Wednesday, June 16, 2010

First Harvest: French Breakfast Radishes

This week marked the first harvest from the school's vegetable garden. These beautiful French Breakfast Radishes provided the first opportunity for children to take the harvest basket out to the garden and return with fresh vegetables. The pleasure of plucking them from the garden beds was more than sufficient to pre-dispose the children to a fondness for them (despite the peppery heat and astringency of this relative of turnips and horseradish).

Upon returning to the classroom, the children carefully cleaned them (remembering the technique demonstrated by "Farmer Mike"), and walked around munching on them as if they had been entrusted with a cache of lollipops.

Preparing food together and sharing in the harvest is both a bond of community and one of the ways in which people nurture each other. The children were very eager to share this experience (and the food they had grown) with their families. In the afternoon, some of the older children came up with the idea of taking them home to share with their parents . They practiced their handwriting and bow tying skills by making little radish bouquets for each student to take home and add to their supper salad.
Later, the children re-planted the radish bed, ensuring that there will be more leisurely afternoons of radish-picking this summer and this time, they were able to prepare the beds independently!

I daresay, Farmer Mike would be proud!

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