The eighth week of our FoodWhat summer has finally arrived! This week marks the bittersweet end of the crew’s summer job after so much hard work, learning, and growing. To finish the summer off right, we hosted a FoodWhat Final Dinner for all of our friends, family, and the many within the community who have helped make this program as awesome as it is. Thursday ran a little differently than usual as part of the crew set up tables and chairs while others prepared dinner. Our guests started arriving later in the evening and the support for this summer’s crew was incredible! Parents, friends, siblings, folks within the community, teachers from high school, and so many others joined to create an incredible community to congratulate the crew on their accomplishments throughout the summer.
With everyone settled in, dinner was served! The crew brought out bowls of delicious string beans, colorful veggie lasagna, and mass amounts of salad.
Before digging in, Cindy proudly announced that all of the produce used in the meal was grown in the dining area: the FoodWhat farm! What better way to show their loved ones their hard work than to let them taste it?
As the group sat content with satisfied bellies and clean plates, Doron invited the crew up to the front of the picnic tables. Each crew member recognized and gave thanks to someone they appreciated. Not only was this an excellent opportunity to practice public speaking, but also a series of great moments in which each crew member graciously and genuinely thanked someone for helping out FoodWhat this summer. As expected, this time of thanks took quite some time to properly acknowledge everybody from Doron and Abby, to Nellie and Darius, to our junior staff, Tawn, Kirstin, the folks at Life Lab, and a long list of others!
Filled with warmth, it was time for dessert! The crew served up some delicious berry crisp to satisfy any sweet cravings left after dinner.
Before calling it a night, a few crew members volunteered to share their personal experiences of working with FoodWhat. In between giggling at funny memories and unlikely friendships, the crew reflected on their increased self-confidence, work ethic, and organization as well as finding closeness with others and a new direction. These powerful accounts truly demonstrated the personal impact the FoodWhat community has had on the individuals within it.
We ended the night with a slideshow of photographs of good times and hard work to let our guests know what FoodWhat is really all about! The night ended on an cheerful note as everybody went home with fresh produce and a reminders of how successful the crew’s summer has been.
Just because we had our final dinner, that doesn’t mean the work was over! We had one last Friday at Freewheelin’ to finish strong. Kirsten thanked the crew for their hard work throughout the summer and recognized how efficient they have become at harvesting quality produce, weeding, replanting, and all of the other work they’ve helped out with on the farm!
The crew’s work ethic would certainly be crucial to today’s harvest! Freewheelin’ planned to set up a stand twice are large as usual at the Scotts Valley farmers market the next day. That means twice the harvest! A perfect challenge for finishing the summer job off strong. Root vegetables were our first target as a crew jumped on harvesting beets while Doron and Jose focused on harvesting carrots.
Meanwhile a crew was busy knocking out the strawberry harvest. After a summer of picking and tasting, the crew knows which berries are tastey and which need more time. Across the farm a new task was underway: harvesting dill. Upon learning that this herb gives dill pickles their flavor, the crew couldn’t stop smelling and tasting as they harvested!
A group tackled harvesting and preparing onions of all kinds! It took quite some time to harvest, peel, and cut them but the crew’s perseverance produced good-looking and smelling onions.
Nearby, a crew harvested heads of lettuce and bunches of kale. Cesar took on the responsibility of washing and cutting the heads until they looked nice, clean, and full.
With the boxes upon boxes of onions good to go, the crew jumped on harvesting fennel and finished in no time!
Connor and Edgar dug up potatoes with Darryl, maintaining a keen eye to sift through the soil to find little spuds. With hands directly in the dirt, avoiding nettle was difficult but our crew persevered to produce crates of purple and gold potatoes.
What a better way to celebrate the last day than with a barbeque? Throughout the morning, Jaque, Deonte, and Crystal busily worked on lunch with our returning guest chef, Chris from El Salchichero!
The menu included barbequed chicken and vegetables served over corn pudding and topped with cooked-down blueberries and chilli sauce paired with a side dish of hearty lentil salad. The vegetarian option replaced chicken with fried green and yellow tomatoes battered with ground brown rice.
With so many ingredients to work with, the chefs needed to get grillin’! Jaque got started grilling the chicken as Chris shared his barbeque expertise to ensure golden-brown pieces of chicken with tender white meat inside.
Deonte chopped up dill and onions for the lentil salad. Chris showed him the magic a little salt and vinegar can have on a dish. Crystal started frying the breaded tomatoes and sautéing kale to dress the main dishes with.
To bring out the ultimate taste of summer, we needed two grillers on the barbeque! Deonte and Jaque grilled heaping amounts of beets and squash to create a colorful platter of flavorful veggies.
While dishing up the food, Chris encouraged the chefs to arrange the serving platters artistically (because people really eat with their eyes, not their mouths!). With this tip, the crew got creative and made real works of art with the chicken dish and tomato dish.
To celebrate not only the end of a successful work day, but also a great summer of working together, we hit the tracks down to the beach to finish off the afternoon in the sand and ocean. Watermelon, unexpected mountain-climbing, sand crabs and sea lions ended the summer perfectly.
The biggest congratulations goes out to the Summer 2012 FoodWhat crew for all of their growth, hard work, and for creating such a beautiful and rad community throughout the summer!