7/10/18

A Marine, A Market, and a Reflection on the Power of Food

My name is Nick Wood, and I have been working as one of Arcadia’s two Veteran Farm Fellows for six months now. One of the things I have so far found the most satisfying about my work at the farm is getting to see the literal fruits (and vegetables) of my labors.  I put seeds into soil, and real food is the result! Since I have had a hand in growing all the food that we prepared for delivery to the Mobile Market, getting to work on the market for a week gave me a similar, but magnified, sense of satisfaction. Not only did food come about as a direct result of my work, but people bought it, ate it, expected it, relied upon it, and loved it.



Nick and Brittany Wood
Arcadia Veteran Farmers










During my week with the Market, I mostly just pitched our food to our customers.  While many of our clients knew exactly what they wanted (and told us so in no uncertain terms), some of them were new to some of the vegetables and greens we had on offer.  Those curious customers were happy to talk recipes and preparation tips, and I received more than a few excellent ideas and recipes in return. The common thread of those many conversations was the passion everyone had for good fruits and vegetables.














I was reminded of one of the misconceptions that Arcadia was founded to fight against- the idea that there aren’t any good grocery stores in these food deserts because they ‘don’t want healthy food.’  Many of the people I spoke to had been to the farmer’s markets in the better served sections of DC, like Dupont Circle- which meant that they were willing to take what must have been a long bus and metro ride to get to the good stuff.  I got to see firsthand that “missing” desire for good, sustainable food, and I assure anyone who cares to ask- the demand is there. Bring them the food at a price that they can afford, bring to them the dignity of good choices, and the people will come.

The desire for good food and the way we bond over preparing and sharing it is a universal element of the human condition.  Helping someone eat well is the first step to helping to lift them up. And exchanging recipes and talking about food is a great way to get to know who someone really is.  I was raised in the Upper Midwest, and most of my family is from the Deep South. And yet since coming to the District, the most at home I have felt has been sitting with a bunch of vibrant, cantankerous, enthusiastic elderly black folk in the shade of our market tent after the rush waned, talking about how best to prepare a rack of ribs.

Getting to know the people Arcadia serves puts me in mind of a quote by the late, great Anthony Bourdain:  People are generally proud of their food. A willingness to eat and drink with people without fear and prejudice... they open up to you in ways that somebody visiting who is driven by a story may not get.”  I can’t help but wonder if maybe as a people Americans would be a little better to each other if we broke bread with our neighbors a little more often.

8/10/17

It's a Wrap!


It's a wrap on Farm Camp 2017! As we wind down our final week of camp we are so grateful for everyone who makes this experience possible. Thank you to all the parents, guest educators, counselors, staff, fruits, vegetables and campers!!!

We hope that everyone will continue to try local fruits and vegetables and connect with the farms in their area. See you next summer!

8/9/17

Small Chefs 2 Begins!


We are beginning our last week of Farm Camp with a great group of campers, lots of fresh vegetables, and fantastic guest educators. We would like to extend a huge thank you to Alison from Big Bear Café in D.C. who did an incredible workshop with our camp. She taught us about making sourdough, june and kombucha and everyone got to bring some dough and june starter home!


For our last week we will be introducing Heather Johnson, Arcadia's full time Education Director. 

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Heather oversees Arcadia’s education programs which include Farm Camp, Farm Field Trips, Farm in the Classroom and Mobile Market School Programs. She develops and helps maintain Arcadia’s educational garden, known as the Groundhog Garden. Heather has a master’s degree in Education from Wheelock College in Boston, MA and over the past two decades, she has dedicated her career to providing hands-on, interactive experiences that promote deep exploration and collaboration in authentic environments. While with the Children’s Museum of Richmond, VA, Heather worked closely with communities in need and recognized how little access these communities had to fresh, affordable produce. She wants to work with Arcadia to combat this issue. As families spend less time outside and have less access to nature, she relishes the opportunity to get kids outside to discover the simple yet extraordinary wonders of the garden and the delicious rewards that await.
We hope you have enjoyed getting to know our team! 








8/3/17

Overheard at Small Chefs 1





Small Chefs 1 is coming to a close. We have had a wonderful week of delicious food, farm work and educational activities. As always, here are some of our favorite 'overheard at camp' moments:

While preparing a bed to plant squash a camper came up with a weeding spell: "Weeds weeds weeds come up weeds just come up if you don't come up we'll pull you up"

"Are your chickens for sale?" "No" "Awwwww but I love them"

When I asked to take a photo of a camper with their plate of eggs: "You can have some they are amazing!"

During the blind taste test --
Beets: "it tastes sweet and fruity. I would put it in a salad"
Okra: "okra is so good!"
Parsley: "It tastes really frizzy. Kind of like mint. It might be parsley"

"Oooooh that tickles!" - while holding some wriggly worms during a soil learning activities

"I just want to put it in my mouth now" - while smelling Jonathan Bardzik's Farm-Fresh Fried Rice

"Bees are our friends. They give us honey and are just eating their breakfast... It might look like the bee is coming to sting you but they are just flying around looking for a flower to pollinate"

We had a blast at our tortilla fiesta today!



Thank you to Jennifer and Sophie for coming to teach us about natural herbal fixes to chef injuries! All of our campers went home with an incredible (and easy to make) plantain salve made by Jennifer. 



See you next week for our last week of Farm Camp 2017!







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8/2/17

Chef Jonathan Bardzik Visits!


Extra special Wednesday blog post for our extra special friend Jonathan Bardzik! 

We are so grateful that he shared his love for vegetables, expertise in farm to table food, and enthusiasm for creativity with our camp. Here are some of our takeaways from Jonathan's visit. 

Chef Jonathan Bardzik's cooking rules:
1. It should be fun!
2. It should taste GOOD! If it doesn't taste good, try something else.
3. It doesn't have to be hard
4. Let what looks fresh from the farm help you plan your menu - don't limit yourself by having a recipe in mind first
5. I believe that you can enjoy "special food" (like oysters) any time, any place, no matter who you are/how old you are. All food, all knowledge, and all experience should be available to everyone. 

Our kids were eager to help make and help eat the fantastic dishes Jonathan prepared today. Our menu of farm-fresh fried rice, tomato dill vinaigrette, and quick cucumber ginger cilantro pickles had our campers trying new vegetables, spices, and cooking techniques. Quite well received! 


Many campers left asking about where to find more recipes from chef Jonathan. Here are a few ways to access his entertaining and healthy recipes:

He has 250+ recipes available for free on his website - www.jonathanbardzik.com
His Youtube channel (Jonathan Bardzik) has recipe tutorials and a playlist for All America Selections filmed on Arcadia's farm! - https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPdoN9Zz0wZTWESCKRhnpCoWIsUY_ro98  

One more huge thank you to Jonathan Bardzik!!!!!!!! Your recipes left us eager to learn more about healthy, farm fresh eating and ready to lick our plates clean...


8/1/17

Small Chefs 1 Assemble!


Small Chefs 1 is off to a delicious start. From quick pickling to scrambling veggies and eggs, these small chefs are blowing us out of the water with their kitchen skills, patience, and creativity. We can't wait for our workshop tomorrow with fantastic chef, storyteller and educator Jonathan Bardzik.

This week we will introduce Ivy and Emily:



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Ivy Assiter is excited to be serving as Camp Manager to this year’s Arcadia Farm Camp. She recently moved to Virginia from Orlando, FL where she spent her time inhabiting many different roles in the local food scene. She is most proud of her position as SNAP Coordinator at two separate farmer’s markets where she was able to work closely with her community, and foster relationships between shoppers and farmers. Ivy knows how summer camps in an outdoor setting can impact a child’s development; she has attended and worked, as well as managed, outdoor experience camps for a total of ten years. Her love for local food, food accessibility, and the outdoors brought her to Arcadia, and she can’t wait to see what this summer has in store! She’s really looking forward to having the okra from this upcoming growing season!





Emily is interning with Arcadia this summer through the Tisch Summer Fellows Program at Tufts University. She has always loved working with kids and is a big fan of outdoor exploration, experiential education and good food. 
Emily has worked on multiple organic farms in France and was a substitute teacher at La Puerta de Los Niños in New Mexico. She is always looking for ways to share and cultivate her love for the outdoors and healthy eating and is so excited to work with a program like Arcadia! If turned into a vegetable she would probably be a roasted pumpkin, sweet potato, or brussel sprout. 






7/27/17

Overheard at Seasonal Eaters


Hello and happy Thursday! We have explored many aspects of seasonal eating and cooking this week. From blind taste tests to squeezing cabbages to make sauerkraut, these seasonal eaters have been actively learning about sustainable food from farm to chef to table. 

A big thank you to our horticulture friends at Mount Vernon who brought a beautiful 4 month old Hog Island lamb, to Dylan for a fantastic fermentation workshop, and to Rosemary for her expertise on vermiculture and composting. 

The coolcumbers hold up a thank you card they made for Farmer Dylan

Some our favorite quotes from this week include...


"What did you try for the first time today?"
"Salad, onion, tomato, hummus, dressing, cucumber"
"What did you think?"
"AWESOME!"

"I make salads and they're the best because I make them"

"After our buzzing bees water game we saw a bee with knee buckets pollinating in the garden!"

While harvesting basil: 
"I've never tried pesto before"
"pesto is soo good!" "you're going to love it" "pasta with pesto is perfection" "one time I snuck with my sister and ate a whole bowl of pesto"

Blind taste test (spoiler alert! we served parsley, beet, okra and parsnip)
An older camper: "That's the first time I've had beets in my life. No joke. Those are actually good! I'm going to have beets tomorrow or tonight"
A younger camper: "I know this one!! Okra! We eat it at home in an Ethiopian dish with fish and chicken"

"The salsa is out of this world!"    
"Salsa, like guacamole without the avocado."

"What are you excited to make today?" "I've tasted butter and I want to try new things, so I'm excited to make salsa and pesto and sauerkraut."

"I can't wait until we pet the sheep. That is the best part."