Dan Gets into the Swing of Things

By Dan Salisbury, Education Intern

Getting back into the swing of things here as an Education Intern has been completely refreshing. As the new semester begins, I think I speak for all of the interns when I say we’re extremely excited to test brand-new recipes, come up with new lesson plans, and, of course, see the lovely kids again. While it was great to see our families and loved ones back home, it’s invigorating to see our PFP family once again.

We have been perusing various seed catalogues, carefully selecting vegetable crops for use in the Discovery  Gardens. Fun and whimsical produce is going to come into play; the students love working with all kinds of funky fruits and vegetables. We are setting aside a plot of land for a DIY plant Tie-Dye garden, another for the ever-popular Obstacle Course, and we’re always thinking of ways to further engage the throngs of happy and excited students as they make their way around the farm.

As a culinary student at the Culinary Institute of America just down the road, I always feel at home in a kitchen. A lot of recipe-testing has been going on inside the farm kitchen, and brand-new recipes are going to be making their way into classrooms and homes in and around Poughkeepsie. On a personal note, getting the chance to work with some amazingly fresh and delicious produce is something that I absolutely cherish about my time here at Poughkeepsie Farm Project; when the ingredients you’re using are of this caliber, it doesn’t take much to elevate them – all I’m doing is making sure things don’t burn!

I’m extremely excited to be involved with the return of Farm Fresh Home Chefs. These workshops are a chance for us to work directly with the students in the local schools of Poughkeepsie - best of all, the parents are there right beside their kids the entire time. Passing on some basic cooking tips and making kids smile with the occasional deft flick of a knife or a sauté pan is something that I’ve come to deeply enjoy; it doesn’t hurt that the parents leave with some cool ideas for easy, nutritious, and delicious meals.  

I’m also looking to get the CIA more engaged with the local communities of Poughkeepsie and Hyde Park. One of the projects the senior Applied Food Studies students are planning involves establishing an education garden in one of the local schools in Hyde Park. We’ll be looking to follow some of the successful models established by PFP, and I’m excited to lend the experiences I’ve gained here to the other students and faculty at my school. I’m also working on getting The Brewery at the CIA (yeah, we have our own brewery…the scotch ale is absolutely delicious!) to donate their spent grains to PFP for use in compost. Spent grains are a by-product of the brewing process, and it only makes sense to utilize this by-product that otherwise would be thrown out. In a way, everything comes full circle: CIA students learn how to brew beer, a small percentage of spent grains are used in baking and other cooking applications (think a sort of nutty/malty flavor profile) and the rest will be donated to PFP’s compost pile, where school-aged students will learn all about the process of decomposition. This kind of small-scale community impact becomes a sort of cyclical endeavor that I strive each and every day to reach in all aspects of my work at PFP. Now, it’s time to get cookin’!