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The Mass Farm to School Harvest of the Month for March was Dairy. Students in all 4 Northampton elementary schools enjoyed our latest Grow Food Kids classroom workshop, Butter-Making. During March and early April, we visited 35 classrooms.
Students in Northampton classrooms are now very familiar with the Grow Food Kids workshops as a result of our consistent presence in the schools this year. You can feel the excitement when Ellena, our Local Food Educator, rolls the workshop cart into the classroom. For the Butter Workshop Ellena created a lesson adapted from Cultivating Joy and Wonder, a teachers’ resource developed by Shelburne Farms in Vermont.
Each workshop began with Ellena gathering the students to discuss dairy and where butter comes from. Younger students read the book Brown Cow, Green Grass, Yellow Mellow Sun by Ellen Jackson, while older students talked more about the science behind the transformation of cream to butter, as well as the history of butter making. Ellena brought some borrowed butter making tools which led to conversation about the differences in modern dairy production.
The highlight of each workshop for students was getting to see the magic with their own eyes! Several jars of cream were passed around in a circle as each student took turns working to shake it into butter. Younger grades sang the “Shake It Song” while older students chopped herbs to sample the butter with. After about 10 minutes, butter had clearly formed, to everyone’s delight. Finally it was poured into a colander to separate the buttermilk.
As always, tasting our recipes is some of the most fun. Students sampled their butter on crackers with the option of adding herbs like chive, parsley or garlic and sea salt. Try making butter at home—here’s the recipe!
Our current and final classroom workshop of the year is Rainbow Salad, which will be followed by a series of field trips to our Giving Garden. For more about everything happening with Grow Food Kids, look here.