Kale Chips – from Seed to Plate

Willard concocting the

Willard concocting the “Hot Chip” spices

Students harvested kale this week from the seed they planted in the fall. Three teams created three recipes: Indian Spice (Miranda and Robbie) , Barbecue (Cheyenne and Daniel), and  Hot chips (Willard and Arthur). Visiting Community-Based Training students got to participate in a taste test. Even those who were not a fan of kale at the beginning gave it a try.

There were some concerns . . .

Not so sure about kale chips...

Not so sure about kale chips…

And some outright skepticism . . .

skeptics sm

Cheyenne serves up her “Indian Spice” recipe

But everyone tried it, and quite a few liked it.

Studies have shown that it is possible to acquire a taste for healthy food even if we are inclined to prefer cake to kale. Encouraging students to give new foods a try is a tried and true method of increasing acceptance. Next week the GET students will test the Indian Spice Kale Chips recipe in the Loften high school lunchroom.

We grow some beautiful kale in this region – at Loften, in school gardens, and on farms – and it is so nutrient-packed it’s considered a super-food. Familiarizing students with kale and its nutritional benefits is a step in increasing the health of the young people in our community while supporting a healthy, local food system.

Miranda's  barbeque spices

Miranda’s super-secret barbeque spice mix

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Instagarden

The students are taking the show on the road! Last week, they built a lovely raised bed herb garden behind the offices of Alachua County Food and Nutrition services. These herbs will be tried by young students in the Fresh Fruits and Vegetables program and also used as fodder for recipe testing by Chef Moss (whose portable is conveniently next door).

The work went so quickly with so many hands, and the students learned very quickly how to build the beds and space the plants. This will be a gift that keeps giving. They will soon be working with Florida Organic Growers to assist in constructing beds for their GIFT Garden program.

Cardboard was placed under the beds to tamp down weed growth.

Cardboard was placed under the beds to tamp down weed growth.

Bed-building was demonstrated by a local carpenter-volunteer.

Bed-building was demonstrated by a local carpenter-volunteer.

et voila!

et voila!

The AMT company (Arthur, Matt and Tudorell) continue to rise to every horticultural challenge.

The AMT company (Arthur, Matt and Tudorell) continue to rise to every horticultural challenge.

volunteers - finishing touches

Only one bed remained to be planted after the school day was over. Thanks to our wonderful staff for finishing it up!

Help us keep growing as the weather heats up

Our greenhouses have come a long way since August!

Before

Before.

After.

After.

before 3

Before.

10.29a

After.

Electrical system revamped – check. Evaporative cooing system installed – check. NFT tables producing – check (150 heads of lettuce a week!). Hours and hours of cleaning, sorting, hauling, installing, and caring by students and volunteers – check. Several large donations to kickstart the how thing – YES! (Thanks to the Patty Shively Foundation, Keep Alachua County Beautiful, and Dr. Kim Kazimour who got the whole thing moving forward.)

Now we need one last thing to outfit this system for the long haul: louvers to help control the temperature and protect the evaporative cooling system.

These are pricey, but they’re necessary additions in order for the greenhouse to function optimally during changes in weather. If you can help, please visit our site on Alachua County’s “Find It Fund It” page to make a donation. We are almost there (thanks to you).

These. Ten of them.