During our first week back to Farm to Classroom, we tasted and painted with beets! We gathered around a large bed of beets, and examined the vegetable’s leaves and colorful stalks. Upon harvesting the root vegetable, we identified the three varieties and examined the circular pattern hidden within each beet. We used beet juice to create watercolor on paper and many of us left the garden with beet-stained fingertips and mouths…some of us asking for another helping!
Our second week in the garden was full of work and play. Miss Mandy helped us spread woodchips along our pathways that were freshly delivered by our garden friend, John Olson. Colleen guided an edible garden tour where we tasted red and golden raspberries, cucumbers, nasturtiums, borage, basil, “toothache plant”, lemongrass, shiso, kale and of course a young gardener's favorite: sorrel.
During week three we practiced respect and gratitude for the water around and in us. From conversations about seawater and rain, conserving the water from our kitchen sink and garden hoses, we covered it all! Colleen shared a beautiful Reishi Mushroom found near Cascade Falls that was created from the rain. Miss Mandy sliced up fresh Oyster Mushrooms for us to taste, grown by Jonathan Calhoun of North Beach Mushrooms. Using salt water from the Salish Sea, we painted watercolor images of mushrooms and other beauties found in the garden.
In our last class of September, we had a surprise visit from a local islander…Coffelt Farm’s Clover the calf! Clover and Casey McKenzie joined us underneath the garden maple tree for a Q&A session. Another friend of the garden, Dali Cuthbert, graciously shared several apple varieties from her orchard on Shaw Island. “Ashmead’s Kernel”, “Honeycrisp”, “Spartan” and the memorizing “Pink Pearl” were among the few we savored and tastefully critiqued. We learned how an apple begins its life as a flower, grows slowly around the core where the seeds are held, and if sliced properly, a star can be found within every apple.