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Farm to Table for the Kids!

Posted in Ranch Report

It's not everyday you see someone (an 11-year-old no less) asking for more vinaigrette when their plate is already licked clean. This was just one of the things that pleasantly surprised me last week while teaching ACES Farm to Table 101 kids class at Rock Bottom Ranch. We had extra homemade vinaigrette after we dressed our salads from the garden and I was wracking my brain for what to use it for -- if only we had made bread, too! Turns out it doesn't matter, the kids were happy to have seconds of vinaigrette without the salad: "Ohmygosh, YUM!! We have extra?? Can I drink it??"

Last week's food-focused classes were a huge hit at RBR, especially among the 11- 14-year-olds attending our first-ever Farm to Table 101 summer class. During the class we examined where our food comes from, what it takes to put a meal together, and how to be creative with recipes and preparation. We learned the ins-and-outs of growing food; exploring, helping, and harvesting from the Ranch's gardens and hoophouses. We helped with the many farm chores associated with raising livestock, and learned about the Ranch's sustainable farming practices. We crafted recipes and cooked something everyday, and the students constantly impressed me with their love for mature flavors and excitement about new recipes.

Here's the list of dishes our budding chefs prepared and enjoyed:

- Mint lemonade
- Salad with RBR greens, mint, chives and homemade vinaigrette
- Cherry preserves
- Pasta from scratch with a butter basil sauce
- Goat cheese parfait (Those of you that attended our last Farm to Table dinner might recognize this one!)

Sounds pretty good, huh? We were well fed, to say the least.

ACES at Rock Bottom Ranch is a working, educational ranch where ACES teaches people of all ages how to grow, prepare, and enjoy healthy, local, sustainable food. It was a pleasure to share this with young kids and to see their appreciation for and understanding of food systems grow throughout the week. RBR has another Farm to Table 101 class coming up for 11- 14-year-olds on August 4th-8th, don't miss out!

To see more images from our Kids Naturalist Field School Classes at Rock Bottom Ranch this summer click here.

~ Ellie Barber, ACES Educator