Greetings from Abingdon, VA.  Deni here, reporting on the end of the season activities.  A huge rain storm with wind came thru this week taking most of the leaves with it.  We had outstanding color here for a few days; bright yellows, reds and oranges.  Still a few die hards hanging, but most of the color is now on the ground awaiting rakes to move them to the compost pile.

Our students with intellectual disabilities harvested over 40 pounds of broccoli this week for the food pantry.  They’d never seen broccoli so big.  Must have been all that lovely fish emulsion we gave it during August and September.

Broccoli Harvest

Michelle and I took several heads to the Boys and Girls Club of Bristol VA, a GYO participant community garden that we have been working with all season.  Michelle set up her outdoor cooking station and began sauting onions and garlic over the camp stove.  We were happily working with a small group of 4, 5 & 6 year olds, but the older kids quickly  moved in smelling the delicious aromas of food cooking.  You could see them up at the playground; noses in the air trying to figure out where the deliciousness was coming from.  A few bee-lined it to the cooking table and soon began stirring and helping out.

The Recipe:

Broccoli Morsels – From the Victory Garden Cookbook by Marian Morash

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups blanched broccoli chopped into ¼ inch pieces
  • 1 ½ cups fresh bread crumbs
  • ½ – 1 cup freshly grated cheese; such as Swiss, mozzarella, Parmesan or a combination
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp finely minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

Beat eggs and combine with all ingredients except oil.  Form into 1 ½ inch ball.  Heat oil in a sauté pan.  Cook balls until browned on all sides; approximately 5 minutes and drain.   Makes 16 1 ½ in balls.

Can substitute cauliflower for broccoli

Simple recipe!  Amazing results.  We’re talking BROCCOLI; when asked, kids had no interest in eating it, but after cooking them the smells drove them crazy.  All it took was one kid being brave enough to put one in a bowl.  We had a jar of marinara sauce for dipping.  Every morsel was devoured.  They came back for seconds, thirds and fourth helpings.

Eating Broccoli Balls

In addition to broccoli, we also brought along carrots; the younger kids were invited to help bag them up in a mock farmer’s market in one pound increments.  Bags were then given to kids to take home.  Food very much needed and appreciated in most of these kids homes.

 Carrot Harvest

We also harvested, washed and prepared a salad spread with kids.  We’re finding most of the youth we work with love to eat salad.  Fresh greens from the garden.  Any leftovers are happily taken home with the kids who want them.  This has been a great fall piece to our programs as we continue to think how to address food access in the lives of kids.  We are currently putting together programs that will help kids grow food, but learn how to make something good to eat then be able to take home the produce for a recipe that we supply.  Because how do you address childhood nutrition challenges if you don’t reach the parents too?  Hopefully our efforts will enable a child to go home and say “hey mom, let’s have Broccoli Morsals for dinner, I’ll help you make them.  Here’s the broccoli, got an egg?”

Salad spreadSalad Wrap