In late September at the Montessori School of Lake Forest, a special tradition has grown.
The Garden to Table Harvest Dinner is a memorable evening for three families in the school’s organic garden. The seed is planted in the spring as seeds usually are! Families successfully bid on the experience at the school’s spring benefit, five months earlier in the year. The three families with the winning bids enjoy a dinner party in the school garden, graciously presented to them by their children.
Once the school year resumes in August, the planning takes root and continues to grow. The children meet with Mrs. Lunn, MSLF’s Outdoor Classroom Director, to discuss what crops will be ready to harvest the end of September. From this list the menu grows.
This year, the garden harvest included tomatoes, cucumbers, kale, Swiss chard, basil, mint, chives and apples from our school’s orchard. The menu consisted of Herb Tomato Frittata with eggs from Greta’s Goats Farm in Pecatonica, Illinois, Apple Kale & Chard Salad lightly dressed in a maple vinaigrette, Apple Spice Muffins and finished with Apple Blondies. Throughout the evening, the children refresh their parent’s glasses with Cucumber Mint water. Zinnias, New England Asters and sunflowers, all from the garden and school’s prairie, adorn the center of the table.
Students take part in every aspect of the evening’s dinner from harvest to kitchen prep, serving the meal to clearing the plates. While their parents dine the students show them where the food came from, right there, mere steps from the dinner table. The evening concluded with an impromptu student musical offering of Light a Candle for Peace. A perfect ending to our harvest dinner!