For a few months now, the farm has been mostly resting as we continue to get the final harvests from our kale and collards, lettuce and arugula, purple top turnips and watermelon radishes. Those few crops are trying to stay warm under low-tunnels or braving it in the elements. Instead of suffering out there with the plants they tended all fall, our student farmers get to have the farm come to their classroom! Every year November through March we bring farm fresh tastings, science projects, and stories to schools to share with our 1st grade student farmers. After working outside all fall and preparing to return and work on the farm all spring, this is a great chance for us to cook, draw, read and discover new questions to explore.
An important topic to discuss in the winter is seasonal eating. We all love to eat, eat, eat during these cold months – but if food isn’t growing on the farm, where is it coming from? So in the middle of winter we learn about the crops that can take a little chill (carrots and spinach), crops we can grow in a greenhouse (lettuce and radishes), ones we can harvest and store (onions and sweet potatoes), and of course those that must be grown somewhere warmer and shipped to our NYC plates (bell peppers and tomatoes).
One of the easiest crops to preserve for the winter is herbs. Back in October we harvested and dried mint and lemon balm to enjoy during our lesson on seasonal eating. After exploring how we are able to enjoy our favorite winter meals, we all sit down on the classroom carpet with a hot cup of refreshing tea and Stone Soup. The mint and lemon balm tea made from our farm herbs goes great with a story all about sharing what you’ve got, and building a community that supports each other. These are messages that we practice every day on the farm, and they are important ones to continue practicing even after the holiday season.
Sip on your own cup of tea along with a winter read:
- 1/2 tsp dried mint
- 1/2 tsp dried lemon balm
- Sugar and lemon juice to taste
This tea will boost your immune system and invigorate your senses. Enjoy after a hot bowl of stone soup!
Written by Anna Scott Ellis, Farm Educator