Cultivating fun and friendships during summer camp has made our culinary adventure fly by! Here are some of our most memorable moments during the second half of camp.
We kicked off week four of camp focusing on “Pollinators and the Environment.” Curious minds led us to adventures visiting our flying friends high above the city, learning that without pollinating midges chocolate wouldn’t exist, and discovering that ecologically-friendly restaurants can make the tastiest dishes!
Broadway Bees – We met our friends from Harlem Grown again to see what all the buzz was about at the Courtyard by Marriott hotel. Forget the penthouse suite, the friendly flying residents have the best view! Located on the rooftop 723 feet above ground, these hive hotels comprise the highest bee apiary in the world. Our pollinating pals teach us that not only does their hard work supply about 1/3 of our global supply, but even as kids and insects, no matter how small we are, we can all make a positive impact and contribute positively to our ecosystem.
Everyday during our daily wrap up and at graduation, we reflected on our camp experiences by sharing our “Rose, (favorite part of the day), Thorn (not so favorite), and Bud” (something to look forward to).
Fine and Raw Chocolate –For Manhattan session 2 campers, it was of little surprise that the majority of “roses” was the chocolate factory tour! A local Bushwick chocolatier, Fine and Raw Chocolates led us on a bean to bar tour, sorting cacao beans, de-shelling them and even wrapping up and decorating our own chocolate bars.
Habana Outpost Forks made out of potato starch, plates made out of sugarcane fiber and cups made from corn. These are some of the fun facts campers learned from their tour of the Brooklyn eatery, Habana Outpost. Known as the first solar-powered restaurant and one of the most sustainably-conscious restaurants in the world, we were lucky to not only have some delicious elote there, but also experience first hand how we can be environmental changemakers!
L’albero dei gelati- Our friends at L’albero, shared that we can bring the authentic taste of Italian gelato into our own backyard by sourcing ingredients from local farmers.
Across the globe, we can have a shared vision of crafting something delicious through a combination of tradition, creativity and cultivating an appreciation for farmers and natural foods.
During week 5 of camp, not only did we amp up our nutrition by focusing on using all parts of the plant, but also our culinary creativity with cooking challenges!
Wildman Steve Brill – “These are the coolest plants ever!” said one camper as “Wildman” Steve Brill guided us on another foraging adventure throughout Central and Prospect Parks. With his delightful storytelling and humor, Wildman Steve taught us how to hunt for wild edible plants. Some plants in our “forest feast” that we were able to identify and sample was Persling, Poor Man’s Pepper, Burdock and Wood Sorrel, a tart-lemon tasting herb that we mixed in our water bottles! We found and took home some “Common Plantain” which can be baked into chips and even used as a natural remedy for mosquito bites.
Gotham Greens – How far did the basil for our pesto travel? When communities create the space for urban gardening, not only do we get fresher produce, but we create a cleaner air by eliminating the carbon emissions during transportation. Our campers had the opportunity to taste various pestos made from basil freshly picked from the rooftop garden, learn about the benefits of eating locally and take basil home to make our own rescued carrot top pesto.
Raffettos – Ask our campers in session 3 who they think has the yummiest pasta in NYC, and of course the answer would be Raffettos Fresh Pasta! In 1906, Marcello Raffetto built his homemade pasta shop in the heart of the West Village. We were lucky to have his great granddaughter Sarah Raffetto welcome and guide us through the kitchen with fresh pasta samples and even see how the store’s very first antique pasta cutting machine makes different shapes!
With summer coming to a close, we wanted to use as much summer harvest as possible before the aromas and flavors of fall fill the market shelves. With the thematic focus on seasonal superfoods during our last week of camp, we celebrated the summer harvest and the healthy benefits it gives us!
Ample Hills – We love ice cream! Not only is Ample Hills a creamery and bakery, it is a registered dairy plant that uses the best local ingredients. Our campers got to experience the joy of churning milk base and organic sugar into ice cream and sharing it with new friends.
Union Square Farmer’s Market – We took a short trip to the farmer’s market to explore the colorful produce and discover what foods are in season. During our tour, we had a chance to visit the farmers who grew our food, hear their stories, and become sustainable stewards in our community!
Brooklyn Grange – On our last day, both our Brooklyn and Manhattan campers shared a lovely day at Brooklyn Grange Rooftop farm exploring the rows of blooming and ready-to-pick harvest. Setting the scene with the Manhattan skyline interspersed with awakened sunflowers at the Brooklyn Navy Yard,we reflected on this truly unique experience that our city children have.
There may not be a lot of space in our urban backyard, but one unique lesson that Butter Beans Camp teaches us is that we can all be resourceful with what Mother Earth, farmers and soil superhero worms provide. With their help and as Butter Beans families, we can learn to live sustainably and gain an appreciation for the food that fuels us.