SENECA CO., N.Y. — As June brought the school year to a close, it is a great time to get kids outside to enjoy the warm weather and sunshine and get their hands dirty. With Seneca County CCE’s Farm to School (F2S) program made possible by a NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets F2S Grant, here in Seneca County teachers and students are making progress on their Seed to Harvest Project journey as they transplanted their seedlings into their school garden locations and continued to take care of their plants until they headed home for summer break.
At South Seneca MS/HS students got a new garden area added to the Ovid Community Garden (OCG) dedicated to F2S and other garden projects. With a lot of help from OCG garden members, Maggie Passmore, Shelley Pletcher, and Theresa Lahr, from the very beginning and during all aspects of the garden extension process, the project was up and rolling. To extend the community garden and make room for new raised beds, Hosmer Winery kindly donated fence posts and their time to put them in the ground. Some of the 7th grade students involved in the planting project even helped build the raised beds with guidance from their technology teacher, John Barkee. Once the newly constructed beds were brought to the garden with help from Principal Tim Houseknecht, they were kindly filled by Everett Babcock on the tractor/loader, which saved us from many back breaking wheelbarrow loads. The beds were then prepped and the fence installed by our OCG helpers and a couple local volunteers, Andy and Duane Riegel. The new garden area was finally ready for the kids to move their plants outside for the summer. Dodging chances of rain showers, all three of Edie Fulton’s 7th grade science classes were able to get their plants in the ground and even take some time to learn about the many other crop varieties already growing in the OCG.
With the addition of one new garden bed this spring, fifth graders from Elizabeth Cady Stanton Elementary in Seneca Falls had a little extra room to fit a few more of their butternut squash seedlings in their school garden. However, with every student starting their own seeds they still had an abundance of plants left over and needed a home for their remaining seedlings. Thanks to teacher James Reagan, a group of teachers, parents, and students came together for an afterschool planting trip to the Riegel Family Farms garden on the New York Chiropractic College campus, where they transplanted the rest of their butternut squash seedlings into mulched compost hills in a larger garden space.
After a few weeks of carefully watching over their seedlings in their classrooms, Romulus students in Colleen Cook’s and Katharine Lewis’s 2nd grade classes were excited to introduce them to the outdoors. Students braved a cooler, breezy morning to transplant their butternut squash, watermelon, and nasturtium seedlings into their school garden beds. They worked together to choose a good spot for each plant and helped each other transplant and water their seedlings. With help from Sue Schrader to maintain the gardens and check on the plants over the summer months, the kids will come back in the fall to find that their plants grew bigger, just like they did.
Teachers and students from Skoi-Yase Elementary in Waterloo are excited about the installation of a new raised garden area for their F2S project and continued outdoor education. Coordinated and championed by art teacher Jean Gaylord, several members of the PTG got together during a work night to build and prepare the new raised garden beds where their kids will be able to grow, learn, and play. Jean and fellow teacher Jean Shutter along with parents Tom Fish, Pat & Jen Tellier, Emily Enslow, and Mandee Rauscher, as well as some of their kiddos, all took part in making the new garden space come together. Peterman Lumber of Seneca Falls assisted in making the task much easier by precutting and delivering all of the needed lumber for the project. With their newly constructed garden beds ready to be used, the Kindergarten students wheeled their seedlings outside in their new garden wagon to have time to get used to the sun before being transplanted and cared for by their older peers. First grade students then did an amazing job working together to plant the seedlings in their new home in the garden and, in the last week or so of school, second graders took over watering the plants and watching over the garden. In addition, Jean will be assisting her students in creating artwork to decorate their new outdoor space next year.
With the school year coming to an end, all of the students were excited to get creative and prepare a recipe with their harvest when they return in the fall. Thanks to favorable weather and ample rain, all of the garden plants are growing well and will hopefully continue. As we are in the waiting stage of our project, we would like to thank everyone who gave their support from the very beginning and everyone who volunteered their time in any way to help make it a success. We look forward to continuing the project and expanding Farm to School programs next year.
As June turns into July, there comes warmer weather, the start of summer, and the first local fresh fruits, which is a great time to celebrate the completion of another school year and indulge with a seasonal favorite, Strawberry Rhubarb pie (recipe below). You can head down to your local farmers market to grab the star ingredients. Farmers markets will continue throughout the summer with new produce items popping up as the season progresses. As summer continues and we approach another school year, look for our next F2S recipe in our monthly newsletter and we will keep you up to date and informed on all things happening with Seneca County Farm to School. Enjoy your summer and all your garden harvests!
Recipe: Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
- 1 ½ – 2 cups Flour
- ¾ cup Butter, chilled & cut into small pieces
- Dash of Salt
- ½ tsp Vinegar
- 1 Egg
- 3 Tbsp Cold water
- 4 cups Rhubarb, diced
- 2 cups Strawberries, sliced
- 1 – 1 ½ cups Sugar
- 5 Tbsp Tapioca granules (instant/quick cooking)
- 2 Tbsp Butter
- Preheat oven to 425° F.
- For crust, combine flour, butter, and salt with a fork. Mix together vinegar, egg, and water. Add to dry ingredients and combine until a ball of dough is formed. Chill in the fridge.
- For filling, rinse strawberries and rhubarb and pat dry. Slice strawberries and cut rhubarb into ½” pieces.
- Combine rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, and tapioca in a large bowl. Stir gently to coat. Let sit.
- Cut the ball of dough in half. Roll out both pie crusts to fit a 9” pie pan.
- Pour fruit mixture into bottom pie crust. Place several small pieces of butter on top. Cover with top crust. Pinch or fold over edges. Cut several slits in top crust. Baste with milk or cream. Sprinkle top with sugar.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes or until filling is bubbling and crust is golden brown.
- Makes one 9” pie or 8-10 servings.
For over 100 years, Seneca County Cornell Cooperative Extension has served the people of the County, putting to practical use the scholarship and research of Cornell University and the national land grant system in the areas of agriculture and food systems sustainability; families, nutrition, health and safety (human ecology); youth development (4-H); environmental and natural resource enhancement; and community and economic vitality. The office is located at 308 Main Street Shop Centre in Waterloo. For more information, please contact us at 315-539-9251 or email@example.com.
–Seneca County Cornell Cooperative Extension
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