Highlighting The Connection Between Farm & Dinner TableTue 30 Aug 2011
Story by Tina Kummerle
When Highland Springs Resort first started out as a ranch and stage coach stop, there were no such things as pesticide sprays, fast food drive-throughs, and flavored milk. For over 150 years, we have continued to raise our own livestock and operate an on-site organic farm. This summer the resort hosted a Summer Day Camp that highlighted the connection between the farm and the dinner table.
The Day Camp drew upon two decades of knowledge operating an outdoor science camp for school children, and included activities that illustrated the farm to table concept.
Children participated in creating compost using manure from organically-raised pigs and took part in collecting fresh eggs from our free-range chickens and picked organic produce from the vegetable garden, later to be used in the cooking class. They also were taught to cook healthy dishes that are easily recreated at home, such as a potato-onion pizza, fresh mint lemonade, and a blackberry-peach crisp with rosemary.
Our camp offered healthy lunches with approximately 80% organic ingredients. Children were introduced to foods they were often not very familiar with, such as quinoa and balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Emphasis was put on serving a balanced meal and getting kids used to variety. All meals were prepared from scratch in our restaurant kitchen and the use of any processed food items was minimized.
The positive feedback from both children and their parents regarding the day camp is consistent with what we have experienced from previously organized events at the resort. Throughout the year we hold educational cooking classes and other farm activities for kids such as cow-milking, sheep shearing, and seed planting. We also host free healthy living discussions every Thursday night in our restaurant, where the topics range from “Creating Your Own Sodas Using Fruit and Vegetable Juice” to “Cooking with Rosemary.”
After attending the day camp, some parents noted that their children were more curious about where the ingredients for their family meals came from. Others were inspired to help their parents prepare dinner in the kitchen after taking the cooking class. One parent wrote, “My kids had a great time, learned a lot and got tons of healthy tips! They were exhausted after each day and told us all about animals and plants. Loved it!" - Dena Azzolin.
About the author: Tina Kummerle is the mother of two young girls and has been president of Highland Springs Resort since 2003. She is committed to promoting environmental preservation, organic farming and healthy lifestyles especially for children. She also serves as president of the non-profit Bear Family Green Club.
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