Striped Roots and Winter Boots

Striped Roots. . .

November’s Farm Fresh Food Day featured 4 different root vegetables grown on 3 local farms:

Hakurei Turnips and Watermelon Radishes from Capella Farm

Chioggia Beets and Hakurei Turnips from Tantre Farm

Napoli Carrots from Seeley Farm

Here’s what they looked like at Mill Creek:

Check out those beautiful striped beets, colorful carrots and watermelon radishes and sweet turnips!

Check out those beautiful striped beets, colorful carrots and watermelon radishes and sweet turnips!

Our Farm to School Coordinator and gracious volunteers worked with Dexter Food and Nutrition staff at Mill Creek Middle School and Dexter High School to prepare a Shaved and Marinated Root Vegetable Salad with these fall delights!  (download the recipe on our NEW recipe page!)

Students at Mill Creek gave their feedback by voting “Thumbs Up” or “Thumbs Down”.  Their results were 69 Thumbs Up and 3 Thumbs Down – a clear thumbs-up overall to the locally grown fresh root vegetables.

Students at Mill Creek providing their feedback on the samples.

Students at Mill Creek providing their feedback on the samples.

At DHS, students were asked to fill out a short survey that provided more details on their opinions of the different samples provided.  Here’s a chart of students’ and teachers’ answers to the survey:

Feedback from students and teachers shows that the salad, napoli carrot, and watermelon radish were most likely to be eaten again.

Feedback from students and teachers shows that the salad, napoli carrot, and watermelon radish were most likely to be eaten again.

A few teachers and paraprofessionals came by our table, as well, to try a sample and express their support, including Angie Scott, a DHS Health Teacher who has discussed local foods and food systems issues with her students.  We hope to engage with her and more teachers at DHS who are interested in enriching their curriculum with connections to local agriculture.

Winter Boots. . .

A few of our most dedicated volunteers bundled up and came out to clean and put the gardens to rest for winter.  At the DHS Garden Work Day, the sun graciously peeked through the clouds while we pulled out the remaining crops, and did some MUCH needed soil amendment.

Heidi and her daughter Sara spread leaves and compost at the Sullivan Memorial Learning Garden.

Heidi and her daughter Sara spread leaves and compost at the Sullivan Memorial Learning Garden.

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Lori, garden founder, pulls out strawberry plants, while Laurel, school garden coordinator, spreads compost.

Additional tools for the Sullivan Memorial Learning Garden at DHS were donated by Hackney Hardware and the Dexter Mill.  THANK YOU to these wonderful local businesses for your support!

Temperatures dropped and unfortunately froze the soil before we got into the Creekside Garden to get it ready for winter.  But with some hot chocolate to keep us going and strong garden forks, we prevailed!  The Creekside garden beds are clean and have been replenished with compost and leaves that will breakdown under the snow and aid soil content and texture for spring plantings.  The best news we learned from the day had to do with the compost.  This spring, garden volunteers implemented a three-pile composting system using tarps to increase temperatures in the piles.

Tarps cover the compost piles, helping expedite the breakdown of organic materials, turning them into beautiful soil for our garden!

Tarps now cover three compost piles each at different stages of decomposition, helping expedite the breakdown of organic materials.

While turning the piles this November, we found a large amount of usable soil for the garden!  This means, that the composting system is working, and that the garden is becoming more self-sustaining!  YAY DIRT!  

THANK YOU to all the volunteers who’ve been supporting our efforts this year!

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