Session Three of Butter Beans Food & Garden Summer Camp started off with a bang! We explored Parts of the Plant. Touching, eating, drinking, growing and harvesting each of the six parts of the plant, we learned what they do for the plants, the ecosystem, and for our bodies!
Both camps visited Union Square Farmers Market to shop for foods for the week, identify the many different parts of the plant that we eat, and talk with local farmers and artisan makers!
Our Brooklyn camp visited the rooftop, hydroponic, hyperlocal-greens producer, Gotham Greens on top of the Whole Foods in Gowanus for a lesson in local leaves! We got to taste homegrown varieties such as “Queens Crisp Gourmet,” “Tropicana Green Leaf,” and “Greenpoint Oak Leaf” while learning about how these varieties can be grown all year with the use of hydroponic greenhouses.
They expanded their knowledge of urban environmentalism at New York’s first solar-powered restaurant and market place, Habana Outpost, with a hyper-sustainable lesson on urban gardening and plants! For more information on Habana Outposts many pioneering green initiatives right here in Brooklyn, you can visit the “Green Facts Corner on their website.
We eat and drink things made from all the parts of the plant, but have you ever had flower tea made from Chrysanthemum petals? In continuing our “Parts of the Plant” theme, we were lucky enough to have make just that in a special visit from Chrysanthemum Rare Teas & Flowers.
At the Manhattan camp we kicked off our journey through the parts of the plant with the experts at City Growers and their full-fledged urban farm at the Brooklyn Grange in Long Island City. There we learned about all the natural processes that occur on a green roof farm with a hands-on lessons about where food comes from, plant science, composting, honey bees, and chickens.
The mission of City Growers is to connects urban communities with agriculture, food and environment through farm education and advocacy in order to foster a culture of health and sustainability. Learn more about their programs and mission here. You can also visit the Long Island City farm on Saturdays from 11am-3pm on their Family Farm Days!
Butter Beans Master Gardeners and Chef’s took all this knowledge to the the Corlears School rooftop garden which Butter Beans campers have been planting, harvesting, and tending all year!
Next they dove into the world of pasta-making with a visit to the Raffetto’s pasta shop, which has lovingly been making traditional Italian pasta in the village since 1906. What a treat! Pop-quiz: what part of the plant is pasta made from?
We make pasta from the flour of many plants, but most commonly, from the kernels, or hard, dry seeds of grass plants like wheat. Some other varieties are rice, oats, rye and millet, just to name a few!
Continuing our lesson of grasses we eat, we had a very special lesson in pretzel-making by our Assistant Camp Director, Giselle Madariaga, who is a culinary school graduate and pastry chef (and expert in all things baking!)
We are looking forward to all the exciting adventures of this final week of camp!
Stay tuned for more updates on our blog and social media @butter_beans on twitter and @butterbeanskitchen on instagram!
Happy Cooking and Gardening!
-The Butter Beans Team