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by Kristen Wolenberg, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Public Relations & Marketing Intern

Even though the first official day of fall is not until September 22nd, the start of classes and the weather (finally) cooling off reminds me that it’s right around the corner.  The library at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden has recently added Michelle Obama’s first book titled: American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America.  It is a beautiful book with personal stories of Mrs. Obama’s garden experience, history of gardens and beekeeping at the White House, and recipes.  I checked it out to gain a better understanding of the White House Garden and learned a lot more!

The book is broken up into four main sections, each representing a different season.  Each section includes a mock lay-out of the garden, tips for gardening that time of year, as well as recipes that coordinate with available crops.  The White House chefs include delicious recipes that they use for the First Family as well as State Dinners.  For fall, my two favorites are sweet potato quick break and linguine with mushroom bacon sauce.  They are easy to make and the produce can be found at a local farmer’s market!

Fall is the main harvest season where farmers reap the fruits and vegetables of all those months of hard work.  The Garden harvest, which has become a favorite event at the White House, is when elementary school kids dig up the fruits and vegetables they planted in the spring.  Chef Bill, from the White House, says that “it’s really cool to see the looks on their faces when they realize that the tiny seed they put in the ground now is a plant that is hundreds of times the size of that seed”.

The Children’s Garden at Lewis Ginter has similar projects as well.  This fall there is a children’s class program titled “Small Sprouts to Garden Giants” that investigates the life process of plants during class field trips  to the Garden.

Community Kitchen Garden at Lewis Ginter

Community Kitchen Garden at Lewis Ginter

Just this week the Community Kitchen Garden harvested and donated fresh tomatoes, Swiss chard, cucumbers, bell peppers, and eggplant to benefit Feedmore’s Community Kitchen.  Bringing the year to date produce total to 9,119 pounds!  Our goal is 10,000 lbs. for the season, think we’ll make it?

The harvest season has begun and so don’t forget to check out local produce to create your own delicious meals at home.

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