The saying goes: ‘If February comes in like a lamb it goes out like a lion’. At the School Farm we’ve been wrestling the February lion of frozen ground and crunchy snow.
Luckily, the students were able to turn over all the cover crops and mulched all the beds in our half acre farm just before the freezing temperatures and snow settled in.
The farm team has cleaned up the beds in the hoop house and planted our little baby starts of kale, lettuce, and spinach. There was some worry about the starts making it in this cold weather.
We covered the plants with row cover at night and much to our delight, the starts have survived!
The tulip, camas and garlic bulbs that students planted are showing strong green shoots above the soil now. Lettuce, spinach, kale and peas are sprouting inside in readiness for spring planting.
The students have been rolling their sleeves up doing spring farm tasks; turning and chopping cover crops in, spreading compost and mulching the beds. A tremendous amount of spring bed prep has been accomplished and the farm is well on the way to spring planting.
The middle school farm team completed the monumental task of moving our small green house to it’s new location through teamwork and strategic planning.
It’s been particularly satisfying to see and hear from students how much they know about the seasonal work of the farm and how we care for the soil. They are able to speak clearly about the purpose for cover cropping and mulching the beds. They understand that the work we do now prepares us for and abundance of delicious vegetables in the spring and fall. Everyone likes to share in the work and the bounty!
The School Farm team and all the students from culinary arts classes are anticipating a fun evening of getting together with friends over good food. We hope to see you at the Elementary School from 5-7 pm!!
One of the most popular culinary arts classes of the year was making fresh homemade tortillas and filling them with garden vegetables and freshly cooked and spiced beans. Students spread the word quickly and soon everyone was anticipating their turn to make tacos!
This was the beginning of our idea to hold a series of festive Taco Tuesdays, March 13, April 10 and May 8 at the Elementary School. The food for the evening will be prepared and served by students. Here is our menu for March:
- Fresh masa corn tortillas-homemade and grilled!
- Just picked and prepared garden vegetables
- School Farm grown beans, cooked and spiced to perfection
- Salsa-fresh and locally sourced
To see the flyer click HERE
The School Farm has been offered a 2 for 1 match by one of our generous donors. That means if we can reach our goal to raise $5,000.00, we will have $15,000.00! Given the fact that we rely on donations to fund our program, this is a generous offer indeed.
Students from kindergarten through second grade attend weekly farm classes. Students in grades three through 6 attend bi weekly farm classes alternately with culinary arts classes. There is a direct connection between what we do to grow our food and methods we use for preparing it. Culinary classes have gained tremendous momentum and we are considering adding more classes for younger students in the near future. To keep our classes going, we need funds. Taco Tuesdays are a fun-fundraiser for the School Farm and Culinary programs.
See you on March 13th for a fun night of ‘Famous School Farm Tacos’!!
Happy New Year 2018! The winter farm has welcomed the first classes of students this week. We look at the garden through the seasons and learn how each season provides an opportunity to care for our school farm and contribute to the abundance of fresh food that we share. As we start the new cycle of growing by caring for the soil, we also welcome our new apprentice, Kathryn Ruesch.
All classes have taken some time to tour the garden and notice what’s still alive and growing. Students had questions about what they might find and delighted voices were heard when they found carrots, kale and cabbage still alive and good to eat for garden nibbles.
The kindergarten and third grade students have been shelling the dry beans that were harvested in the fall. The students have found the poles from the downed bean tee pees in the harvest shed and did a fantastic job of shelling the dried bean pods and saving the ‘magic’ beans.
Grade two students got a head start on growing by planting peas in clear trays and putting them indoors in light boxes to watch them sprout and grow. At our next garden class we’ll take a look the sprout and root emerging from the pea.
All students have had some time in this rainy first week to go out and look at our cover crops and check the garden beds for signs of life. We worked during the sun breaks to turn over the cover crop, chop it in and then mulch the beds. We’re anticipating spring planting with great expectations!
It’s cold, it’s wet, it’s January…. and the new season is just beginning!
We are still delivering carrots to the cafeteria! A big welcome to Kathryn Ruesch, our new apprentice for 2018, who is harvesting them from the Langley Middle School Garden. The pea starts she planted in soil blocks are just coming up! Next week the second graders will plant more.
Stay tuned for updates as the students return to their farm and culinary classes. We are looking for volunteers to assist with the classes! Click HERE for more information.
A big and warm welcome to 2018 Grow Whidbey School Farm apprentice Kathryn Ruesch!
I was definitely your classic “picky eater” growing up. Born and raised in the suburbs outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin my exposure to farming was pretty limited to the occasional long drives up north, passing the many dairy farms. In highschool my mom and I started a tiny garden in our backyard but my love and passion for food didn’t truly set in until college in Duluth, Minnesota where I studied Anthropology and Sustainability. My interests and taste buds grew exponentially! I began to enjoy cooking and sought out the connections between the food I was eating and the communities and environment I was a part of.
My senior year of college, I worked at an aquaponic greenhouse in Silver Bay, MN. The greenhouse was situated right on Lake Superior and even in the bitter, cold Minnesota winter our plants were flourishing and thriving. This same winter I traveled to Costa Rica with a group of students from the Anthropology department. Together, we lived in and engaged with a cooperative community focused on environmental sustainability through gardening and conscious ecological decision making. All of these experiences furthered my interests in food systems and sustainability.
Since graduating from college, I have been on the move quite a bit. I lived in Colorado where I worked for an organic food company and also at a restaurant that strived to provide healthy, affordable food to the average consumer. Both of these jobs provided me with excellent experience but I knew I wanted to dive deeper and work with food from beginning to end. I traveled through South America for almost 9 months and road tripped around the US before finding myself in Washington. I spent 6 months on Harstine Island, nannying and enjoying the glorious Pacific Northwest before finding this dream opportunity on South Whidbey.
I am incredibly excited to further my knowledge and work with students in the school farms in hopes of spreading my own passions for food and the outdoors onto the next generations!!
Ready for some delicious eating in 2018? Susan Milan’s Health and Wellness class at the South Whidbey Middle School can help with some terrific recipes!
The students have put together the Cougar Cookbook which includes Appetizers, Main and Side Dishes, and Desserts. All of these were taste tested in class, and can be made with fresh fruits and veggies from the school farm, local farmers, or your own garden! Some of these recipes come with nutrition information so you can see how healthy they are.
Click HERE to download a copy of the Cougar Cookbook, have fun cooking and eating, and let the students know at firstname.lastname@example.org how tasty their recipes are!