WITS Celebrates Food Revolution Day with Seasonal Greens

WITS Celebrates Food Revolution Day With Seasonal Greens

Thu 30 May 2013

Story by Reana Kovalcik

Food Revolution Day is the perfect time to celebrate seasonal produce as spring fruits and vegetables are bursting with flavor and summer produce has just started to appear in the markets. At Wellness in the Schools (WITS), we were excited to be able to celebrate the season and Food Revolution Day in schools across New York City.

Making Fresh Juice with the Tertulia Team

At PS 126 first graders were treated to a very special field trip to visit Chef Seamus Mullen’s acclaimed West Village restaurant, Tertulia. Students divided into three stations throughout the restaurant to tour, cook, and finally eat and drink.

Director of Service and Beverage, Gil Avital gave the students an insider’s tour of the kitchen and put them to work ferrying ice from the walk-in upstairs to the bar. One of the students exclaimed, “We were in the biggest refrigerator in the world!” After bringing the ice to the bar, students were shown how to make fresh juice with oranges and beets and got some more hands-on experience shucking peas and cranberry beans.

Finally, for all their hard work, the students were treated to a delicious lunch of gazpacho and potato frittata. Not only did they learn a lot, they had an out of this world seasonal meal prepared by some of NYC’s best chefs.

Harvest Day at PS 89 in Brooklyn

PS 89 celebrated Food Revolution Day by hosting a Harvest Day to highlight the produce from their school garden. The team from SchoolFood joined WITS Cook Laura on Wednesday to harvest and prep.

With the produce the students’ helped to gather from the garden and extra supplies from the farmers’ market the chef team made three beautiful, seasonal salads: Bok Choy with Orange Slices, Scallion and Zucchini with an Orange Soy Dressing; Arugula with Roasted Chickpeas in Fresh Lemon Basil Dressing; and Bib Lettuce Stuffed with Black Beans and Radish in Lemon Dressing.

On Food Revolution Day students got to enjoy the fruits of the season along with their Chef Partner, Elliot Prag, of the Natural Gourmet Institute. We got great feedback from our students, who told their Principal they wanted every day to be Harvest Day!

WITS Labs at PS 333 in Manhattan

Throughout the week our schools were treated to their final WITS seasonal cooking class of the year, the Greens Lab. PS 333/Manhattan School for Children, however, got a very special treat- WITS Founder and Executive Director Nancy Easton to teach their class!

Nancy and WITS Cook Meena led PS333 classes through two scratch-made dressings (Balsamic and Lemon/Honey Vinaigrette) and a classic yogurt dip for fruit. They introduced a variety of seasonal greens and students were taught about the different tastes, textures, and nutritional qualities of each. Once they had prepped their dressings and dips students got to mix and match strawberries, arugula, romaine lettuce, spinach, and mustard greens.

With three of her own children at PS 333, and daughter Sadie in one of the special Food Revolution Day classes, Nancy was especially thrilled to be the special guest speaker. WITS grew out of her experiences not only as a teacher and principal, but also as a public school parent.

It has been wonderful to see first hand how WITS schools like PS 333, 89, and 126 have transformed and grown. We are all looking forward to seeing even more transformations by next year’s Food Revolution Day!

About the author: Reana Kovalcik is the Development and Communications Coordinator of Wellness in the Schools, where she works on forging relationships with health and wellness partners and informing communities about WITS' work. Reana has a government and public policy background, and has worked on local food sourcing legislation for New York City. At home she is an avid window gardener, farmer's market fan, and eager chef and eater. Find out more about Wellness in the Schools here.

Images: Reana Kovalcik


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