Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Cooking Matters at the Seattle Community Farm

This season at the Seattle Community Farm we hosted Rainier Vista community members and Cooking Matters and for two Farm to Table Cooking and Nutrition class series. Over six Monday evenings in June, and then again in September, we gathered at the farm, harvested food, and cooked together.

Participants enjoying orange juice and oatmeal pancakes, 
topped with SCF strawberries!
The series emphasizes cooking healthy meals on a budget. We covered nutrition topics including the five food groups on MyPlate, how to get more fiber in your diet, the effects of different types sugars and fats on the body, and much more. One week we went to a local grocery store and learned tips for selecting affordable, nutritious foods. 

Since we were cooking in the garden, we had the opportunity to emphasize using fresh, seasonal produce. We're lucky to have an amazing variety of vegetables to choose from! From early summer greens, onions, and snap peas, to the zucchini, cucumbers, and tomatoes of September veggies have been the star of the show.

This was not a traditional cooking class – we were outside, preparing food on large concrete tables, washing dishes in sinks that are primarily used for washing vegetables. Plus, the languages spoken in our class included English, Amharic, Mandarin, and Vietnamese. While we couldn't always say everything to each other we may have wanted, we could still share skills, ideas, and food. 

Participants took home a bag of ingredients for a specific recipe at the end of each class, and would return the next week with stories about trying the recipe at home, sharing it with friends and family, and their own alterations to the recipe.

My favorite recipe of the series is what I am calling Seattle Community Farm Vegetable Soup. It was simple - we harvested any vegetable that was ripe and threw it into a pot with canned tomatoes, water, and cannellini beans. We followed no recipe, but just went with what was available. It was a fabulous experience in nutritious and creative communal cooking, fresh from the farm!

Thanks to all the committed participants, who returned each week to share and learn together, as well as the amazing Cooking Matters staff and volunteer team. We can’t wait to bring people together again in the Spring to be part of collectively improving our health and our food system!

Freshly picked chard, 
ready to be added to the soup!
Seattle Community Farm Vegetable Soup

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 potatoes, cubed
  • 4-5 carrots, sliced
  • 1 big bunch of chard, chopped
  • 2 handfuls of sugar snap peas, chopped
  • 1 can tomatoes
  • 1 can cannellini or other white beans
  • Vegetable broth, chicken broth, or water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot, combine water or broth, onion, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, and beans. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add peas and chard and cook for 5 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve! 

Note: you can use whatever vegetables are available to you. This time of year, winter squash would be a great addition! 

~Leah, summer outreach and education coordinator at the Seattle Community Farm

No comments: