The Blizzard of 2016 – Gainesville, Florida


There was a tremendous amount of excitement in Gainesville as the first snowstorm of the century rolled through Gainesville, blanketing us with . . . elation. It was snowing! It really was!


Snow in Gainesville!

Fortunately, we have mainly cold weather crops in the ground at this point so little damage was done. But so many people in Gainesville were excited about their banana trees after such a warm winter. Wham! We  have had a lot of weather this month – too hot, too cold, and too wet.

But what are we complaining about??

the rest of the country

The rest of the country


Kale Salad – Farm to School Style

Here is the recipe for the kale salad elementary school students helped make for a snack during their field trip to the Farm to School Hub. It was delicious!


1 bunch of kale
1 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil, plus a little extra for drizzling
2 teaspoons honey
1 mango
Small handful of sunflower seed (approximately 2 rounded tablespoons)


a. Remove stalks and tear kale into bite-sized pieces.

a remove the leaves from the stem

b. Juice the lemon.

add a lemon

c. Add half the lemon juice, a drizzle of oil, and a little salt to kale. Massage until kale wilts – about 2-3 minutes. You will notice how much the kale shrinks in size. It also become much more tender. Set aside while you make the dressing.

massage or dress

massage the kale

d. In a small bowl, which together the rest of the lemon juice with honey. Stream in the 1/4 cup of oil while whisking. Watch a dressing form!

e. Pour the dressing over the kale, and add the mango and sunflower seeds.  Toss and serve.

add sunflower seeds


Thanks to the Family Nutrition Program (UF/IFAS) for the great recipe – and for Robbie the Nutrition Educator!

Per serving: Calories 269; Total Fat 17 grams; Saturated Fat 2.5 grams; Total Carbohydrate 28 grams; Sugar 14 grams; Fiber 4 grams; Cholesterol 0; Sodium 170 milligrams



Field Trip!

field trip view

We hosted our first field trip today – a lovely class of third-graders from Norton Elementary School. The students were divided into four groups that rotated through different stations. Our student leaders were partnered with a staff member or community volunteer to teach the students about our garden.

and cabbage

Scavenger Hunt – They found cabbage!

compost station

Compost Station – They learned about different types of compost bins and what goes in them.

antonio demonstrates seed sowing

Student Leader Simon demonstrated seed sowing.

Ms. Turcotte reads to students

UF Librarian Flo Turcotte read a story (and gave them an inside break from the cold).

Adrian reads to students 2

Student Leader Adrian reads a story about starting a garden.

We finished up with a student-made kale salad (recipe later this week). It was a great start to our field trip program and an opportunity to involve even more Alachua County students in hands-on learning (and eating) at the Farm to School Hub.

We’re on!

KYV - first lettuce 1.6 cropped

Francisco of KYV Farm in neighboring St. John’s County

We have lettuce! What a terrible season for lettuce El Nino brought  us. Way too warm and wet for it, whether growing at the Hub, in school gardens or on local farms. But FINALLY, after months of waiting and hoping, the first local lettuce was delivered to the Hub. Students packed it today, and it goes out tomorrow to 23 local elementary schools. Whoo.

In December, right before the break, we were able to gift the students with some juicy, sweet Satsumas from Wayde Alford’s citrus groves.

Here he is meeting with the students – a Real Farmer!

Wayde Alford with citrus

Wayde Alford with citrus

And here they are packing the satsumas:

Students packing and labeling satsumas for delivery

Students packing and labeling satsumas for delivery

And here is our driver taking the oranges to the schools:

marcus with satsumas 12.10

It’s been a very slow start, but the students are learning both the challenges and the rewards of farming. It takes a lot of good work from a number of people (and some weather cooperation) to make this happen. but it’s happening.