Thursday, June 21, 2012

Victory of Chard

Today I spent my early morning in the garden. We were blessed to have another great rainfall last night so I didn't have to worry about watering my garden. Praise the Lord for rain! Lately, I have been running to keep up with the abundant zucchini production that has been going on in my gardens. I've already pawned off large bags full of squash at my local senior center, traded some at a garage sale, and forced my office professionals to take some home. I've also successfully canned 14 pints of pickled zucchini with my mother at home. Generally, I eat about one small zucchini a day and I still can't keep up with them. But I'm super thankful for the harvest. This morning in addition to my zucchini harvest I had my first harvest of my beautiful purple beans. They are just gorgeous.

As I was leaving the house I decided to harvest a bunch of chard for a possible food sample with kids today. I have decided that I want to focus on introducing the local children that take part in the summer feeding program to real fresh vegetables by doing some fresh veggie tastings. I took a big risk and made the green  power smoothies that I posted about earlier involving rainbow chard. I thought that at least I could dare the kids to try the green smoothies. Most kids enjoy a little challenge. I also attempted to make chard chips. These would be baked chard leaves with a light rub of olive oil and sprinkle of salt. They turned out to be more delicate than usable to I proceeded to crush the crunchy chips up and sprinkle on popcorn like a little green seasoning. Another funky food treat for the kids. And they loved it! I would say it was a double victory because not only did they actually try to bright green smoothie but most of them really liked it. It had enough fruit in it that you really couldn't taste the chard anyway.

I would have to say the best part of my lunchtime experience involved my new favorite child, Andrew. He was about five years old and wore red cowboy boots on the wrong feet. He had jean shorts on and a red plaid shirt. Andrew also had red hair and freckles and he decided to try my chard popcorn. After bluntly telling me that he didn't like it, he was amused with the giant leaves that I had sitting on my table. I had been telling kids they could take a plain chard leaf if they wanted and encouraged the kids to play with the vegetable. He grabbed one of the leaves and walked back to his table and I figured my time with him was over. Little did I know, several moments later he comes back and his sister's are now exclaiming, "He ate the whole leaf. He needs another!" Amazing. Andrew was definitely the highlight of my day as he walked around literally gnawing on a fresh chard leaf, still wet from the overnight rain. My only regret was not being prepared with a camera to record the moment.

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