MAMARONECK, N.Y. - Children at Mamaroneck Avenue School picked fresh vegetables they helped grow and put the ingredients together to make a salad they all enjoyed at the school's annual "salad celebration" this week.
Students in all grades picked lettuce, herbs and edible flowers that they planted from seeds in their classrooms and transplanted into the gardens raised beds.
The students pledged to pick only what they will eat and try something new. After picking their salad with a partner, they washed, dressed and wrapped their salad, before enjoying their hyper-local greens.
The MAS garden is an incredible, enriching experience for our students, said Principal Carrie Amon. We are so grateful for the dedication of our parents who meticulously tend to its upkeep. Everything looks beautiful, the vegetables are delectable and the environment provides us with a peaceful place where we can appreciate the wonders of nature.
Culinary professional Adam Kaye, the chef and kitchen director from Blue Hill at Stone Barns, was on hand to help with the celebration. Chef Adam, as the kids call him, introduced a special MAS balsamic salad dressing for the Salad Celebration last year, which he brought back by popular demand during this years celebration.
"The kid's response at last year's salad tasting was unbelievable, Kaye said. You could tell how excited they were to participate in the growing, harvesting and preparation of their food. Even the pickiest eaters among them were won over by the end of the experience."
Kaye has adopted MAS as part of the Chefs Move to Schools program and helped develop the Salad Celebration, one of several events MAS has done in conjunction with the Chefs Move to Schools Program. The program was started by First Lady Michelle Obama in 2010 and encourages local chefs to work with school districts and lend their knowledge of nutrition and food to promote healthy and affordable school meals.
At the end of the MAS Salad Celebration, the remaining lettuce was picked, washed and bagged by the MAS Student Council to be delivered to the Larchmont-Mamaroneck Food Pantry.
The MAS Community Garden has been growing for more than 12 years. The garden was started by now retired Pre-K teacher Susan Longo as a small pumpkin patch demonstrating the seed to table concept. Last year, the MAS PTA expanded the garden to 20 raised beds and the salad sampling from two grades to include the entire school through fifth grade. The MAS PTA donated the funds for the additional raised beds.
We expanded the MAS Community Garden last year, to encourage all the kids to taste new things and to teach them where food comes from. They see what fresh food tastes like and how much better a fresh, local strawberry is than one purchased at the grocery store, said Alli Margoshes, of the PTA Garden Committee. Next year we hope to start establishing an understanding of seasonality through various plantings throughout the year.
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