Fall officially begins this Monday, September 22 and the Dexter Farm to School team is ready to share this great season of harvests with Dexter students.
We have finally made it through the shoulder season of not quite summer, not quite autumn with the last harvest of cucumbers, string beans and cherry tomatoes. These beds have been cleared and are ready for some much needed compost and straw to prepare for the winter ahead.
We still have peppers, baby bok choi, carrots, Swiss chard, tomatillos, slicer tomatoes, basil, rutabaga, squash, kale, lettuce and pumpkins to enjoy with students. Many of these veggies will be harvested in the coming weeks before the first frost settles into the gardens.
So far this season we have harvested over 200 lbs of fresh vegetables from the school gardens at Creekside! Much of this produce was sold at our summer Farm Market at the Dexter Wellness Center to support the program. Beginning in late August, all of the veggies have been used for Dexter students. Some of the harvests have been processed and frozen for upcoming flex classes at Creekside, some was used for making salsa in the after school Garden Club at Creekside, some of it has been sold to Dexter Food and Nutrition for use in the cafeterias.
We are so excited to partner with Dexter Food and Nutrition to provide fresh, local produce to Dexter students. Since school began, Dexter cafeterias have offered many different varieties of Creekside produce for students. Wylie students have been able to sample fresh string beans, cherry tomatoes and cucumbers from the Creekside gardens. Creekside students have been able to sample radishes that were harvested by the Creekside After School Garden Club, and homemade pesto and salsa verde was prepared using basil, tomatillos and garlic. In addition to this all schools have received plums and nectarines from Lesser Farms and Orchard. Apples from Lesser and Frosty Apple will be offered soon. We can’t wait!
Meet the Farm to School Team:
Francie Wesorick has worked for the Dexter Farm to School program since June 2017. She loves the Dexter Farm to School program because it gets students outdoors, helps them to appreciate nature and to learn where food comes from. There’s lots of problem solving in gardening and cooking and always something new to learn.
Francie’s favorite vegetable to eat is roasted carrots and her favorite vegetable to grow is eggplant. Her favorite flower is the snapdragon.
Lisa Babe has been with the Farm to School Program since January of 2015. She loves to connect students to local produce and their community through Dexter cafeterias and gardening at Creekside.
She is very passionate about teaching students of all ages where food comes from and that healthy food is also delicious and good for the environment. She strongly believes that the benefits of the Farm to School Program promote positive mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. Lisa’s favorite vegetable is roasted broccoli rabe and she loves making homemade ratatouille for her family.
This is Kelly Parachek’s second year working with the program. She loves cooking and trying to grow new things in her garden. Kelly loves this program because she thinks it is important to teach kids how to work together and to grow their own food. She believes it is always exciting when kiddos get to try something new and find out that they actually like it! She is looking forward to another fantastic year in the gardens!
This is Kirsten Korff’s 22nd year of teaching. She has been with the garden program for all but 2 years since its beginning in 2013.
Kirsten thinks the best part of this program is seeing kids get excited about fresh food and learning how to use/cook with it. She believes many kids are not interested in trying new foods. However, as soon as they play a role in the harvesting and making of the food they are much more eager to try. Most of the time they find out they like something new. She also really enjoys cooking. If she was not teaching she would run her own food truck.