Littlebrook students celebrate garden harvest

If you’re a foodie, you would have been tickled to taste the pickled, pumpkin or pear fare prepared by Littlebrook Elementary’s own K-5 students. At 1:10 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 23, the Littlebrook cafeteria doors swung open for the whole school to stream out to gingham-clothed tables filled with food in the fresh fall air. The children lined up and waited patiently to finally sample their hard work. This event was a harvest celebration. Each grade celebrated the crops grown through the school garden education program that every student grew, harvested and prepared into delicious dishes with the help of parents, teachers and School Garden Educator Pricscilla Hayes.

“Each grade is eating what they grew and every class prepared something unique,” Hayes said. “This event wouldn’t run without the parents. This school has the best parents. We all work together,” she added.

7 There were plenty of different dishes such as onion biscuits, frittata, pickled citron melon, apple and pear butters, sweet potato cornbread, pumpkin cornbread, and tea made from sage, basil, and lemon balm.

“The tea is really good,” exclaimed Littlebrook Student Sophie Gono.

The Kindergartners, who study vining plants, continued the tradition of making refrigerator pickles. This year, they pickled green tomatoes and radishes. The second-graders enjoyed the Celeriac they grew, which was made into Celeriac ice cream by The Bent Spoon. They also made their own parsley and kale pesto, which Superintendent Steve Cochrane was seen savoring at the Food Day, Friday.

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According to Science Teacher Martha Friend, many second-graders were hesitant to harvest the celeriac and parsley since they knew larva depended on the plants for food. But after checking that the larva had eaten plenty and departed for warmer climates, they went ahead and took what they needed.

“I try to emphasize how everyone is fed from the garden,” Hayes explained. “Not just humans but also all the little critters who live in the garden full-time.”

Many students expressed their love of Littlebrook’s Food Day, which is in its fourth year.

“I Like the tasting part,” said fifth-grader Sophia Grossman. “I’m ‘kind of’ a foodie. There are so many flavors in the sweet potato corn bread.”

“The part I like best is that we know that we grew most of this,” said another fifth-grader named Shira Kutin.

“I like food, I’m always hungry,” proclaimed McKenzie Jones, who stood enjoying some samples with a friend. “I like having all the grades together because we don’t all usually get to see each other.”

Kindergartner Nina Wallaeur was not as pleased with her greens or pickled foods and politely scrunched her face as she told Friend her opinion.

“Well I really value your honesty,” Friend replied.

The Food Day harvest celebration marked the culmination of the gardening season at Littlebrook, which will continue again in the spring.

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About Erica Chayes Wida

Erica Chayes Wida is a writer, mom, and complete zealot when it comes to poetry, paella and globe collections. After graduating with a degree in Anthropology from UCLA, Erica moved to Italy where the seasons and old architecture inspired her journey back to the East Coast. Since then, she and her husband have created a nest egg locally and, over time, developed a rather grand love affair with the town of Princeton. Erica is senior editor at The Princeton Sun and enjoys fulfilling her Princeton affections on a daily basis. | View all posts by Erica Chayes Wida