October 2011


As I type this, I can hear the gentle chords of Neil Young’s Harvest Moon playing in the background filling me up with fond memories of a night that just passed us by.  The Harvest Moon Celebration, Garden School Foundation’s annual fundraiser, was this last Saturday.

The night took on a life of its own as guests arrived for the evening festivities. We had converted The Barn Studio, GSF’s Headquarters, parking lot into a space of beauty and class. Overhead hung hundreds of twinkling lights, flowers and gourds danced between the divine hors d’oeurves from Real Food Daily and Andrew’s Cheese Shop.

Chef Gino Campagna set up his cooking station where he created a feast of polenta and sausage followed by the most decadent pumpkin raviolis! The owner of The Gourmandise School of Sweets and Savories had donated her beautiful son’s baking talents to the evening. He had made the most incredible French Macarons that simply melted in your mouth.

Music by Fur Dixon and Steve Werner filled the pathways, making the cool evening warm with western-folk energy. Her voice made everything feel brighter.

The amount of generosity and love for the organization was overwhelming as people stepped into the Barn for the Silent Auction. There was a quiet rush for Karen Haas’ handmade jewelry, a not so quiet rush for tickets to Wicked, gorgeous dresses by Rachel Pally were bid on over and over again, and Maureen Selwood’s artwork was a dream.

The Live Auction was nothing less than lively! A couple in Tuscany (aka Westwood) called in to make a bid on famed Chef Travis Lett of Gjelina, cooking a private meal for 8 people in their own home. Original artwork by Nancy Goslee Power was actively sought after as was an in-home cooking class with Amelia Saltsman.

The night would not have been possible without the support of our amazing volunteers, friends, and local community! You made the night memorable and we thank you for that.

Advertisements

In the garden we are regularly left with pounds of food scraps to compost.  So when we discovered pickled watermelon rind our ears perked right up at the idea of another garden snack!  What a great lesson in resourcefulness for all of us!!

Pickled Watermelon Rind

 

Upon looking, it’s easy to see that there are many variation of this pickle recipe.  This recipe below is from Whole Foods and is quite tasty!!

Makes 2 pints

For this recipe, make sure that traces of the pink fruit are gone from the watermelon rind then cut away and discard the green peel, too. What you’re left with are chunks of thick, white rind that definitely don’t deserve to be thrown away. Use this pickle as a condiment on sandwiches or serve as you would a chutney with grilled meats.

Ingredients

2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar or honey
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon whole cloves
4 small, dried chiles
4 wide strips lemon peel
1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 1/2 pounds peeled watermelon rind, cut into (1/3-inch) chunks (about 5 cups)

Method

Put vinegar, water, sugar or honey, salt, cloves, chiles, lemon peel and ginger into a medium pot and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Add rind, reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer until rind is tender and translucent, 8 to 10 minutes.

Spoon contents of pot (with pickling liquid) into glass jars, seal tightly and chill overnight. Serve right away or store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Workdays at the 24th St Garden are some of the best days. True, there are tons of extra hands, so we can get a lot of gardening work done. But more importantly, they’re a great chance for us to connect with the broader community — to meet parents and show them what we do, to bring friends and family and curious strangers in to the garden and, well, show them what we do, too. We build relationships during workdays that are invaluable to the success of our program.

We recently had such a workday.

Parents and volunteers came in to help and watch. Here, you can see students planting fava beans, one of our favorite cover crops, as the grown-ups look on.

Of course, we also pulled boatloads of weeds from the circle garden and pounds of grass from the kitchen garden. We yanked out dead sunflowers and summer crops, and whatever else was passed its prime. And then, things got exciting.

Paula White of Organic Control donated hordes of beneficial insects for the garden.

We released fleets of ladybugs onto our brassicas and strawberries (to control aphids):

                   

which we later investigate closely with magnifying glasses:

We also released worms into a bed we’re amending. They’ll help replenish and aerate the soil:

              

And we set free some snails which eat the snails that eat our plants.

Despite the addition of all these carnivorous insects into the garden (it’s for the protection of the plants! Honest!) we do strive to make our space one of community. We want people from all walks of life to feel acceptance and belonging in the garden. The workdays are a chance to demonstrate that desire, and for people to come in and feel it for themselves. And it seems to be working. This grasshopper, for example, has made herself right at home, as we hope other insects and people will continue to. That’s how we know we’re doing something right.