It’s hard to know where to begin with a week as un-bee-lievable as this third week at Butter Beans Food + Garden Summer Camp. Each day left our counselors inspired, our campers smiling broadly, and camp headquarters abuzz with laughter.
Campers delved into Pollinator Week here at Butter Beans with a visit to the “Broadway Bees” at the Residence Inn by Marriott at Central Park hotel (thus the string of bee puns throughout this post). The Broadway Bees live in their hives atop the hotel’s roof on the 67th floor. At 723 feet, this Marriott Residence Inn is the tallest hotel in the Western Hemisphere! We couldn’t beelieve the view of Central Park as we learned about the bees from Bee Bold Apiaries beekeeper Joe. To top off the day, campers enjoyed a delightful treat of cookies and local milk from the generous hotel team.
Two days later campers were in for another sweet treat from our friends at Birdbath Bakery. These budding chefs worked with the Birdbath baker to roll out chocolate cookie dough from the biggest ball of dough any of us had ever seen. After learning about the community that supports this friendly bakery, campers gobbled up their homemade delights and headed to Bedford Cheese Shop to churn their own butter. Is there anything these campers can’t do?
Thursday was a day of inspiration, good food, sharing, and community. Harlem Grown, a non-profit organization that supports a network of neighborhood farms, developed its first summer camp program this year. Naturally we here at Butter Beans were buzzing with excitement when we learned this and a food + garden summer camp summit of sorts was arranged. Our campers took a trip to the Harlem Grown garden yesterday to kick off this camp exchange (the Harlem Grown campers and counselors will visit us next week). The Harlem Grown campers were wonderful hosts –teaching us about their compost system, explaining which veggies were ripe and how to pick them, even sending each Butter Beans camper home with a bag of basil.
Today, back at camp headquarters we enjoyed a mouth-watering Family Friday Potluck meal of spring rolls using the abundance of veggies that Harlem Grown sent us home with. We are so excited to host our new friends next week for lunch at camp headquarters!
Before each meal together at camp, our campers and counselors give thanks to the farmers and the chefs who helped make their food possible. It is with mindfulness of our food and gratitude for the inspiring individuals who grow it that we can build a healthy food system – one that supports nourished bodies, an ecologically-sound environment, and a positive community.