Moroccan couscous, Greek pita wraps, Costa Rican rice and beans, Vietnamese banh mi… these dishes made up the Butter Beans camp menu this week as budding chefs explored “food diversity.” To start each meal, campers exclaimed “bon appétit” in the language of the dish’s country of origin (check out this great resource to hear “bon appétit” phrases from around the globe). As we cooked we learned about the country’s food profile, from commonly used spices to popular agricultural crops to fun culinary traditions!

Our camp “partners in the field” also helped us explore what it means to eat a diverse palate in new and exciting ways. Campers visited the Brooklyn Grange with City Growers to tour this rooftop farm where both a diversity of food and a diversity of ideas are cultivated! The Grange gardeners implement a wide array of growing practices to produce food in an urban environment, from composting worms to chickens to drip irrigation.

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After a day of fun in the sun, Butter Beans campers hosted a potluck party with our friends from Harlem Grown summer camp. Butter Beans and Harlem Grown campers alike paired off in three groups to prepare the different components of a Costa Rican feast. As the melodies of the rainforest played in the background, the aromas of cilantro, chili, caramelized onion and freshly-squeezed lime wafted through the air. Teamwork and friendship yielded a delicious meal of brown rice, seasoned black beans, zesty corn on the cob, beet salsa, kale chips, and agua de sandia (watermelon juice). There were few leftovers at the end of this potluck party!

As we explored the diverse flavors of international cuisines, we also learned about the array of foods and flavors that New York has to offer. From locally-produced ice cream at Ample Hills Creamery to artisan chocolate at Nunu Chocolates, campers got a taste (literally!) of the culinary creativity New York chefs and growers have to offer. Did we mention that Butter Beans campers churned their own ice cream on a bicycle-powered ice cream machine?

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Today we bid farewell to our Session 2 campers, sending them off with their official graduation spoons and homemade. We say goodbye to our new friends for now, wishing them a summer of good food, community, and sun-filled days ahead.