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Pocantico Hills School Celebrates Fall With Harvest Festival

Pocantico Hills students show off organic carrots, part of the harvest for their school's annual fall festival with Jose Zamora, a school employee who maintains its garden.
Pocantico Hills students show off organic carrots, part of the harvest for their school's annual fall festival with Jose Zamora, a school employee who maintains its garden. Photo Credit: Contributed
Pocantico Hills students wash vegetables for their school's annual Harvest Soup Festival.
Pocantico Hills students wash vegetables for their school's annual Harvest Soup Festival. Photo Credit: Contributed

MOUNT PLEASANT, N.Y. -- The Pocantico Hills School’s annual Harvest Soup Festival has all the right ingredients for an educational and fun time.

Students, parents and staff members spent a week picking, sorting, cleaning and cooking up bushels of the vegetables for last Friday’s “seed-to-table” feast.

First- through 4th graders harvested organic carrots, squash, celery, beans, tomatoes, leafy greens and herbs at the Children’s Garden at Kykuit, also known as the John D. Rockefeller Estate, a 40-room National Trust house.

They then washed the veggies and the adults chopped them up for a soup that was made right there.

Volunteers who tend the garden assisted the kids and explained everything to them from the edible parts of a plant and pollination to composting and the soil cycle.

“It is a pleasure to watch the children learn this way,” said Susanne Pandich, manager of public programs for the Pocantico Center.

Fifth- through 7th graders harvested tomatoes and beans for the soup from the school’s own garden.

They also used fresh herbs to make bread and pesto to accompany the soup.

“This event is one of the high points of our year,” said Family and Consumer Science teacher Ilana Brennan, who directs the program.

The school thanked the Rockefeller Brothers Fund for providing the “enriching opportunity” at the Children’s Garden and custodian Jose Zamora for maintaining the school-based garden.

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