Summer Camp: Summer camp season is in full swing at High Rocks. We have already had our first round of campers at New Beginnings. New Beginnings is a camp for girls from grades 6th-8th in Pocahontas, Nicholas, and Greenbrier counties. The camps are offered to the campers free of charge. We try to incorporate as much healthy food that we can into the meals we serve the campers and staff. Our usual meal includes a salad bar with all the fixings, an entree, a vegetable, and a vegetarian option. We make the normal comfort foods like spaghetti and tacos but we also try to introduce new foods to the campers. One of the meals we introduced to the campers was curry chicken. I was curious to see if the campers would complain and not want to try it but I was pleasantly surprised to see that there weren’t any leftovers!
Since we had a problem with an animal eating our crops, we only had lettuce to offer from the High Rocks garden. We looked to our local farmers and producers for foods that we could not produce ourselves. This year we can proudly say that we locally sourced beef, eggs, bread, chicken, pork, and lettuce. We were able to source from some Grow Appalachia participants too. We will be sourcing more produce for Camp Steele at the end of July.
Overall cooking for the camp went great but we did have a few bumps in the road. There was a major storm that caused severe flooding in the area. There was a power outage at High Rocks that lasted four days. Thankfully Karline hooked up a generator to the building so that we could keep the fridge and freezers on. Unfortunately we did not have any water. To make food, we had to buy water or fill up jugs from homes that had water. We had to boil rain water to wash dishes and mop the floors. It was a few rough days but we all came together to work as a team. We are thankful that the campers and staff were unharmed in the storm.
Summer Cooking: This week we had our first Heart Healthy Cooking workshop of the season. We cooked Tumeric Brown Rice w/ Vegetable Stir Fry served with a side salad and a homemade dressing recipe. We decided to go with Turmeric because of its anti-inflammatory attribute and also because its a space not a lot of people use. Brown rice for its high levels of fiber and nutrients, compared to white rice. Secondly, we added a ton of heart healthy vegetables to a stir fry pan and lightly seasoned with soy sauce. And finally, our homemade dressing, which was a hit, showed participants the awesome healthy alternative that is homemade dressing. We also talked about what makes cooking healthy and shared the ways our families try and cook healthy at home. The participants also received handouts with Michael Pollan’s Food Rules that we discussed.
The workshops are always great because they are active and engaging. Participatory workshops are a great educational tool, everyone really seems to enjoy themselves and we learn with each other. We try to always have components in the workshop, where the participants can take lead on something we are learning. This time, there were several small groups that headed up each cooking station- turmeric rice, vegetable stir fry, and dressing. The conversations that happen between the learning and the activity are usually filled with troubleshooting our gardens together. It has really become a bonding experience this season.
For the next two weeks, High Rocks is headed into it’s final camp for the summer season. Shortly after, we plan to visit some gardens and host several workshops in August.