Welcome to Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten! My class blog is the place I share information about some of the fun learning activities we are doing at school. I hope to provide parents with insight into what we are doing, and why, and to share ideas with other early childhood educators. Please don't use the photos or text of this blog without permission, but please do use any ideas you find useful. Thank you for stopping by!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Picking tomatoes and green beans

Earlier this week a neighbor asked if I would like to help pick their vegetables for a few days.  I love vegetable gardening, and wish I could get better results in my own, so I jumped at the chance to get in on some fresh ripe tomatoes and green beans.  I decided to take a few kiddos at a time with me, so they could also experience warm, sun-ripened tomatoes. 
I talked the children through the picking process, how to use one hand to hold the plant, and the other to gently pull the fruit, and of course, to place the produce gently into their picking basket.
 We looked for the reddest, ripest tomatoes, and left behind the yellow and orange ones (mostly).
The children were fascinated and thrilled at the experience of picking, even though they also noticed that it was work, especially looking for the hidden green beans.

Oh, and tasting!  I heard wonderful words from the children, like, "Can I eat one?" and "Can I eat another one?"
 They were so proud of their haul, which included 17 fair sized tomatoes, lots of beans, and a pile of cherry tomatoes - even after we'd eaten a bunch!
 Back at home I had them sort the produce.  They asked if they could take some home.  There was certainly enough!  Everyone chose one ripe, red tomato to take home, and we also set some aside for another friend, and put the beans away for lunch another day.
 One child decided to eat her tomato as she was leaving - and her loose tooth came out in the tomato!
I took other children on other days, and followed the same routine: showed them how to pick carefully without damaging the plants, looked for the ripest fruits, and enjoyed the calm of working in the garden together.

Look at their faces - the children loved this experience.  I had one child tell me later, "I don't like to eat tomatoes, but I like to pick them!"  It's a good start.

One of the children noticed the soft fuzz on the growing green beans - something that is long gone by the time they reach the grocery store, but that home gardeners everywhere are familiar with.

 There were also just a very few strawberries, but well worth looking for.
Can you guess where the strawberry is in this picture?

We loved the opportunity to explore the garden, to pick, and of course, to eat.

After several days of picking, we had an abundance of green beans - and a few purple beans from our own garden too.  We added them to our lunch on Friday, along with the cherry tomatoes, salted sliced tomatoes, and other, store bought ingredients.
We had also found some over ripe green beans,  ones that had escaped notice for a few days too long, and were no longer tender and crisp but rather well on their way to drying out.  The pods were yellowing, and the beans inside them were larger and harder than the ones we like to eat.
While they were eating, I handed out an over ripe pod to each child, and let them explore it.  We pulled the pods open, and found the beans inside were hard and had turned white!  They looked like "beans," as opposed to "green beans."
 We even tried eating the semi-dry beans!  They were different than the green ones, but still tasty.

The best news of all is that there are more green beans and tomatoes left, even after our feasting.  I'll freeze the beans, and cook up the tomatoes, and we can enjoy this haul of vegetables again next week. 

Oh yeah, I have awesome neighbors!

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