Daikon radish pickles: RECIPE NOW IN COMMENTS
Yes, it is that time of year again: big pots of boiling water on the stove, zero counterspace available due to all the green and fruity produce coming in the door.
Interestingly, however, the preservation being done today (Saturday) is not being done for this family. No: the school garden is just as busy as our home gardens, and many of those lovely Asian vegetables planted in April are ripe and ready. Likewise, it’s strawberry and rhubarb season around here, and we are on the cusp of the sweet cherry season.
The one thing I have discovered (and you will all probably laugh at this) is that WOW having lots of hands doing the work makes any task go so much more quickly. I say this admitting that for today I am elbow-deep in making the second batch of kimchi and the first batch of radish pickles all by myself, but it is quite amazing how much fun, and how productive, those Thursday Weed and Feed evenings in the garden truly are. So much gets done! Makes me think I should have a team of my own here on the farm…
Other than working in the garden, another volunteer opportunity for the school community is what we’re calling “fruit tithing.” One of the fun things to do with your kids in the summer is go to one of the myriad pick-your-own fruit places in the area: there are many, verging on hundreds, of these farms. We are asking parents to set aside some portion of that fruit for the school. We are having organized picking sessions with the school community too, but if folks want to go ahead and pick on their own, we’re giving them instructions on how to process and freeze these fruits to give back to the school. It is all part of our Slow Snack initiative wherein we source local, organic, nonprocessed foods for the school-wide snack.
But what to do with all that fruit, of course, is yet another volunteer opportunity, and through the summer we are having canning parties at a local cafe/shop owned by a parent at our school. So every two weeks, we will be jamming, jellying, pickling and sauce- and salsa-ing the contents of both our garden and these fruit-y gifts from the parents.
All of this is so exciting, I must say. What started as a simple “let’s make the school snack a little bit more nutritious” a couple of years back has now blossomed into a greater notion that Food Does Matter, especially the food consumed by our youngsters. Having them participate in the complete foodway that is seed-to-table eating is a knowledge base that we hope will serve them their entire life. Will it discourage them from grabbing a Twinkie and picking up a spotty heirloom organic apple instead? Well we shall just see. We do know, though, that all habits (good AND bad) start early.