Specials' Update: Gardening with Lucille

Lucille Berrones
Check out this week's Specials' Update!
What’s Growing
Seedlings of carrots, radishes, beets, spinach, dill, cilantro and peas; as well as broccoli, cauliflower, and calendula flowers. New growth on recently harvested leafy greens.

Ready to Harvest
Various greens from each class bed: bok choy, tatsoi, collards, kale and herbs such as chives, lavender, sage, rosemary, and parsley. Parents can volunteer to make something for their child’s class to sample during their lunch. On the day that is best for your family, your child can harvest, bring home produce, and cook for the following day’s lunch. I can provide you with a recipe if needed. Herbal tea is always a popular and easy idea. Please contact Lucille at l.berrones@headwaters.org if you’re interested. 

Coming Up
  • Parents are welcome to volunteer on Tuesdays in various ways in the garden or to prep for class activities. Please contact Nichole Been, PVC Gardening, at happinikbeen@gmail.com. A big thanks to the helping hands that brought in the mulch from the parking lot last month, it made the work fun and fast!
  • Upper Elementary Students will organize a food drive for the Central Texas Food Bank, beginning Monday November 18.  Look for more information in the Creek’s Weekly Update. 
All Ages
Transplants have settled in, and students now know the basics of keeping a garden going. Once plants go in, students learn the importance of amending the soil and feeding the plants regularly. We use worm castings, continue to add compost around the plants, and water with horticultural molasses, a favorite for the microbial life of the soil. It really sweetens the vegetables’ flavor. Pest control also becomes quickly a loved job. Students have focused primarily on snails and slugs, who seem to move in first. They can live in a garden and reproduce for years, waiting for the right conditions to get to work on our produce!

Each class discussed favorite colorful fruits and vegetables, what it means to eat a rainbow of produce, and why they do it. Students took home a food diary for the day to write the produce and the colors they ate. Some shared them with the class. Students discovered different ways to eat favorite common produce. 

We had an early bounty of greens and herbs in each bed such that classes had a sensory eating activity made primarily from their grown produce. Tastings are full class experiences. We take time to slowly smell, chew, and reflect on not just the taste but texture, smells, and memories that foods can bring up as we are eating. It is an opportunity for them to reflect on their preferred and not preferred tastes (sour, sweet, pungent, salty, aromatic, bitter, etc.), and how they might change a recipe more to their liking. They also learned that preferred tastes change over our lifetime, so it’s always worth trying something that in the past was not to their liking. Students learned why each ingredient has a part to play in their tasting (oil and acidity from lemon juice in pesto and salad dressing help bind the flavors and other ingredients through emulsifying; the freshness of produce dramatically improves and sharpens its taste and nutrition value; touches of sweet orange pairs well with pungent asian greens). Classes tasted: All K1’s - Basil Pesto with colorful crudités; Kingfishers - Tatsoi Arugula Citrus Salad; Meadowlarks - Tangy Mustard Greens Pesto; Owls - Kale Salad with Dijon Citrus Dressing; Thunderbirds - Kale Pesto with colorful crudités; Phoenixes - Kale Pesto with colorful crudités. 

Some of my favorite quotes from students include: 
Kingfishers (Tatsoi Arugula Citrus Salad): “Every bite changed, it was moist, sweet and sour,” and “Every bite makes me want more!”
Meadowlarks (Tangy Mustard Greens Pesto): “Tangy but sweet, with a great aftertaste,” and “I would take out the walnuts and add avocado instead.”
Thunderbirds (Kale Pesto with colorful crudités): “It was like an explosion of tastes, changing with each bite!”
Doves (Basil Pesto with colorful crudités): “I love the smell of basil, it reminds me of an apple.”
Swifts (Basil Pesto with colorful crudités): Countless extra hugs and smiles! 
 
Many students requested recipes, which I’m including here. I can only count on one hand the number of children who just chose to smell not taste (I do ask them to take at least a small sample to feel and smell, even try putting on their tongue). I encourage you to try them at home! 

TATSOI-CITRUS SALAD
Ingredients
  • Mix of fresh Tatsoi, arugula, and swiss chard
  • 6 citrus fruits, cut into peeled wedges 
  • 2 red bell pepper, diced into bite sized pieces
  • Red onion, thinly sliced (into ½ rings)
  • ½ cup roasted chopped almonds
  • A pinch of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
  • 1- 2 tablespoons honey
  • 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of half a lemon
Instructions
  1. Thinly slice the red onion and wash the slices under cold water (this allows some of the pungency to be washed off) and then dry them with a paper towel. 
  2. Dice red bell pepper into bite sized pieces.
  3. Wash greens under cold water and dry completely with kitchen towels or in a salad spinner. Tear leaves into bite size pieces. Add remaining ingredients on top of greens. 
  4. Make the dressing: Combine Dijon mustard, honey, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper in a small dish and whisk them all together until the liquids get emulsified to make a dressing. 

TANGY MUSTARD GREENS PESTO 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 2 bunches mixed mustard greens (trimmed and chopped) 
  • 1 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
  • 1 ½ cups extra virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. Toss pecans, pumpkin seeds into a bowl, and cover them by 2 inches with warm water. Allow them to soak for 4 to 6 hours, drain and rinse well. 
  2. Place soaked pecans, pumpkin seeds and garlic into your processor (or blender). Pulse 3 to 4 times until just combined. Toss in greens and sea salt and pulse for a few seconds.
  3. Turn on the food processor (or blender) and slowly drizzle olive oil into the nuts/seeds and greens until it forms a smooth and uniform paste. Put in mason jars, cap with additional olive oil (if you have any).

BASIL KALE PESTO
Ingredients
  • 4 cups torn kale (no stems) and basil, combined
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 to 1 cup raw walnuts
Instructions
  1. Pulse the kale and basil, olive oil, salt, garlic, and lemon juice in a food processor (or blender) until smooth.
  2. Add walnuts and pulse until they are ground to desired consistency (smooth to be used as a dip).
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Springs Campus

18 months to Pre-K
6305 Manchaca Rd.
Austin, TX 78745
Phone: 512-443-8843

Creek Campus

Elementary School
9607 Brodie Ln.
Austin, TX 78748
Phone: 512-804-2708
Fax: 512-628-4810

River Campus

Middle & High School
807 Rio Grande St.
Austin, TX 78701
Phone: 512-480-8142
Fax: 512-480-0278