Editor’s Note: Look for the new “Harvest of the Month” series from Island Grown Schools as part of the M.V. Times “Crop Report” blog each month.
One of the tallest plants in the garden, the first sweet corn heralds the height of the summer season and produces prolific harvests throughout the fall. This traditional native American grain has been cultivated in many different varieties used for animal feed, flour, popcorn, and the ubiquitous corn on the cob. About a cup of corn kernels is a good source of thiamin, also known as Vitamin B1, and folate.
When you buy fresh sweet corn, look for husks that are vibrant green, have plump kernels and fresh looking silks. Shucking corn is a traditional pastime that can be a fun way for young kids to help in the kitchen. Keep your kitchen well stocked with a bag of frozen corn or low sodium canned corn so that you can easily add corn to any soup, casserole, or salad you are preparing.
Try this great tomato, corn, and bean salad, which may be enjoyed with tortilla chips. Encourage your kids to help you make this recipe. With supervision, kids can even use knives to help roughly chop soft vegetables, provided they have a good kid’s sized knife.
Tomato Corn and Bean Salad
1 – 1 ½; pints of cherry tomatoes
2 ears cooked corn, kernels removed, or 1 8-oz. can of corn
1 medium onion
2 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup cilantro (optional)
½; fresh lime
Parents: open cans of beans and corn. Kids: drain and rinse beans and corn.
Kids and parents: roughly chop the tomatoes and peppers. Parents: finely chop onion and cilantro. Kids: add olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste. Kids: mix all ingredients in a bowl. Let all ingredients stand for at least 20 minutes, or up to one day, in the fridge, before serving.
(Recipe adapted from Vermont Harvest of the Month.)
Harvest of the Month
Island Grown Harvest of the Month, a project of Island Grown Schools, highlights a locally available crop each month of the school year in cafeterias, restaurants, and grocery stores. The goal is to help children, their caregivers, and the broader community experience healthy, seasonal, whole-foods based meals, while supporting local and regional farmers. Following in the footsteps of school districts in California, Oregon, and other states, Martha’s Vineyard was the first school system in Massachusetts to pioneer Harvest of the Month in 2012-2013, and IGS is now working with the Massachusetts Farm to School Project to spread our model across the state.
Island Grown Schools, a division of Island Grown Initiative, is Martha’s Vineyard’s farm-to-school program. We work with students ages two through 18 to develop a new generation of Vineyarders connected to local farmers empowered to make healthy eating choices, informed about the food system, and engaged in growing food for themselves, their families, and their community.
Emily Duncker is the Preschool Coordinator for Island Grown Schools.