The beginning of week 5 is hours away with 15 days down and 8 to go for the entire length of this start-up program. My students at Ujima have finally settled into routine. They are more calm, relaxed, and excited about the work we are doing. On Wednesday we made Pasta with Pesto sauce with our basil we grew right on sight. Everyone loved it. Daillo said, “I like this a thousand more times than I liked the Fritatta, and I LOVED the fritatta.” (A swiss chard fritatta in fact.)
On Thursday, Godfrie returned, limping a little after his two week absence after getting struck by a car. We are happy to have him back. Unfortunately, Diallo wont be able to come anymore becuase his mom has other stuff she wants him to do. It’s sad that right when things start really getting good a student has to leave. Out of all the students, I think he may have loved coming the most. We will miss him, but hopefully he can come next year.
Our trip to the farmers market last week was very exciting. I was thrilled to see how engaged the kids were. My favorite part was watching them ask the beekeepers how they get their honey and how they manage the bees. The scavenger hunt, which had the kids on the lookout for various goods from milk to okra, was also a great deal of fun! And splitting up into smaller groups on-site gave me the chance to get to know the children I worked with on a different level.
It’s hard to believe we’re halfway through the program! Tomorrow we are off to the Queens County Farm Museum. But today–in addition to making yogurt-dipped fruit kebabs and planting bean seeds–we took some time with the kids to think about our favorite recipes and experiences from the previous week. Some voted for the popcorn/movie day when we watched the kid-friendly documentary What’s On Your Plate about locavorism. Others chimed in that the zucchini muffins, which we made alongside fresh ricotta cheese (served with honey and walnuts atop a baguette), were the highlight for them. Either way, it’s nice to see that the lessons and flavors of camp are making an impression!
This week is bound to be an exciting week for us. We are getting two very special guests: an Arancauna and a White hen who will be roosting with us for the rest of the program. The kids are having a “name that hen” competition on Monday. Tuesday we will be joining the Heckscher group once again and heading out to the Queens County Farm to volunteer and see livestock in action.
Thursday of last week, Sandra came in and led a cheese-making workshop. The students liked watching milk and buttermilk transform into cheese, and loved eating it even more. Our farm is in full production mode. We are getting about 4 ripe cucumbers a day, and our swiss chard and collard greens are huge. The kids are loving it!
Today at Ujima Garden we cooked for the entire day. The kids and the staff made cheese, butter, zucchini cupcakes, Beef and Carrot Salad in Cucumber Boats and Swiss Chard Frittata. It was a lot of fun. The food tasted amazing. My favorite out of the three was the Zucchini Cupcakes. We sent some cupcakes to one of the kids that attend the camp. His name is Godfrie. He is in the hospital from a car accident. We hope he will recover from his injuries quickly and comes back to the garden before the summer ends