Monday, August 30, 2010

September Harvest of the Month: Tomatoes

For many gardeners, a fresh garden tomato is one of the best treats of the season.  This September, Bay View students will have the opportunity to pick tomatoes straight from the garden.  Students will be learning about tomatoes in their garden nutrition class and as a part of the Harvest of the Month program.  Through the Harvest of the Month program, each classroom receives a fresh box of tomatoes to learn about and enjoy.  With the help of School Food Director, Jamie Smith, Bay View students will also sample fresh tomatoes over lunch in September.

There is a tomato for nearly everyone.  With over 1,000 varieties, the tomato has many different shapes, tastes, and colors.  Some favorite varieties of the Life Lab gardeners include the beautiful orange Persimmon tomato, the stunning Green Zebra tomato and the multi-colored Brandy Wine tomato.   In Nutrition class, students will have a chance to taste each variety and find a tomato that is right for them.

Not only do tomatoes taste good, but they are incredibly nutritious.  One medium tomato has only 35 calories, but supplies 20 percent of the daily value of Vitamin A and a whopping 40 percent of the daily value of vitamin C.  Cooked tomatoes are high in lycopene, a phytochemical that prevents cancer.  Below are some easy recipes families can use to cook tomatoes with their students.

Garden Tomato Sauce
From Kids Cook Farm Fresh Food

12 red tomatoes or 4 baskets of cherry tomatoes
3 cups of rise, uncooked or 2 lbs of pasta cooked.
12 large basil leaves
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup extra virgin oil
1 teaspoon salt

1. Wash tomatoes with water and dry in a colander.  Wash basil and pat dry gently in towels.
2. Peel and dice garlic, chop tomatoes, and cut basil.
3. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat.  Add in garlic when oil is hot.   Let garlic sizzle for a minute.
4. Add tomatoes and basil.  Turn down heat and simmer for 5 to 8 minutes or when tomatoes are just starting to become saucy.
4. Stir in salt. 
5.  Serve sauce over rice or noodles and enjoy!

Salsa Fresca
From Kids Cook Farm Fresh Food

6 to 10 medium tomatoes
1 bunch cilantro
1 clove garlic
1 white or red onion
2 limes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 bag corn chips or baked tortilla chips

1. Wash the tomatoes and cilantro and let them dry in a colander.
2. Peel and dice garlic, chop onions and tomatoes, and cut cilantro.  Placed chopped ingredients into a large bowl.
3. Cut lime into quarter and squeeze into the bowl.
4. Add salt and mix salsa.
5.  Enjoy salsa!

Welcome Back!

Fall is finally here and with it comes a new batch of students to the Bay View garden.  Life Lab and Nutrition classes will resume September 13th. Despite the cold summer, the garden is bursting with tasty treats to share with Bay View students.  Tomatoes, sweet corn, peppers, summer squash, beans, leeks, chard and strawberries are all ready for the picking.  The apples are getting red on the trees and our basil is finally growing a bit taller.

We invite parents and students to take a moment to come and explore the garden.  Our fall workday is set for Saturday, October 23rd from 10am to 2pm.  The garden workdays are a great way for parents to learn about the Life Lab program, gardening, and nutrition.  Our garden greatly benefits from Bay View's supportive parent and teacher community.