It’s been a wild and wonderful time in the garden! We have successfully planted out all the beds with fall lettuces, winter onions, peas, chard, kale, and garlic. We also dedicated two small plots to edible cover crops, namely corn salad and fava beans. Those can be snacked on until Spring when we will till them into the soil to add organic matter. Fava beans are especially wonderful as they are nitrogen fixers – that is, they pull nitrogen from the air and form nodules on their roots which nourish the soil. We’ve spread compost and filled the worm bin with strips of newspaper and dried leaves for bedding, and added red wiggler worms to eat some of the fruit and veggie waste from the lunchroom. We’ve tidied around the garden and kept it looking nice.
Last week and this week, we taught a lesson about the Makah Ozette potato. This potato has been tended by the Makah people of Washington for the last 200 years, after being brought here directly from Peru by Spanish explorers. It’s a wonderful earthy-tasting fingerling potato that has adapted very well to our climate, and we now grow it on our school garden. We talked about why potatoes were so important to the native people – they are tasty, nutritious, and store well. Check out this earlier blog post by garden parent Grace for more fascinating information about this potato https://snappdragons.wordpress.com/2013/04/23/slow-food-the-story-of-the-makah-ozette-potatoes/.
Our amazing garden parents donated homegrown potatoes and made this nourishing and delicious soup which we served to the kids. We saw a lot of smiling faces licking the cups clean and asking for seconds and thirds, and we have had requests for the recipe. So here it is!
Potato Leek Soup (by Grace Hensley)
- Dig up, wash (scrub) all of your potatoes, and trim off any green parts or tough ‘eyes’. If using Makah Ozette potatoes, don’t bother to peel them. Cut them into 1″ pieces or chunks.
- Pull 4 leeks from your garden, trim the roots, discard most of the green tops. Slice in half lengthwise, and wash the leeks well. Cut into thin rounds.
- Saute leeks in 2 tablespoons of olive oil (dairy free!) or butter (yum!) until soft. You can add garlic and onions, too.
- Add 1 tablespoon thyme, and 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, and stir for about 30 sec.
- Fill up the pot with water, add 2 bay leaves, 2 celery stalks cut in half, and all of your potatoes.
- Boil until potatoes are soft.
- Remove the bay leaves and celery.
- Use your immersion blender to make a puree. If you don’t have an immersion blender, wait until soup cools(!) before blending in a regular blender. [Trust me, you can’t clean soup off the ceiling.]
- Season with salt and pepper until it tastes good.
- Sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Don’t have makah ozette potatoes? You can still find some at area farmers markets. While many markets have closed for the season, the Ballard and University District Farmers Markets operate year-round, and many farmers still have choice produce available.
Rowan Maya Lang
Snappdragons Garden Educator
Cascadia Elementary School