Last friday, in honor of our beloved education intern, Katherine "K-thron" Collins' last day on the job, the entire Youth Garden crew went on a garden tour of DC. On the list we had City Blossoms' Marion Street Garden, Beet Street's (soon to be found online here) garden atPathways to Housing (at which a Cuban-themed celebration organized by program participant Georgina was ongoing), Commongood City Farm, The Neighborhood Farm Initiative, and theEngaged Community Offshoots farm in Prince George's County, MD. Unfortunately we did not make it out to ECO, on account of a combination of transportational apprehension and an unforseen flooded basement. Nonetheless, great times were had - we sampled melons at more than one stop, made mobiles out of wire and junk, wore cowboy hats and varying hues of green, smiled profusely, and we even learned some things. Photographic evidence ensues.
Interning at the Washington Youth Garden has been an honor and pleasure. These last two summers have been an adventure full of fun and excitement. When I first came to the garden I didn’t like it that much, I wasn’t use to a lot of outside work. I hated weeding and working in the sun, but I realized the reward you get after everything is done and you see the transformation that you were a part of in creating in the garden. To turn an area full of weeds into a Nature Explore activity area for the children and knowing you had help creating it, is a wonderful feeling. The Washington Youth Garden has taught me a lot of things and has helped me to grow. I have interacted and taught younger children about eating right and cooking wonderful dishes. Many of the children loved when I put on my chef jacket and start to cooked, they loved the dishes I created for them. I was able to visit the White House’s garden with WYG’s Seed To Supper participants and talked to the Presidents head pastry chef. I got to meet the Secretary of Agriculture at the Arboretum and I was able to have a conversation with him and he gave me a coin with his seal on it. I also got to meet Reed Doughty and Malcolm Kelly of the Washington Redskins. I would have never had the opportunity to be interviewed by J.C. Hayward if it wasn’t for the Washington Youth Garden and there support. (Check out WYG’s website to see interview.) I will miss my Washington Youth Garden Family as I embark on my new journey into college at Baltimore International College. I will never forget this place and I will be back to visit every chance I get.
Written by Jonathon Gliss, WYG youth worker, gardener, and chef extradoinaire. Last installment of Jonathon's Vegetable of the Month blog installments.
Bok Choy (Chinese cabbage) has been cultivated and grown in many parts of Canada and the US. Bok Choy is also grown in Europe where it was introduced in the 1700's. It is available year round, except in July and August, and it is best when purchased in the fall and winter. Currently, you can buy Bok Choy in many ethnic grocery stores and in many larger supermarket chains. Because Bok Choy is a member of the cabbage family, it is becoming, and can be used in many recipes either raw, as in salads, or cooked for use in soups and in stir-fries, like cabbage. Baby Bok Choy is best when cooked whole and used as a side dish to a meat entrée. However, when cooking mature Bok Choy, do not cook it whole. Instead, first remove its leaves from their stalks and cut the stalks into pieces. Next, take the leaves that were removed and cut them into pieces as well. Bok Choy stalks and leaves are edible. You can also eat the raw stalks of both the baby and mature plants. The following is a Bok Choy stir fry recipe that will certainly add excitement to your vegetable plate.
Bok Choy Stir Fry Recipe 1 1/2 pounds Bok Choy or baby Bok Choy1 1/2 tablespoons canola, vegetable or peanut oil1-2 cloves garlic, finely minced1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger3 tablespoons broth or water (or 2 tablespoons broth/water + 1 tablespoon wine)salt to taste1/2 teaspoon sesame oil 1. Start by trimming the stem off – don’t trim too much – just the end. Cutting the thick stem off will ensure that the Bok Choy cooks evenly. Separate out the leaves, keep the tender center intact and clean under running water. Drain. 2. Finely mince garlic and grate fresh ginger with a grater. 3. Place wok or frying pan on your stove and pour in the cooking oil. Add the garlic and ginger. Turn the heat to medium-high. Let the ginger and garlic gently sizzle in the oil. When the aromatics become fragrant and light golden brown, add the Bok Choy leaves. Toss very well to coat each leaf with the garlicky, gingery oil for 15 seconds. Pour in broth, water or wine. Immediately cover and let cook for 1 minute. Season with salt and drizzle a bit of sesame oil on top.
SWEET AND SOUR BOK CHOY
3 tbsp. salad oil1 head Bok Choy, washed, trimmed, & cut into 1" pieces1/4 c. packed brown sugar1/2 tsp. minced fresh ginger root1 tbsp. cornstarch1 sliced sweet onion1 tbsp. soy sauce1/4 c. red wine vinegar Heat oil in large skillet, add Bok Choy and onion. Cook and stir over high heat 1 minute. Blend sugar, vinegar and ginger; add to skillet. Mix well. Cover and steam for 1 minute. Combine soy sauce and cornstarch with 1/2 cup water. Add to skillet. Cook and stir until thickened. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
BOK CHOY CABBAGE SALAD
5 cups of Bok Choy cabbage, chopped into 1" - 1 1/2" pieces1 bunch green onions, chopped, green & all
DRESSING: 1/2 c. oil1/4 c. cider vinegar1/2 tsp. salt2 tbsp. soy sauce1/2 c. sugar Mix dressing ingredients well before adding to cabbage. Mix cabbage and dressing and refrigerate before serving.
CHICKEN STIR FRY 1 (13 3/4 oz.) can clear chicken broth2 tbsp. soy sauce2 tbsp. cornstarch1 tsp. garlic powder1/2 - 1 tsp. tarragon4 tbsp. peanut oil2 lbs. chicken breasts, skinned, boned & cut up8 oz. snow pea pods3-4 stalks of Bok Choy, sliced2 carrots, sliced thinly1/2 med. onion, chopped Combine chicken, broth, soy sauce, cornstarch, garlic powder and tarragon. Stir until free of lumps and set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in wok or heavy pan. Add chicken and cook quickly over high heat. Remove chicken and set aside. Add 2 more tablespoons oil to pan, add vegetables and cook until tender. Add cornstarch mixture and cook until sauce is thickened. Add chicken. Serve over rice. Makes 4 servings.
From faces painted with carrots in tutus to outdoor marimbas to glass-paned honeybee hives, our 2nd annual summer festival was definitely fun and more than educational. Folks braved the heat, met new neighbors, tasted & toured the garden. Here are a few of our favorite memories.
A big shout out goes to all the folks who helped make this event possible!
Here's to our wonderful volunteers: Toni Burnham, Emily Roberts, Sarah Murphy, Ej Truax, Jennifer Jefferson, Vernice Woodland, Lois Jackson, Laura Genello, Lianna Fensky, Emily McCartan, Katie Aldworth, and our musicians Katherine, Micah and crew.
And last but not least, we're grateful to our partners who came out to show their support: Safiya Samaan and Viki Arthur of the USDA Forest Service, Mary Farah and Sandy Farber of UDC, Mark Haskel, Lola Bloom and Mia Ballard of City Blossoms, Bea Trickett of the Neighborhood Farm Initiative, Gilda Allen of DDOE, and Terry McFarlen.
When our Green Summer Team teens arrived several weeks ago, there were varying degrees of indifference to the garden, vegetables and particularly eating new foods. Last friday, we had a marathon cooking session, over the course of four hours, we prepared a tomato sauce worthy of the queen of Italy, a tomato salad, fried eggplant (a first for two of our youths), and garlic bread all using ingredients exclusively from the garden. The eggplant was crispy (think dried autumn leaves), the sauce saucy and the smiles wide.
Welcome to the blog of the Washington Youth Garden. Founded in 1971, we are one of the longest standing educational youth gardens in the country. We are located at the U.S. National Arboretum - 446 acres of green delight located a few miles from the Capitol in Northeast DC.
We have lots going on in the garden and would love to share that with you. Warning: this blog contains many, many pictures of cute kids with vegetables.
Learn more about our exciting programs at www.washingtonyouthgarden.org