swiss chard slaw

Posted by on Jul 22, 2015 in after school, cooking classes, cooking with kids, families, healthy food, local food, nutrition, raising children, Recipes, summer camp | 0 comments

IMG_1462With so much summer produce growing at this time of year, Butter Beans campers have been busy transforming produce into spectacular dishes.

One dish that we wanted to highlight was our swiss chard slaw that was a big hit!

We recently received a glowing review of our camp experience from the viewpoint of a parent that we just had to share, “Lulu had a pretty good repertoire to begin with, but this class has definitely taught her to enjoy more foods outside her comfort zone, and this past weekend she made pesto and pasta almost on her own!”

IMG_8543Our campers summer cooking & gardening experiences show us all that children can adapt their palates to fresh and nutritious foods as long as they have the right ingredients: supportive and enthusiastic educators, a safe environment, experiential learning opportunities, encouraging parents, and a fun atmosphere all shared amongst their peers.

We highly recommend trying this recipe with your children at home. Put on some good music, aprons and have fun together cooking and trying new foods!

Prep Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 15 minutes
Serves 8


  • 1 bunch swiss chard, leaves
  • 1 small head red cabbage, or ½ head large cabbage
  • 2 pears
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 small orange, juiced
  • ¼ c olive oil
  • salt + pepper to taste
1. Slice swiss chard leaves into short, thin strips. Thinly slice cabbage and cut pear into short, thin matchstick pieces.
2. Combine chard, cabbage, carrot, and pear in large mixing bowl.
3. Mix orange juice with garlic, and olive oil. Season with salt + pepper, adjusted to your taste preference.
4. Toss dressing with veggies. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate.
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whole food explorers

Posted by on Jun 5, 2015 in after school, cooking classes, cooking with kids, exercise, families, healthy food, healthy lifestyle, local food, news and happenings, nutrition, raising children, Recipes, seasonal, seasonal food of the month, wellness | 0 comments

IMG_2754This past week we had the pleasure of hosting a kids food exploration class at Whole Foods – Upper West Side in celebration of National Fruits & Vegetables Month.

Our class consisted of a melange of using our 5 senses to experience these new and unusual foods, along with stretching our bodies as we learned about the important nutrients present in these delicacies.

We were truly impressed at not only the turnout that we received, but also how enthusiastic and open minded our food explorers were!

On the menu we explored these tasty recipes:

  • ramp butter
  • pickled and blanched fiddlehead ferns
  • santa claus melon & basil soup

Our brave food explorers mixed together freshly chopped ramps, lemon juice, salt & pepper, and whipped it all up into a delectable spread for their fresh pieces of bread. Boy, was that butter a favorite!

FullSizeRender-2Then they ventured onto the fiddlehead ferns, unfurling their leaves and learning that they can grow 6 feet tall! Tasting it blanched, then pickled our explorers shared their observations of the different preparations on their food explorer handouts. 

Lastly, we ended our food adventures with a chilled melon basil soup made from santa claus melon – named that way since it’s usually the go-to melon available during christmas time. They couldn’t get enough! 

We are ever grateful for our friends at Whole Foods UWS for inviting us to excite and expand the palates of our participants in celebration of National Fresh Fruits & Vegetables Month!

Stay tuned for more food adventures to come!

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kale food scientists

Posted by on Mar 19, 2015 in agriculture, gardens, healthy food, lunch time, nutrition, raising children, school food | 0 comments










I had the recent pleasure of hosting a kale tasting with 2, 3, and 4 year olds at a wonderful daycare that we provide lunch service to.

I purposefully chose a specific day of the week based on the meal that we were serving, with the goal of encouraging the students to expand their ever-growing palates. Kale was being served, so I chose that day!

Starting with a group of 2 year olds, I sat down with them at their lunch table and walked them through the journey of how kale grows from the ground up. We then learned about the different vitamins present in kale and how they benefit our bodies. While much of what I was saying didn’t seem to resonate with them, I knew that once we started tasting they would get much more excited!

The tasting consisted of sample cups filled with kale chips, sautéed kale (that was on the lunch menu), and raw kale. I brought in some dinosaur kale for them to try, and we pondered why it was called that! One student even said that it looked like cabbage!

The 2s all liked the chips better, but overall weren’t super enthused about kale.

Working with the 3s and 4s was a very different experience. They all knew what kale was, and even boasted their gardening expertise amongst their group, especially when it came to kale. They shared stories of how their parents put kale in their smoothies, and how they love working in the garden.

How inspiring!

Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 9.45.34 AMAfter sharing with them the journey of kale from seed to plate, and why it’s good for our bodies, we went on to taste the kale as “food scientists.” Their eyes lit up – “scientists?!” yay!

We first tasted the chips, which students exclaimed was “crinkly,” “crispy,” and my all time favorite “bumpity.” One student even said that it tasted like seaweed.

After tasting the sautéed kale, some said it was “juicy” and “watery.” Then we tasted the raw kale, which not many students liked and reflected on it with words like “bumpy” and “sour.”

Not one of the students didn’t try the kale, since they were all trying it as a team, and even more so as “food scientists” – tasting the kale was a no-brainer for this group.

After telling them that I thought they were brave, they all smiled (with kale in their teeth) and thanked me for coming in to visit. I left them with a fun kale coloring page for them to get creative with.

It was an inspiring way to spend the afternoon, and look forward to hosting more tastings in the future!

Written by Flora McKay, Director of Community & Nutrition

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Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program

Posted by on Jan 14, 2015 in agriculture, families, Food & Farm program, gardens, healthy food, healthy lifestyle, local food, news and happenings, nutrition, raising children, seasonal, sustainability, wellness | 0 comments

10435790_748823861843218_5593928974486830278_nA new approach to healthy weight loss has become very hot. One could even argue, downright “trendsetting.”

Prescribing fruits and vegetables has become a surprising new perspective on the traditional approach to medicine—pills. With the obesity epidemic on the rise, it is inevitable that now is the time for new solutions. 

An innovative non-profit organization called Wholesome Wave has created the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program, or for short, FVRx.

Rather than leaning on western medicine and supplements to combat weight issues, doctors now urge patients to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables—as prescribed. The program is currently underway at two New York Public hospitals—Harlem Hospital in Manhattan and Lincoln Medical Center in the Bronx. Through a two year 500,000 grant from the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, the hospitals were able to test the program on 550 children and their families. Later expanding to the Elmhurst hospital in Queens and Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan, which offered the program to 650 more qualified participants.

The FVRx program includes Nutrition Education, healthy recipes, and something called ‘Health Bucks’. Participants who qualify for the program get tokens. New York and Boston residents get Health Bucks instead, similar to Food Stamps, but are only redeemable for produce at local farmer’s markets. 

Results have proven the program to be effective. After four months 40% of participating children lowered their B.M.I’s (fat composition in their body) and 90% of families had shopped at farmers markets weekly, or several times a month. 

6A 10-year-old girl, Alaijah who was significantly overweight lost 5 pounds in the first year of the program and 8 more pounds the second year just by snacking on fruits and vegetables. Her mother comments, “now Alaijah carries fruits or cut-up vegetables to school. She likes raw carrots, celery and broccoli.” 

This success story is not a stand-alone. Further results show that 97% of children and 96% of their families now ate more fruits and vegetables after being part of the FVRx.

This program touches on two very important factors: food availability and food sustainability. Not only does it provide fresh produce to poor areas—known as food deserts—but it also supports farmers and locally grown foods. The increase in purchases at farmer’s markets has resulted in a 37% increase in the average income for farmers. This has helped to increase their farmland in production and to invest more in farm operations.

Most importantly, implementing FVRx has provided an opportunity for children to interact with the farmers and ask questions, learning about how things are grown and what is in season. 

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let’s hear it for the moms in our life!

Posted by on May 7, 2014 in families, Food & Farm program, giving, healthy food, healthy lifestyle, home remedies, local food, news and happenings, raising children, seasonal, seasonal celebrations, wellness | 0 comments

photo (61)This weekend is a celebration of all the mothers out there.

A HUGE thank you goes out to you, and all that you do to make this world a better place!

Your love, dedication, strength, and laughter inspires, nurtures, and helps us grow into the best versions of ourselves.

To celebrate here is a list of fun food and wellness related gifts to consider, featuring our favorite camp partners:

  • Bring her to your local farmers market, and pick up some fresh seasonal flowers, herbs for an herb bouquet or windowsill garden, and ingredients to make a delectable spring meal together (pansies and marigolds for a mother’s day salad?)
  • Pick up some Essence of Vali essential oils made right here in NYC
  • You can never go wrong with Nunu Chocolates
  • Take her out to brunch at Egg 
  • What about a rooftop farm yoga class at sunset with Brooklyn Grange
  • She would love gluten/dairy free, certified organic, enzyme rich treats from Sweet By Jana
  • Book a cheese class with the Bedford Cheese Shop
  • Indulge in handcrafted Ample Hills ice cream, then have a picnic in Prospect Park
  • Get your fermentation and happy gut flora on with Mother In Law’s Kimchi
  • Enjoy Beth’s Farm Kitchen preserves for a homemade breakfast in bed

Whichever way you chose to celebrate the moms in your life, make it a memorable one!

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It all starts with one small seed

Posted by on Apr 23, 2014 in agriculture, cooking classes, cooking with kids, families, gardens, healthy food, healthy lifestyle, local food, raising children, summer camp, wellness | 0 comments

IMG_3600Why do we love our camp so much?

Because we believe that food education is a vital tool to inspire our future leaders to nourish and care for our food systems, and the wellbeing of our communities.

If you read our blog, you most likely agree!

Now in its fourth summer, our camp offers children the unique opportunity to explore food (in the middle of New York City) through gardening, specialized workshops, field trips, cooking, tasting, and mindful eating.

By examining the food cycle, campers develop a deeper appreciation for the food that fuels them throughout their day, while learning about the interconnectedness that our environment and communities play in creating our food choices.

We visit a variety of our “Partners in the Field” to create a hands-on experiential learning environment in which campers uncover the intricacies of food. They get to learn alongside foodies, chefs, gardeners, food writers, musicians, nutritionists, and farmers in a fun and meaningful way.

A recipe for a magical summer!

We’re hosting an Open House on May 7th from 3:15-5:15pm to tour our camp headquarters, connect with Kelly, our Camp Director, and get a taste of our unique camp experience. Come join us!

It all starts with one small seed.

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