A Carleton Field Trip!: Week 6, Faribault, MN

It is hard to imagine a more perfect day for the culmination of Young Chefs than last Wednesday. As per tradition, for our last meeting of the term, we took the middle schoolers on a field trip to Carleton to give them a little change of scenery.
We picked the students up at Sayles and then strolled across the campus towards the science buildings. Since it was an absolutely gorgeous day, they got to see students relaxing and playing frisbee outside. Our first stop on our mini campus tour was the biology building. Since many had been to the building on prior trips, they remembered it fondly and asked to check up on the resident snake and lizard. As they learned though, the building is good for more than just animals. Our main purpose of the visit was to see the greenhouse and get a quick lesson on some of the plants grown there. The students marveled at the plants that were able to grow in water alone and were fascinated by the diverse array of plants that were all growing in the same space. As a souvenir of sorts, they were able to take home tomato plants that had been started in the greenhouse. After the brief botany lesson, the students stopped by a dorm room to get a sense of what it was like to live at school. Though some could not fathom the concept of being stuck at school, others were excited as they speculated living with their friends day in and day out.
Our last and longest stop of the day was the Carleton farm. Unfortunately there was little growing and harvest-able at this time of the year, but we discussed how the farm connected to all the cooking lessons we had done because it was a fantastic source of fruits and vegetables. Though we were not able to gather any food while we were there, we did get the chance to cook and eat outside. Playing off of the vegetable theme, the food of the day was fresh spring rolls. For the fillings of the rolls, we cut up jalapeños, cucumbers, carrots, peppers, rice noodles, mango, kiwi and nectarines. To make the spring rolls, we soaked the wrappers in water and then let the students use their creativity in picking their combinations of fruits and vegetables. At first, they were apprehensive, to say the least, about the concept of eating the “plastic” wrapper, but, eventually, they caught on to the idea and ended up scarfing down the spring rolls.
From the food, to the weather, to the personal conversations we had with the students about college and careers, the day could not have been more successful. If nothing else, simply being able to observe the students talk and laugh as they enjoy their unique vegetable creations was one of the most rewarding experiences as it paid tribute to the success of the mission of Young Chefs. As volunteers, we cannot wait to start up again in the fall and work towards incorporating high school students and the new middle school garden into our program!

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