slow food summer celebrations

Posted by on Aug 28, 2015 in Valentine's Day, pink lemonade, cranberries, recipes | 0 comments

Nestled in the heart of Park Slope sits a gelateria where food, flavor, and artistry come together to create a community outpost that embodies the slow food movement. L’Albero Dei Gelati is the flagship international storefront of this Milan-based artisanal gelateria, and has been carefully curated by founder Monia, her husband Alessandro, and their partner Mauro. 

In Italian, l’albero dei gelati means the tree of gelato. It is a testament to the integral role that nature and a respect for the earth play in the creation of L’Albero’s unique culinary offerings. The colors and textures that adorn the plates and bowls of diners visiting the shop shift in sync with the seasons and the changing availability of fresh produce. This summer their inventive menu has included gelatos and sorbets ranging in flavor from blackberry and melon, to strawberry-rose and arugula!

IMG_2554We had the delight of taking our campers to create handmade strawberry sorbet with Monia twice this summer and lets just say since that time, our staff have been back on more than one occasion to do some very important taste-testing work on any flavors they’ve yet to try…

We felt it only fitting to commemorate a memorable summer for the Butter Beans Wellness team with a gelato celebration, L’Albero-style.

Gathered around the shop’s lush herb garden table, our team shared happy stories of the summer while savoring the flavors of local cheeses, fresh bread, and of course, gelato!

We are so grateful to our new friends at L’Albero Dei Gelati, and for all the families and teachers that contributed to the magic of this summer.

Grazie mille!!



Learn more about the story of L’Albero in this great read by our friends at Edible Brooklyn.

Written by Kelly McGlinchey, Director of Food Education


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millet caprese salad

Posted by on Aug 27, 2015 in healthy food, lunch time, nutrition, Recipes | 0 comments

11855817_939985916060344_137425882669863417_nWith tomato season in full effect, it’s time to put that abundance to work!

This salad is loaded with vitamins, minerals and protein that will keep you feeling full and ready to enjoy the end of summer.

It also makes for a great packed lunch for your back to school recipe list, so keep this one bookmarked for the start of the school year!

Here’s a quick overview of the star ingredients we will be using in our recipe:

Millet: Mineral Magnet! Contains loads of copper, phosphorous, manganese and magnesium along with fiber helping our hearts, body tissue, lungs, and digestive system stay strong and healthy.

Basil: Vitamin K & Flavonoids! Basil is great not only for it’s aromatic smell, but also for it’s beneficial properties as an anti-inflammatory helping to reduce free radicals.

Tomato: Vitamin C & Lycopene! Tomatoes aid in keeping the heart healthy along with decreasing bad cholesterol.

Mozzarella: Calcium & Protein Powerhouse! This fresh cheese is not only delicious, but it contains a good amount of calcium which can keep your bones, teeth and nails strong along with protein, that helps build and repair tissues.

Millet Caprese Salad

Serves: 2-4

Prep Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 22 minutes



1. Prep: While your millet is cooking, make your pesto.

2. Mix & Assemble: Add pesto to your cooked millet, mix well. Mix in tomato, mozzarella, balsamic, olive oil. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and enjoy!

Post written by Flora McKay, Director of Community & Nutrition

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apple nachos!

Posted by on Aug 25, 2015 in after school, cooking with kids, healthy food, nutrition, Recipes | 0 comments

image006Last week we had the pleasure of hosting another fun family event at the Upper West Side Whole Foods Market during their Back to School In Style Food & Fashion Show!

Our Wellness Program Coordinator, Jennifer led the audience in a colorful and fruity back to school snack recipe – apple nachos!

The event was jam packed with a pumped and stylish crowd, complete with face painting, dance parties, pop quizzes about fruits and vegetables, and prizes! We gave away a tiffin for the students to carry their healthy lunch and snacks during the school year, and a Food & Garden Summer Camp 2016 gift certificate.

Jennifer demonstrated how to “style what’s in season” by creating apple nachos. She had two volunteers come up and make them on their own with her guidance. They used a fun apple corer and dressed up their apples with different toppings using the themes of:
“Seasonality” – what’s in season? apples
“Eat a rainbow” – add a pop of color! strawberries and blueberries
“Textures and Layers” – add some pizzaz with drizzled melted sunflower butter, yogurt, granola, coconut flakes

Our demonstration ended with two of our presenters showing the audience their snack which they made in under 10 minutes, and culminated with a round of applause!

11143657_10153631243601015_1304525813144838948_nOur recipe was such a big hit that we had to share it with you all so that you can make it at home – allowing your budding chefs take the lead.

Here’s how:

Serves: 2-4

Prep Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 12 minutes


  • 1 red delicious apple
  • 1 T sunflower butter
  • 1 T vanilla yogurt
  • 1/4 C blueberries
  • 1 T shredded coconut
  • 2-3 strawberries
  • 1/4 C granola


1. Prep: Slice the apple into a fun shape – use an apple corer to make an accordion shape. Slice strawberries. In a small pot over medium heat, warm up the sunflower butter for 2-5 minutes until melted.

2. Assemble & Serve: On a plate, create your nachos by first layering the apple slices, drizzling the sunflower butter, sprinkling shredded coconut, dropping a dollop of yogurt, adding some color with blueberries and strawberries, and finishing it off with sprinkles of crunchy granola.

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campfire stories: growing the magic of summer

Posted by on Aug 14, 2015 in agriculture, cooking classes, cooking with kids, families, Food & Farm program, Food for thought, food waste, gardens, healthy food, seasonal celebrations, summer camp, sustainability, wellness | 0 comments

Today Butter Beans Food & Garden summer campers celebrate the final day of camp for the 2015 season.

In the eight weeks since our summer camp began, nearly 100 students have come through the Food & Garden camp program – pickling, planting, foraging, cooking, sharing, and growing together through a hands-on experience where the rooftop farms, community gardens, farmers markets and restaurants of New York City provide the classroom.

This is always a bittersweet day for our team of food educators. For campers and counselors alike, saying good-bye can be difficult after so many adventures together exploring the food landscape of the Big Apple. But we do so knowing this parting is really more of a “see you soon.”

The children who graduate today as Food & Garden Experts – and all those students who have come through our summer programs in the past two months – will continue to explore, innovate, inspire, and share in growing the good food movement.

These campers are future business leaders, professors, politicians, lawyers, policy makers, social workers, teachers, and consumers. And, if at ages 6-10 they are celebrating seasonal food, helping the health of our ecosystems, and connecting with their local food communities… well, it seems that our future is in good hands!

Though Butter Beans Food & Garden Summer Camp 2015 is at an end, the magic does not stop here!

This is only the beginning of the adventures that await our campers, and we can’t wait to see where their adventures lead them.

Check out how you can continue the magic of Butter Beans Food & Garden Summer Camp at home with our 5 Ways to Grow Future Food Leaders.

As we do each day at camp, we’d like to thank the chefs, farmers, food innovators, gardeners, parents, families, and educators who bring our Food & Garden Summer Camp to life each year. And, above all, we say THANK YOU to the campers who motivate us each and every day to do better, think bigger, and laugh more.

You are an inspiration!

We’ll see you in the kitchen and garden next summer. Until then, happy cooking and bon appétit!

Written by Kelly McGlinchey, Director of Food Education

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5 ways to grow future food leaders at home

Posted by on Aug 14, 2015 in Valentine's Day, pink lemonade, cranberries, recipes | 0 comments

The air hangs sweetly with the aroma of yellow onions caramelizing on the stovetop. Grated ginger hits the pan, followed closely by marigold-hued turmeric and ground cumin. As the flavors meld, the chefs directing this culinary dance move quickly and with purpose to prepare the next elements of the meal.


The kitchen is humming with a palpable sense of anticipation, when the silent workings of the culinary team is broken by a sudden and fervent outburst from the designated compost collector, eager to share an internal revelation: “We are like the ingredients in this meal. When we work together in community, we create something beautiful.”


Delighted at sharing such a discovery with her peers, she smiles broadly and takes a bite out of a kale stem she has just picked up from her cutting board. Then she casually continues her walk about the table collecting food scraps in the class compost bowl.


This nascent chef turned 7 years old in July and is preparing a lunch of coconut curry and sautéed kale with her classmates. She is one of a handful of New York City urbanites who have chosen to spend their summer exploring food from seed-to-soil at Butter Beans Food & Garden Summer Camp, and this scene is just one of many inspiring moments in the day to day for our team.


Working at the intersection of food and education, I spend a lot of time thinking about food – how to cook it, where to buy it, when to grow it, who is supported by eating it, and the potential it holds to grow the next generation of students. As you can tell from the short story here, food is a powerful tool to spark imagination and grow confidence in our children.


Food connects us to our communities, just as it links personal wellbeing and nutrition with the health of fragile ecological systems. When we choose foods that nourish our bodies and minds, more often than not we choose food that also nourishes the soil and supports practices that respect the natural world.


By planting the foundation for an adventurous palate at a young age, we set the stage for the next generation to become true stewards of the Earth and future food leaders. When children pause to consider the food that fuels them throughout their day, they enter a gateway into exploration of mindful eating, environmental integrity, social responsibility, and personal health and wellness.


The next time you find yourself looking for a family activity or a workshop in your school’s classroom, consider the fork or the gardening shovel as your tools to engage, inspire, educate, and spark imagination with these 5 ways to grow future food leaders:

11539620_919843904741212_3458107264933377832_n (2)

  1. Cook. Whether you are six or sixty-six, there is magic to be found in preparing and sharing a meal with friends and family. Cooking opens the door for creativity, community-building, and learning while empowering people with the tools to take charge of their personal health.

0aJX3dwbt9QV12-LiWrVDNBuiTaUTuQ8FoC4-8UWVLI-12. Play. Food is fun! We’re all too familiar with the age-old reprimand, “Don’t play with your food.” What if we turned that idea on its head? While it’s certainly best that mashed potatoes remain on the plate rather than catapulted against the wall, we have nothing to lose and everything to gain when we transform eating into an act of celebration. With educational resources like Your Food Story, the Charlie Cart Project, Super Sproutz, Funny Food Art, and Butter Beans, playing with your food just got that much better.


garden pic (1)3. Grow. Whether you live on a farm in rural Kentucky or a studio apartment in downtown Manhattan, you can grow a garden. From a pot of basil in a windowsill to a backyard of raised garden beds, growing food opens children’s eyes to the wonderment of nature and helps deepen connections to their local communities and the earth. As Stephen Ritz of the Green Bronx Machine likes to say – plant a seed, grow an organic citizen.


4. Dig. Don’t be afraid to get a little dirty! Make a DIY worm bin to compost your food scraps, or just play in the dirt. The United Nations declared 2015 to be the International Year of Soils in recognition of the role healthy soils play in building healthy communities. Encouraging kids to play in the dirt is one stop in sparking an appreciation for how the Earth supports our global food systems.


11214242_933244103401192_3720519408281827238_n5. Explore. Remember, food is fun. Taste, adventure, set out on a scavenger hunt at the farmers market, explore a different culture through a new recipe. Doing so will expand your child’s palate and mind. Then, take the adventure out of the kitchen, and go foraging for wild edibles or visit a rooftop farm.


Inviting children to embark on a culinary adventure, plant a seed, care for a compost bin, or simply pause to give thanks for a meal are powerful acts to help inspire the next generation of champions of food, nutrition and the environment – our future food leaders.

Written by Kelly McGlinchey, Director of Food Education

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