Monday, October 13, 2014

A Sukkot Harvest

Sukkot is my favorite holiday, even though it presents challenges for the school gardener. With the school year starting at the end of August, and several school day closings due to the High Holy days, it is a race to get the garden planted.  It is an even bigger challenge to produce a harvest in time for Sukkot. 

But, we managed with the grace of cooler temperatures and lots of rain. 

Our school friends spent the days decorating classroom sukkot with real fruits and vegetables. As always, gourds were a popular choice. During the Gan class time, we discussed the purpose of Sukkot. What is the holiday about and why do we decorate the sukkah with fruits and vegetables.

The garden friends explained that we celebrate Sukkot to give thanks for the harvest. But, they didn't always know what the word "harvest" meant. So we set out to discover the meaning of the word. 

Out to the garden we went. We located vegetables that were ready to eat. Each friend picked one or two items from the garden beds to add to the bowl. We even chose a bright marigold flower to add to the swiss chard, kale, pak choi, arugula, and basil.


Then we rinsed and tore the leaves to create a delicious salad. Fresh orange juice and olive oil dressed the variety of greens. Grapes and cucumbers added to the flavor. 

As we sat down to enjoy our community salad, I asked the friends what they had done to collect the ingredients. They said " we picked" in the garden. I explained that they could also say that they "harvested" in the garden. Harvesting and picking can be the same thing. So on Sukkot when we give thanks for the harvest, we are giving thanks for the food that is picked and eaten. 

We said a blessing for the food from the earth and ate our harvest salad. Some friends liked the "crunch" and some friends liked eating the flowers. 
We all decided that the harvest gave us food to keep our bodies strong and healthy. 

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