Brentsville and Patriot HS Programs Collaborate to Cook Freshly-Grown Food

| June 3, 2013 | 0 Comments | Education

Teachers Emily Stevenson (left front) and Maggie Smith (right front) show students the vegetable garden the horticulture students have grown at Brentsville District High School.

By Chris Wip

Patriot and Brentsville District High Schools collaborated and pooled their resources from their horticulture and culinary programs last week, harvesting food at one school, cooking it at another and eating together.

After horticulture teacher Margaret Smith from Brentsville District High School met culinary arts teacher and chef Emily Stevenson from Patriot High School at a focus group, the two teachers decided to find a way to work together. On May 30,  their plan was realized when culinary students from Patriot High School went on a field trip to Brentsville District High School to learn about planting and harvesting crops.

The day began with horticulture students giving a lecture to the culinary students on planning and preparing gardening sites, after which, all the students went outside to see the crops growing in the Brentsville garden.

Crops, including broccoli, cilantro, spinach, Swiss chard and lettuce were collected and brought to Patriot High School.  Stevenson was especially excited to learn about purple potatoes that could be added to the menu at Patriot.

Cole Stoy (front right) of Brentsville District High School teaches the Patriot students how to plant crops.

Once the crops were collected, the students loaded back into school buses and traveled to Patriot High School where the Brentsville students were introduced to the culinary classroom and utilities.

“Can you imagine skinning deer in here?” senior Cole Stoy of Brentsville announced as he entered the kitchen. Cole, who plans on studying turf management at Virginia Tech next year, was eager to have the opportunity to see the crops that he helped plant be professionally prepared.

Cole was also excited to see some of his friends who were transferred to Patriot High recently when the school opened.

Jayson Marrero, a junior at Patriot, seemed most enthusiastic about teaching the Brentsville students how to prepare the food.

“I wish the schools could visit more often,” said Marrero. “I miss my friends from Brentsville, and it’s nice to see other people in the kitchen.”

Patriot student Corinne Dewey immediately noted how fresh the crops collected were and compared them to the vegetables typically used in their school kitchen. She said she hoped that Patriot could one day have an onsite garden like Brentsville in which to grow their ingredients.

Vegetables grown at Brentsville are normally put to good use, being prepared in the cafeteria and served to the teachers and staff at the school, or sold to the general public. The proceeds from the sales go toward funding the Horticulture Program.

Patriot student plants a seed in the Brentsville District High School horticultural garden.

Additionally, horticulture students also grow and sell non-edible plants from Brentsville’s horticultural garden.

“Right now, I pretty much just have flowers left, including perennials, that are perfect for our hot and sunny area.” Smith said.

Just prior to the schools’ collaboration, they had sold the rest of the vegetables in the garden. However, what is not sold, Smith makes sure goes to good use.

Smith said that the food she harvests in the summer is given to custodians and and office workers. She also takes some home for herself, so it doesn’t go to waste. She said the food can go far toward feeding a family.

“I usually come out on my bicycle to check on and water the plants,” Smith said.

Patriot and Brentsville High School horticulture and culinary students and their teachers.

This is Smith’s fourth year at Brentsville District High School, allowing her senior students to have experienced their first years at the school along side her.

Stevenson and Smith agreed that the event was a “huge success” and hope this collaboration will happen again. Students from both schools were able to effectively teach one another their areas of expertise and share their similar passion for food.


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