Often, in seemingly season-less Southern California, it can be easy to overlook the fact that different types of fruits and vegetables thrive during different seasons. Even in our perpetually moderate climate, the concept of seasonality is important to keep in mind when it comes to planning your garden. Here at the 24th Street Elementary School when we ask our students, “What’s growing in our winter garden right now?” they unequivocally respond, “KALE!” and frequently can even identify the varieties that we have:
KALE! What is it good for? Absolutely everything!
In cooking class, the kids have been gathering around a blender to make their now famous Superfood Smoothie. Earlier this month, Chef Chris taught the 3rd graders how to write a recipe; a corollary to their science class curriculum on mixtures. Chef Chris had the students write down each ingredient and its amount and draw a picture of what should be done to it before entering the blender.
2 leaves kale
1 tbsp ground flax seed
1 cup berries (in this case, blueberries)
1 cup rice or almond milk
Kale, we learned, is one of the best foods for you, with more nutrients per calorie than most other foods. Once we added all the ingredients, the kids took turns blending using our exciting environmentally friendly bike blender. This interactive blender is a favorite among the kids, who love using their own energy to blend their smoothies. Each student took a turn as the others cheered them on: “Go Jamie, go Jamie, GO JAMIE!”
After the blending was done, the kids were full of smoothie and questions! “Where can I get kale?” was a common one, so we talked about the leafy greens section of farmers markets and supermarkets. When another student pointed out that they didn’t sell kale where he shopped, we talked about how other kinds of leafy green vegetables like spinach or chard could be a healthy substitute. “I’m going to tell my mom to make this for me at home!” exclaimed one student, while another wrote “I <3 Kale” in her notebook. Even one student, who didn’t like the smoothie, was convinced after trying a piece of raw kale…and then another, and another. Suddenly a huge group of children gathered, asking to try the raw kale, and they loved it! Whether it’s in a smoothie, a salad, or baked into chips with our solar oven, the kids are loving the kale from our wintry garden, and it loves them.