Archive for October, 2016

Changing of the seasons


It’s that fun part of the year where we have harvested as much as we can and then get ready to put the garden to rest for the season.


Students got divided up into 3 groups to partake in various garden related activities. Collecting leaves for mulch, spreading cover crop seed, and chopping old sunflower stalks and plants into compostable pieces. It’s active, it’s fun, and it is probably the last bit of moments we will spend outside before the rains set in.


Then we had a fabulous tea toast afterwards that really exemplifies the spirit of the Orca garden- hard work, celebration, and coming together to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

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SUGAR!?!? Wowser…


4th grade is studying food chemistry this year and got to measuring sugar from common supermarket foods- mainly sugary processed snacks and foods. The visual of seeing how much sugar goes into foods is powerful. They can hold a ziplock bag full o’ sugar  up and check it out. We are just getting into how to read nutrition facts and understand what we are eating.


We collectively made a poster that displays the sugar in servings & packages (quite a difference!). Once again- art and science meets knowledge & creativity.


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We have been collecting various herbs since the beginning of school to make the ultimate all-spice mix. It’s a delicious blend of oregano, thyme, rosemary, basil, and summer savory. Kids could choose to call it a pizza spice or an all-spice.


The kids get a little tiresome of collecting herbs for many weeks BUT it takes a lot of harvesting & drying to produce enough spice for the kids to take some home. Taking these spices home and using them is an important part of the garden experience. Hopefully the student’s fall & winter will be extra spicy.



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The many flavors of Stone Soup


Our days got a  lil’ more flavorful recently as we enjoyed the delicious goodness of fresh Orca Stone Soup. Y’all know the tale of Stone Soup? It’s an amazing folktale about sharing that has existed for decades.


It’s an annual tradition around here to gather the bounty of the garden and cook up some incredible soup. We also tell & retell the story through drawing and sharing while we eat. It’s all about combining science, food, and art. This is perfect tri-connection that hits home (and stomachs) nicely.


As students get older at Orca we progress this activity to explore the difference between a fresh, local, and organic soup AND your average soup can (see next post for info on that scientific foodiness).


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Best Harvest Festival ever!

It was another magical Harvest Festival this year- our annual event to celebrate the changing of the seasons and the bounty of our incredible Orca Garden.


It was a stunning fall day of sunshine, cider, food, and fun. Really it might have been the most beautiful October day of all time.


We had some special musical guests- Ben Hunter & Joe Seamons who added some special flavor. The kids really gravitated towards their rootsy music under a beanpole teepee in the garden.


This event really symbolizes what Orca stands for- community, breaking bread, and coming together for a common good. There were the annual traditions of lavender sachets (harvested by students in the last month and dried in the greenhouse), leaf crowns (with Orca plants), cider (from local apples), face painting, corn husk dolls (with recycled fabric), and of course- FOOD brought by families to share.


Thanks so much to all of our fabulous volunteers. There were over 40 of you!!!! That is a real community event and your work was greatly appreciated.


The cider was amazing! And how cool is it to work together and share in something so delicious as fresh pressed juice?


See you next year! Check out some more great photos below….

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Record Harvest this year!

We  have had a record harvest around here this year. An insane amount of mint, lavender, beans, calendula, giant sunflowers, potatoes, tomatoes, greens, pizza spices (rosemary, thyme, oregano), and more. Learning how to harvest and collect from the garden in preparation for fall & winter (and spring!) is an important skill. Check this crazy amount of beans!dsc_0558

Should we save beans for next year or make tacos???!?! These are a colored assortment of scarlet runners, black beans, & pole beans.


This is an entire fall/winter of mint tea right here w/ a healthy amount of lavender for the Harvest Festival and/or lavender oil.


We walked down the street to the Brandon Street Orchard and harvested a fair amount of rosemary & lavender. Community harvesting!


A bucket of a months worth of harvesting herbs for an allspice and/or pizza mix.

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Kindergarten fry guys & gals


A fabulous fall day saw us digging for potatoes in the garden to turn into french fries. This is an annual tradition but these lil’ kiddos were unaware of this tradition and subsequently got their minds blown!


We got an assorted mixture of purple, Russet, fingerling, red, and Yukon Gold potatoes. This really is as fresh as it gets! NO we don’t want to fry everything in the garden but a couple times a year we dust off our deep fryer and let the smell of natural oil, salt, and potato fill the air (only 3 ingredients!).


They made some fabulous “fry boxes” with pictures of them digging and eating. It was a lot of fun to go farm to table QUICK!






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