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Thank you!

19 Aug

3qNfPt0rJP3RKzc50poFB_F7PeNYaweSJOvp49tJcHg (1)A big thank you goes out to all of our families that participated this summer in our food & garden summer camp!

From beekeeping, chocolate tasting, watering, composting, cheese making, cooking, gardening, farmers market shopping, yoga practicing, playing, chicken holding, jam making, urban farming, ice cream tasting and kimchi making, our campers had the time of their life!

Our favorite quote of this summer was from a mom who posted on our facebook page. Her quote sums up the impact that our camp has on our campers, hopefully for years to come!

“My son tells us this has been the best six weeks of camp he’s ever had. He’ll be sad when camp ends today! He has loved the counselors, the cooking, the gardening and the fantastic field trips. Butter Beans has been a truly enriching experience for him. At home we’ve been amazed to hear about what he’s done each day. We so enjoy reaping the benefits of his supercharged love of cooking and his real awareness of what good healthy food is and where it comes from. Best of all, he’s really absorbed what it means to be eco-conscious! Wow!”

Here’s to next summer, filled with food, gardening and fun!

summer camp fun – week 5!

9 Aug

pcyZLPP30iv7yT_G0jO75yyqEHjifw6_TJkyJwAej_kWe kicked off our third and final session of the summer with eleven new campers this week! Despite the threat of rain on several occasions, our team of Butter Beans purple + yellow managed to stay dry, eat well, and learn a ton of exciting new things!

After a short introduction, our campers traveled to the South Brooklyn Children’s Garden for an afternoon of hands on activities. It was great to be at a garden designed for kids, and the campers felt right at home among the plants. We spent some time bonding in the playground before heading back to wrap up our first afternoon.

photo11On Tuesday our campers had their first full day in the kitchen! After planting our own seeds, everyone was hungry for a Lasagna Cupcake lunch! Served with homemade garlic bread and salad, it was like being in Little Italy! To celebrate the perfect August day, we spent the afternoon outdoors enjoying the sunshine.

Wednesday brought gloomy skies, and rather than risk being stuck in the rain we decided to hang back at camp and do some more cooking! We traveled to the Union Square Farmers Market in the morning, and returned to camp to make a wholesome lunch of Tomato Soup and Panzanella Salad. We used our leftover garlic bread from the day before, which added great flavor and helped us clean out the fridge. After lunch, we ventured to Brooklyn for a visit at NuNu Chocolates. We learned about how chocolate was actually used as currency in the olden days, and we each got to dip our own graham crackers in the melted goodness. Yum!

IMG_7139We love to make ice cream at camp, and on Thursday we visited Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Co. to learn about non-dairy ice cream from the pros. We made healthy sundaes with banana, strawberry, and mango ‘ice cream’, which was a great way to fuel up for our next adventure to East New York Farms. They are experts at bee keeping, and at the farm we got to taste honey straight from the hive, try on some bee suits, and learn about the art of keeping bees in the city. The honey was fresh and sweet, and everyone walked away with a little more appreciation for our black and white stripped friends.

3qNfPt0rJP3RKzc50poFB_F7PeNYaweSJOvp49tJcHgFriday brought another edition of Top Chef! This week, our campers worked together to make a Taco Fiesta, including homemade guacamole, salsa, and tortillas! These definitely weren’t your average tacos. Following lunch, Ingrid was back for another afternoon of yoga. It was a nice way to relax on such a dreary day, and a great way to welcome the weekend. We finished off the afternoon with a special dessert and movie.

It’s hard to believe that next week will be the last week of the summer! After months of anticipation and planning, it seems like the end came much too quickly. I couldn’t ask for a better group of campers to help close out the summer, and I am looking forward to a final week packed with food, farming, and fun!

summer camp fun – week 4!

2 Aug

It’s hard to believe that the second session of camp is already coming to an end!

Although it seems like the summer just started, we are about to say goodbye to our second session of campers. We’ve had a full house these past two weeks, filled with nutritious and delicious meals, dirt under our fingernails fun, and special guest visitors!

972303_554881394570800_400131587_nMonday, our fearless group travelled to Randall’s Island for a day at the Urban Farm and Children’s Garden. It was a beautiful day to be outside, explore the gardens, make some tzatziki with fresh vegetables, and hold the chickens!

On Tuesday, the campers got back to basics in the morning with homemade cornbread muffins and fresh butter. The homemade butter was especially delicious, and came in handy later in the week. In the afternoon, everyone traveled to Central Park to try their hand at fishing! Although no one caught anything, it was nice afternoon to be in park and explore nature.

73113_555694267822846_1862476614_nWednesday was a jam packed [pun intended!] day at camp. We took a trip to the farmers market in the morning to buy ingredients for our jam lesson in the afternoon, as well as fresh produce for our gazpacho and grilled cheese lunch. The infamous Beth from Beth’s Farmhouse Kitchen came by in the afternoon to lead our campers in a jam making lesson. We made fresh blueberry and nectarine/plum/peach jam; I hope the campers shared their jars with everyone at home!

971561_556150907777182_1316877857_n (1)Thursday we were back in the kitchen making a Middle Eastern themed lunch of baked falafels and tabbouleh. We also continued our exploration of composting with our very own worms! They are working their magic in our homemade compost buckets and we should have beautiful soil in no time. Looking at a figure full of leftovers, we also decided to repurpose some of our extra cornbread into Leftover Cornbread Bread Pudding. It’s always fun to try and use leftover or ingredients in new ways, and the sweet cornbread dessert was a hit!

6xQ9Ug0jqfjdHp9-E8uAV8iYhs7D56tdyDCtIepCDvwFor our last day of camp, we hit the farmers market for another edition of Top Chef Friday. As you can imagine, homemade pizzas were a big hit and it was awesome to make the whole thing – dough, sauce, and toppings – from scratch! With full bellies, we capped off our second session with yoga and a special graduation ceremony for all our budding young chefs!

I am sad to see another incredible group of campers go, but I am looking forward to what the next, and last, session of the summer has in store. If these next two weeks are anything like the last four, I can confidently say that I have had one of the best summers to date. Whether in the kitchen, at the farm, or just hanging out at camp it’s been a pleasure to share these last two weeks with all our amazing campers, and I don’t want to the summer to end!

summer camp fun – week 3!

26 Jul

It’s hard to believe another week has come and gone so fast!

IMG_2300Our second session is already half way over, and our campers have had a great week exploring local parks and gardens, learning about chocolate making, and as always flexing their culinary muscles.

On Monday, we welcomed fifteen new campers to the Butter Beans crew. After a brief orientation at camp HQ, our group headed to Feedback Farms to learn about urban farming. They were very excited about seeing bees and honey, as well as composting, planting, weeding, and other farm activities all on a city block.

1002484_552037461521860_1179957759_nTuesday we explored food from around the world, with a focus on Thailand. After a delicious tropical fruit salad snack and seed planting, the campers worked together to create a Vegetable Pad Thai lunch. Everyone agreed it was exceptionally delicious.

On Wednesday, our campers had the chance to get familiar with their sweet tooth. We made fresh mango ice cream before heading to the park in the morning. It was nice to have some free time to enjoy the significantly less hot sunshine. After a picnic lunch, our campers traveled to Fine & Raw Chocolate where they learned about the art of chocolate making. They were amazed at how different the chocolate tasted than a classic Hershey’s bar, and everyone went home with a small bar of their choice [Vanilla seemed to be the camp favorite].

On Thursday we got our hands dirty with a day full of compost fun. We started the morning with our camp version of ‘Bugs in Dirt’ pudding; a healthier twist on a classic kids snack. We followed up our snack with a fun art project, experimenting with the different textures and shapes that stamps created from food can make. For lunch, our campers made Green Rice Bowls with Sesame Sweet Potatoes, and it was wonderful to see them eating such a satisfying veggie-filled meal!

76364_553079324751007_96972723_nWe finished off the week with another Friday edition of Top Chef – Summer Rolls. It was fun to see how colorful the rolls turned out through the clear rice paper, and we even experimented with a sweet version of this traditionally savory dish. Our friends at Brooklyn Strength stopped by for another great yoga class, the perfect way to end a busy week!

Today marks the halfway point of the summer, and it’s incredible how time flies!

Over the last three weeks, I have watched over forty campers experience and learn about food in a whole new way. It’s powerful to hear the campers talk about something new they learned or tasted every day. It’s a wonderful journey to be a part of, and I am anxious to see what the next half of the summer will bring!

summer camp fun – week 2!

19 Jul

QjMCMkuZMbe2nkPntwhLKCHRThuGXQW8OMiIULIqojYThe second week of our first camp session is drawing to a close, and I can’t believe all the amazing things our campers have done over these past two weeks!

Despite the heat wave, our campers had a week of fun and adventures. Although we were disappointed not to be able to go on some of the trips we had planned, our days were full of delicious new recipes, art + garden activities, and a special heat wave treat!

ZzZGaQGrkLY46mIS4SKU6VIuvbBRnWMm538QH2DjfMcOn Monday, our campers braved the great outdoors for an interactive and fun trip to the Brooklyn Grange. There, our campers learned about bee pollination, harvesting vegetables, and a great song about compost which we put to good use later in the week. They also had the opportunity to create a delicious quinoa salad using fresh vegetables from the farm.

On Tuesday, we spent some time in the kitchen baking nutritious morning glory muffins. Everyone thought it was fun to see how good vegetables can taste in a muffin, and they were the perfect mid-morning snack before an afternoon at the movies! To escape the heat, everyone made a special trip to the theater for a showing of Despicable Me 2. It was a nice way to eas into the hot week ahead.

LwFvmI9yb3tw0hsFa-GhAYVma1C2D7czP-EW0trrWwoWednesday was a very exciting day at camp. After a few long days of anticipation, our campers traveled to Ample Hill Ice Cream where they learned about the ice cream making process, and then made their own vanilla ice cream on a bicycle! It was a big hit among the campers, and everyone was very excited to finally taste what they had churned. The campers returned ready for some nourishing food, and worked together to make tomato, mozzarella + pesto sandwiches. We rounded out the afternoon by making our own play dough and dying it using different foods! We had blueberries for purple/blue, pureed kale for green, and ketchup for red/orange.

Thursday we started the day with sparkling fruit sangria [don’t worry… it was kid friendly!]. White grape juice, seltzer, peaches, grapes, and nectarines made a refreshing drink before our morning art project. For lunch, we worked hard to make veggie hand pies + mashed potatoes. The campers even made the dough from scratch, and they were delicious. During lunch I even overheard one camper exclaim ‘This is the best thing I have ever tasted!’ Needless to say we have some budding young chefs among us.

N0ETonHm7MuIo0sQVWs8VS9wLFaPlylyzkRnqeo5MXcAs a Friday treat, we made another round of popsicles [blueberry + ‘coconut cream’] in the morning before heading the Union Square Farmers Market for another edition of Top Chef – Grain Salad! Each group bought three different color vegetables, 1 herb, and 1 type of salad green to mix with their quinoa, couscous, or brown rice. It was the perfect lunch for such a steamy day. We finished off the week with a relaxing yoga class. As our first session drew to a close we presented our Food + Garden experts with their very own cookbooks, a graduation certificate, and a golden spatula to symbolize their time with Butter Beans.