During the last week of September, Twenty-one Frost Valley staff participated in two separate Green Team pizza challenges in the Teaching Kitchen. There were several reasons for the challenges: to celebrate local foods in general and use ingredients from the farm and main camp garden and greenhouse, to educate on how the kitchen could be used by staff when programs aren’t being taught there, and to inform the participants about local sources of food.

Olivia Lightle, Assistant Director of Program Innovation, prepared sauce using fresh tomatoes and other produce from the farm and had assistance from Program Instructor, Katrina Relyea, to prepare dough for the event. Katharine Chute, Sustainability Coordinator, sent an email blitz to drum up participants and helped with the clean-up effort and tallying of votes for the favorite pizzas.

After discovering the answers to two questions people need to ask to see if an event is appropriate for the Teaching Kitchen (Does it teach people how to cook? Does it use healthy ingredients?), participants learned that food prepared in the kitchen was only to be consumed by those present who made the food in Victoria Hall and a ServSafe® certified food handler needed to be present for the events. This information helped generate several ideas for utilizing the space.

Bud Cox, Director of Catskill Take-a-Hike Program, supplied a plethora of brochures, magazines and pamphlets that covered local sources of food and farmers’ markets. In fact, there is still literature available in Victoria Hall that is free and available for weekend guests and staff.

The food turned out to be diverse and delicious. Pizzas ranged from stuffed crust concoctions to pies with sautéed veggies and baked eggplant. A couple of favorites included peach and goat cheese pizza with a balsamic reduction, a traditional pizza with sautéed and blended ingredients and a goat cheese and Frost Valley apple dessert pizza.

9/27 Winners: Team Talya Shlang and Linda Campbell & Team Justin Walsh and Jonah Herwitz tied for 1st place, Carmel Dorn won 2nd Place.

9/29 Winners: Team Nick Lomauro and Emily Fonte in 1st place, Team Walker Nyenhuis and Alison Vuolo won 2nd place, Individuals Anthony Kordziel and Morgan Theze tied for 3rd place.

Everyone seemed to rise to the challenge of creating unique pizzas and not a single person left the events without a full belly, a renewed sense of camaraderie with each other, familiarity about local sources of produce, and an understanding about using the Frost Valley teaching kitchen for similar events in the future.

About the Author

Olivia Lightle

Olivia has worked at Frost Valley since 2015 in her role as the Assistant Director of Program Innovation. She is an avid gardener, cook and outdoor enthusiast.

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