Campfire Stories

Posted by on Jul 28, 2016 in Valentine's Day, pink lemonade, cranberries, recipes | 0 comments

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Food + Garden Summer Camp: CAMPFIRE STORIES

Session 2 is coming to a close and our little chefs have been learning about the food system from the ground up!

Week one of session two we dug deeper into exploration of worms as master composters and soil superhero.  Worms play a key role in the health of our soil and environment. We learned about ways to compost  at home & at the local farmers market!

With the food and materials we use in the classroom, we created a “recipe” for healthy compost for our very own worm bin! We kept our worms happy by reusing and recycling materials from our classroom such as food scraps and  newspapers, cereal boxes, etc. for compost.

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Manhattan Camp visited the composting station at Union Square market to see industrial composting in action! We continued our partnership with Harlem Grown, and visited their farm to see how an urban farm grows and how they keep their soil healthy! Harlem Grown then joined us at camp head quarters for a family meal and celebration later in the week!

For a sweet treat, we whipped up some chocolate avocado mousse with the farm-to-table Latin-American cuisine at Comodo.


Screen Shot 2016-07-28 at 12.53.51 PMAt our Brooklyn Camp, the Brooklyn Botanical Garden educational team showed us compost as a way to re-use our fruit and vegetable scraps, and reduce waste. We got to see composting in action with a tour of decomposers and composting strategies.

There were no extra food scraps to compost from our visit to Ample Hills! At the artisanal, local creamery, we saw (and tasted!) how fresh, natural ingredients come together to make the most delicious treats! With their special bicycle-powered ice-cream maker, we ALL got to make ice-cream, and of course, eat the fruits of our labor!

Each one of our Butter Beans Master Chefs are ready to come home and start composting and recycling on their own. Here are some resources for starting your own composting bin or finding a city bin:

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This week we have been learning about making plants grow from the other side of the spectrum: from the air! We have been focusing on pollinators all week!

Screen Shot 2016-07-28 at 1.55.26 PMFrom tasting all different kinds of honeys to learning the bees dance to designing a flower to exploring affect of bees on our environment, we’ve been buzzing with activity.

The Manhattan camp visited what is believed to be the highest bee hive in the US (talk about a bee pent house!) on top of the Marriot Residence Inn courtesy of Broadway Bees and Bee Bold Apiaries.

An estimated one-third of our global food supply relies on the ecological services provided by pollinators such as the honey bee. With the help of Bee Bold Apiaries, Broadway Bees produce almost a hundred pounds of honey a year! Learn more about Bee Bold Apiaries’ urban beekeeping here!


Screen Shot 2016-07-28 at 1.56.09 PMManhattan and Brooklyn camp got to make chocolate, and make a mess, with the self-taught chocolatiers at Nunu’s Chocolates!

Brooklyn Camp cooked a special Kid-Friendly Pea Soup with The Supper Club author and chef, Susie Cover. The Supper Club is a “solution-driven cookbook offers a modern approach to getting dinner on the table-and ensures that it’s a meal the whole family will enjoy!” We certainly enjoyed making this refreshing summer soup for a quick snack!

They also made gelato from scratch with fresh ingredients and lots of love in the magical world of L’Albero dei Gelati, where they believe that good food is best when the ingredients are fresh and seasonal and when the chain between the producer and you is short. Everything from L’Albero dei Gelati is sustainably produced and locally sourced from good farmers. They use local ingredients, biodegradable packaging and renewable energy on the principle that “food tastes best when it is good for you, good for the environment and fair to the producers!”

Both camps go on a market exploration fried trip tomorrow to put all they have learned into action at the Union Square Farmers Market!

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Since 2010 when New York City legalized bee-keeping in the city, more resources have been popping up for raw and local honey production and bee-keeping. If you are interested in learning more, here are a few resources:

Session two has been a thrilling ride from the soil to the air, and all the delicious places in between! We’re sad to see it end, but look forward to learning about the parts of the plant and sustainable super foods next session!


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easy steps to create a pollinator garden

Posted by on Jul 28, 2016 in agriculture, gardens, healthy food, pollinators | 0 comments

unnamed (2)The Churchill garden is a buzz!

Did you know that pollinators are responsible for 1 out of 3 bites of food we eat everyday?

There are 430 different bee species in New York State alone, but sadly they are in trouble due to pesticides and losses in nesting habitats. Many colonies are lost to colony collapse disorder a problem whose cause is not fully understood.

Through our pollinator workshop, the students at the Churchill School & Center did their part to protect their native city dwelling bees. As pictured, their flower pots show that you don’t need a lot of space to start a pollinator garden. Here’s how they did it:

Step One: Go native with your flowers. Plant flowers that are pesticide free and local to the area. Good plants for pollinators include: aromatic herbs, colorful nectar rich flowers, and wild grasses. The students planted spearmint, violet luscious grape, blue supertunia bordeaux, orange luscious citrus blend, and local Sunset Park wheatgrass by Union Square Grassman. Bees are particularly drawn to blue flowers. The Churchill students being as pollinator inclusive as they are, also planted orange luscious citrus blend to attract red loving hummingbirds and butterflies. The orange luscious citrus blend has quickly become a yard favorite because of its amazing citrusy nectar scent.

unnamed (3)Step Two: Add water to the mix. Bees use mud to build their homes. Butterflies sip at shallow pools, mud puddles, and birdbaths. Here the students created “landing pads” by digging shallow holes outlined by a few stones. Butterflies especially love lighter colored stones. We have spotted quite a few perching themselves on the stones to cool off these past hot summer days.

Step Three: Materials for home improvement. Create small piles of twigs and brush. Bees and birds will use these materials to build their nests.

Follow these steps, and like the garden at Churchill, and you will have a beautiful garden that delights your senses and supports our garden helpers, the pollinators.

This post was written by Gisselle Madariaga, Butter Beans Food & Garden Summer Camp Assistant Camp Director 

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Meet Brooklyn’s Newest Food Bloggers

Posted by on Jul 23, 2016 in cooking with kids, Food for thought, local food, news and happenings, Recipes, summer camp | 0 comments

Much like this abundance of summer sun and sweet produce, Butter Bean’s Food and Garden Camp has been full of sweet shining campers.

One of my favorite parts about working with our campers for an extended period of time is witnessing the individual characters and creative learning styles that each camper exhibits. Much like myself, most of our campers love hands on learning, like playing with worms to teach vermicomposting, or riding a bike to churn homemade ice cream that was made with only 6 ingredients! These were two of many inspiring field trips that our campers had the chance to experience. It was on these field trips that two of our older seasoned campers took it upon themselves to become food bloggers.

image4Every summer journals are given out for the campers to write their thoughts, recipes, questions, impressions, or pictures in.  Two of our Brooklyn campers, Aiden and Chloe, decided that they would also use their journals for food blogging. They have since been recording information at each and every field trip, asking the specialists questions while quickly jotting down notes. They also decided it was important to interview their peers and gather opinions on the food we tasted, noting favorites vs least favorites.

Not only was this dedication and focus impressive (and contagious with the other campers), but the next day after each field trip, our aspiring food bloggers brought in typed up reports of their research.

What we hope to provide here at Butterbeans camp is inspiration and knowledge about food and where it comes from. What I am continuously amazed by is how the campers use that inspiration and take action on learning even more!

FullSizeRender (7)I can’t say for certain, but look out for Aiden and Chloe, two inseparable friends who are always hungry for both good food and knowledge. They may just become New York’s youngest food writers.

This post was written by Annie Duffy, Butter Beans Food & Garden Summer Camp Counselor & Food Educator

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