Beaver Farm is no exception; the entire Transition Program shares the mid-day meal together – all fifty of them! Crew Leader Tamara Sheen, along with coworker Matthew Rishaw, and their team of three students – Willie, Josh, and Nick – take to the catering kitchen each weekday to cook for their fellow Beaver Farmers.
Everything is made from scratch, sourcing as much as possible directly from Beaver Farm. Chicken, beef, and pork broth are made on a regular basis from the Farm’s livestock, and the lard is rendered as well. Fresh eggs are featured in meals such as vegetable and kasha casserole. The casserole is prepared using kefir, a cultured milk product that the crew makes daily. Each meal is accompanied by salad, and with a new green house, much of the greens are coming directly from the Farm, too.
Willie, Josh, and Nick learn chopping (Willie’s specialty), mixing, sautéing (Josh’s favorite), proper kitchen hygiene (where Nick shines), using commercial-grade equipment and kitchen safety practices. The main goal of the program, of course, is to prepare lunch, but these skills could lead to a future vocation. Hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, teamwork, a sense of accomplishment, and establishing healthy eating habits are all outcomes of participating in the lunch crew as well.
Nothing warms the heart (and stomach) like a homemade meal shared with friends after a hard morning’s work in the fields or classroom. When the community gathers around tables in the hall of The Sarah Jane Herman Education and Resource Center there is a palpable sense of contentedness, and as everyone eats a hush spreads across the space . . . confirmation of a tasty meal!