Eastern Shore Food Lab

Elementary Thanksgiving

  • Eden Kloetzli '17 leads ESFL Interns Max Moore '22, Analiese Bush '22, and Alaina Perdon '22 as they
    Eden Kloetzli '17 leads ESFL Interns Max Moore '22, Analiese Bush '22, and Alaina Perdon '22 as they set the stage for each group of fifth graders.
  • Eden describes how the ESFL uses the molino to grind corn.
    Eden describes how the ESFL uses the molino to grind corn.
  • Students collaborate to mix chopped vegetables into sauerkraut.
    Students collaborate to mix chopped vegetables into sauerkraut.
  • Each handmade jar of sauerkraut from a fifth grader contained a personalized message to the family who received it.
    Each handmade jar of sauerkraut from a fifth grader contained a personalized message to the family who received it.
  • Eden teaches students about kombucha.
    Eden teaches students about kombucha.
  • Students left messages for recipients of the sauerkraut jars.
    Students left messages for recipients of the sauerkraut jars.
November 14, 2019
The Eastern Shore Food Lab helped students from Garnet Elementary School prepare jars of fermented food for families in need.

When teachers from Garnet Elementary School reached out to the Eastern Shore Food Lab to run an educational program for fifth graders, Eden Kloetzli ’17 and ESFL Interns Analiese Bush ’22, Max Moore ’22, Alaina Perdon ’22, and Lanning Tyrrel ’22 coordinated an effort to extend their experience further into the community.

On the eve of Thanksgiving, 54 local children ventured to the Food Lab for an introduction to a central idea: foods that helped our ancestors thrive could be celebrated in our modern lives. After orienting themselves to the space, some intrepid nine- and ten-year-olds stepped inside the humidity-controlled fermentation chambers used to cure meats and age cheeses, just as caves have been used for thousands of years. Eden described community traditions of grinding nixtamalized corn around a molino as their fingers traced the stone burrs of our machine, and she captured their imaginations with images of bountiful meals enjoyed around the warmth of a wood-fired oven. 

ESFL Interns helped to explain how beneficial bacteria could be harnessed to transform food, and divided the children into teams to practice chopping vegetables: green and red cabbages, onions, beets, and carrots. With each food they explored basic botany with Shane Brill ’03 M’11, and delighted in the unexpected connection to photosynthesis in their science curriculum. 

Hands washed, they all mixed the chopped vegetables with salt to experience the sensation that plants, after all, are mostly made of water. The students packed jars with salty vegetables till they brimmed with brine, then reflected on their experience over a cup of kombucha, penning thoughtful messages to the would-be recipients of their creations.

While teachers returned to their classes with some large demonstration jars to let the students observe (and taste) their bubbling sauerkraut over the next week, the fermentation process stayed underway at the Food Lab. ESFL Intern Alaina Perdon ’22, co-president of the Washington College chapter of the Food Recovery Network, brought the aged jars of sauerkraut to a community dinner for local families in need of food support. 

The sauerkraut, and the accompanying heartfelt messages from the students who made it, radiated the mission of the ESFL into the community. We’re grateful to the Garnet Elementary teachers and students who made this experience possible. And we’re thankful for for our dedicated interns who embody an optimistic passion for using food to reconnect with what it means to be human.


Last modified on Dec. 13th, 2019 at 9:37pm by Shane Brill.