The School came alive once again last week as the sounds of 113 happy campers resonated across the campus. During the first week of Summit Summer 2009, current students and campers from schools around the community attended nine camps. They confidently mastered new math concepts, learned to golf, honed their drawing skills, photographed animals at the NC Zoo, and wrote and starred in an original film. One of the favorite camp offerings was “From Dirt to Dish.”
Teacher Joanne Hinman led her students on a journey during which they learned the concepts of organic gardening as it translates to nutritious and delicious dining. They started the week with a trip to Mrs. Hinman’s own garden where she explained garden design, plant placement, light orientation, and the basics of what plants need to survive. This formed the foundation of the concepts of organic gardening—creating the right growing environment and choosing companion plants that help repel unwanted insects. Students loved picking veggies that were used in dishes they created later in the week. Some favorites were zucchini pancakes and carrot, squash, and sweet potato oven-baked chips.
At the Hinman family mountain home in Low Gap, NC, the budding chefs visited the surrounding organic orchard. They learned about drainage, tree orientation when growing on a slope, and the importance of heritage varieties. All had great fun as they gathered around a campfire to cook foil packs of “camper’s stew” and baked apples.
Since learning at Summit takes place all over the campus, students spent time in the School’s herb garden—noting their favorite varieties. The enormous bullfrog that lives in the pond eyed the children as they explored the banks. Mrs. Hinman led a discussion about nutrition, sources of protein, fats, sugars and carbohydrates. What we need and what to avoid.
After a week of eating nutritious, delicious offerings, the students were more open to trying new foods. Eleven-year-old Nova Mendoza, a student at the Arts-Based Elementary School, was attending her second Summit Summer camp, an annual gift from her grandmother. Last year at drama camp she had the chance to check out some of the other cool offerings and couldn’t wait to come back this year. “I mostly liked experimenting and making new foods,” she said. “I never would have tried squash or zucchini on my own. The zucchini pancakes were surprisingly delicious.”
Rising Summit sixth grader Josh Breakstone enjoys cooking and gardening so “From Dirt to Dish” was the perfect camp choice for him. He loved creating his own dishes and there was a definite gleam in his eye as he recalled the yummy apple with cinnamon, butter and sugar that he had baked over the fire.
Austin Gray had previously attended the “Music, Mind and Reading Camp” and couldn’t wait to come back and try another “fun camp.” He most enjoyed the visit by Graylyn Chef Andrew Mehaffey. “When I first came here I thought what an amazing school. Everyone is so nice and it is so much fun to learn,” says Austin, who attends Meadowlark Elementary School.
Teacher Joanne Hinman hopes that some industrious gardeners have been encouraged and inspired. “We also believe everyone has had his or her taste buds challenged to try new flavors, textures, and colors of foods,” she says. “Go organic, you will be glad you did.”
2009 Summit Summer camps run through July. For more information on the remaining camps, go to www.summitschool.com/summer