More than one hundred MVS parents and friends gathered on Saturday evening to celebrate the Zorniger Environmental Laboratory’s autumn harvest. With the oversight of Environmental Lab Coordinator Patti DeLotell, middle school students began potting herbs and planting vegetables last spring. By the start of the school year, the self-sustaining greenhouse produced a myriad varieties of matured tomatoes, corn, gourds, cherries, squash, and cantaloupe, to name a few.
For the Harvest Moon Dinner, the lower school turf field was transformed into a fall-inspired dining room while the lab was converted into a kitchen and preparation space for student chefs. Meadowlark’s restaurant owner and staff members assisted middle and high school students with passed hors d’oeuvres, appetizer, main course, and dessert. The menu included focaccia oregano bread; toasts with Z-lab eggplant and carrot-ginger spreads; watermelon and feta salad, another Z-lab contribution; barley with student-grown tomatoes and herbs, and meringue with garden plums.
Eighth-grade students welcomed guests and toured them through the environmental lab, explaining the crops’ germination and answering questions. “I enjoyed interacting with adult guests,” said Lana Katai ’17. “I felt comfortable and confident speaking about crops that we have planted. It was rewarding to share ownership with people who value our work.”
Eighth graders hosted and served dinner. “I was proud of the evolution of our work–from seed to plate,” said Shania Patel ’17. “This whole experience has been one of the most unique opportunities I have ever had,” said Grace Sambora ’17. “I felt accomplished providing the community food–not just handing them a plate of food, but growing it for them.”
“The Z-lab has taught me a different kind of responsibility,” said Abby Dickstein ’17. “Planting seeds in the spring encouraged me to grow my own
garden at home,” said Nathan Mitchell ’17. “These past two seasons, I have grown broccoli, bell peppers, string beans, red lettuce, herbs, tomatoes, and cucumbers.”
Meadowlark restaurant owner Elizabeth Wiley was impressed with the students’ passion for food production. MVS hopes to partner with Meadowlark next year for the annual event.
Photo credit: Charlie Jacobs ’17