Monday, July 27, 2015

Farm Stands

Every week of Summer School, FoodWhat sets up two affordable farm stands to work toward making healthy, organic food more accessible to the greater community. We partner with the UCSC farm to set up a stand at Bay View Elementary School in Santa Cruz and team up with Live Earth Farm to set up another at Radcliff Elementary School in Watsonville. We sell locally grown, organic produce and set our prices so that it is more affordable for all families of any income level. We also accept EBT, making healthy eating easier on a budget and accessible to more people. 

Parents, teachers, and the community can pick up dinner ingredients from FoodWhat farm stands and pick up their kids from summer school in one stop! This makes shopping for organic produce more convenient for busy families. 

Our crew also gains some great work and customer service experience working at these stands. We learn to be creative in the visual appeal of the tables to attract students and parents to check out our fruits, veggies, and bouquets. We also practice handling money and working with the public. 

The Summer farm stands are over now, but will start back up in the fall.
Stay tunes for dates, times, and locations. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Guest Chefs

At the FoodWhat farm, we learn to make delicious meals out of the nutritious food we grow 
every day. Each week, a new rad guest chef working within Santa Cruz County joins us for a culinary lesson from the pros. This week, the folks from The Ballesteros Catering Company came out to cook with us. They shared their story of how they started their family-owned catering business out of Watsonville, how creative they get with their menu, and tips on how to get started for folks interested in becoming chefs or starting their own business. Cooking alongside the FoodWhat crew, they also collaborated on cooking a delicious, healthy lunch.

The day’s lunch menu was quite the spread! We had oyster broccoli beef, veggie quesadillas, veggie spring rolls, and of course a giant colorful salad on the side. Our crew got to chopping cabbage, carrots, broccoli, cucumbers, lettuce, onions, and a variety of other colorful veggies. The beans for the quesadillas were on the stove next to the broccoli beef and the salad bowls filled up real quick.

With all of the chopping finished, we accepted the spring roll challenge. These veggie-packed treats took some skill to learn how to roll them into the rice paper. We got creative with the combinations of veggies we packed in them. With so many hands on deck, we had a giant pile of beautiful spring rolls in no time.

With the spring rolls piled up, the oyster broccoli beef ready to go, the veggie quesadillas golden brown, and the salad looking bountiful, we set out our beautiful spread and gathered up the crew for a feast.

Lunch was a huge hit!
Big thanks to The Ballesteros Catering Company
for coming out to hang with us!

Monday, July 6, 2015

CSA Harvest

When we grow food in the FoodWhat fields, our veggies quickly end up on our plates for lunch and on the tables of our farm stands for our communities. However, the bulk of what we grow ends up in our CSA bags to enjoy and share at home. CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) bags are rad for SO many reasons. They allow us to enjoy the fruits of our labor and give our families a look at the amazing results we're working for in the fields everyday. Taking home produce directly from our fields also gives us the opportunity to share the recipes we learn at lunch, introduce new types of food to our families and get creative with cooking, and we can engage in conversations about food justice at home. Best of all, it allows us to share the benefits of eating healthy organic food at home or with our communities outside of FoodWhat. 

Harvest days always start with a warm up game to get us moving led by our junior staff. A game of tag is a great way to get moving and laughing first thing in the morning.

We break off into small groups to efficiently harvest everything we need for the whole crew to take home a little bit of everything. We start with the crops that will take the longest to harvest, such as plums and carrots, and finish with the crops that are a little quicker, such as chard and squash. Harvesting also leads to us learning more about the food we're growing and eating. Sometimes we learn about new foods entirely, such as the alien-looking veggie kohlrabi.  

Abby leads us through the next step of the harvesting process. We go through the motions other farms go through to prepare their produce for sale to ensure quality products. We wash, weigh, record, and package our harvest to take home. This process trains us to have an eye for quality and to learn organizational skills to keep records of the summer's yield. 

When the harvest is clean and organized, we make bags for the whole crew to take home to their families and chat about ways to enjoy the harvest at home with others!