the Goose Grocer!

Remember those classroom herbs we mentioned? We were able to grow and enjoy dill, cilantro, parsley,  and basil. They served as the inspiration for our Herbed Butter Recipe, along side some perennial herbs (thyme, rosemary) from the High School garden. We learned the difference between herbs (leaves of plant) and spices (roots, bark, seeds, berries, flowers of plant) and which cultural cuisines their flavor profiles best serve.  Always opting for the healthy choice, our herbed potato salad was vinegar based instead of mayonnaise based. The 2nd grade-grown Makah Ozette potatoes held up nicely.

The fourth graders learned fraction equivalents through the process of making Garden Carrot bread. A delicious support to their math curriculum!

When students were asked about their favorite recipe lesson from the school year, pasta was easily their number one pick. However, close second was the Garden Stir Fry. While fifth graders were learning about Chinese dynasties, they also learned to make this Chinese dish with veggies from the school farm: overwintered storage carrots, kale and kale flowers, and bok choy (grown in our hoop house). Thank you Good Cheer for the onions! Students took full ownership over the preparation and cooking process, and worked in groups of four at skillet cooking stations. The key here was high heat and constant stir(fry)ing. While students enjoyed the recipe they whipped up we had a great discussion about what else could be added to stir fry. In the end we decided you could add your favorite vegetables, seasonal ingredients, or any produce from your refrigerator that you need to eat before it goes bad. Once again the students are considering food waste!

To wrap up the school year, we explored the sweet side of the garden. It was still a tad early in the season for berries or orchard fruit so we revisited our herb friends and made Fresh Mint Ice Cream! The timing couldn’t have been better…this sweet treat came at the end of a long week of rigorous state testing. The students shook up mint and slightly sweetened coconut milk inside ziploc bags surrounded by ice and rock salt, summer camp style. Chef Nicole blasted “Uptown Funk” and the students danced around the classroom, while shake shake shaking their ingredients into ice cream and also learning about the freezing point of water when salt is added. Students hypothesized what the consistency would be after 10 minutes of shaking, and the top three predictions were 1) kinda like a smoothie, 2) soft serve consistency, 3) actual ice cream. What would you guess?

The students now have some great recipes to make for their families over the summer!

Posted in Culinary, Updates from the garden!

Summertime Work Parties at the School Farms!

Join us at one or both of these work parties and picnics
weekly through the summer…

School Farm on Tuesdays
from 9:30 am – 12 noon
with picnic lunch at noon

High School Garden on Thursdays
from 9:30 am – 12 noon
with picnic lunch at noon

Enjoy salad from the garden.
Bring your parents, grandparents, friends, and family members.

Help grow vegetables for the school and our community!

All ages and skill levels are welcome!
Join us at any time during the morning.
Children must be accompanied by an adult.

The School Farm is located at 5476 Maxwelton Road, Langley, WA.
To the south of the Elementary School, behind the South Campus.

The SW High School is located at 5675 Maxwelton Rd, Langley, WA.

Questions? Contact Cary Peterson (360) 593-2725 or email

Posted in Updates from the garden!

A Fabulous Frijole Friday Feast!

The School Farm fundraiser at the Langley Methodist Church brought our community together for a feast of homemade tortillas, scarlet runner bean frijoles, garden fresh toppings and so much more. Friendship and conversation over delicious healthy food is always a winner and especially when it helps support the farm and culinary program. With the match, we raised over $10,000!

Appreciations to all the community members who generously donated, and to

Each and every person who participated
contributed to the success and enjoyment of this event.

Thanks to our amazing South Whidbey community!

Posted in Culinary, Funding support, Taco Tuesday