Ovies Underground

Garden Talk: Kids Can Cook!

by Ovie  on June 16, 2010

Featuring Isabella Gerasole, Co-host of Spatulatta.com

Another beautiful mid-June day in the Midwest, and there I was, minding my own squirming business making a casting in a beautiful organic family garden in Evanston, Illinois, when I heard approaching footsteps. So I poked my anterior out of the soil and saw this girl coming toward me with kitchen shearsÖ

Me: HEY! Whatíre you doing with those scissors?

Girl with scissors: What? Huh? Whoís there?

Me: Here! Me! In the soil! Nameís Ovie.

Girl: What theÖOvie? Oh! Ovie the Earthworm...from Organic Valley!

Me: Yeah, itís me, Ovie. Howíd you know I was from OV? And who are you?

Girl: My name is Isabella. My sister and I use some of your products in a few of our recipes. Iíve seen your picture around.

Me: Recipes? You? You cook? Arenít you a little young for kitchen work?

Isabella: Not at all, Ovie! In fact, my sister and I are in the business of teaching other kids how they can get more involved in the kitchen by making their own meals. We even have our own websiteóSpatulatta.com!

Me: Neat! Hey, Iíve got my own website, too!

Isabella: Really?

Me: Yep. Well, actually it's just a web page. But...you know...I'm just an earthworm.

Isabella: Earthworms are cool!

Me: Hey, thanks! So are you! Say, I post interviews with interesting people on my web page. Mind if I interview you?

Isabella: Not at all, Ovie! Go right ahead!

Me: Okay, uhÖletís seeÖ.what are you doing out here in this garden, Isabella?

Isabella: Oh, Iím just picking some basil so I can make some pesto pasta.

Me: Pesto pasta? That sounds fun. Whatís pesto pasta?

Isabella: Pesto pasta is basically any pasta with pesto - a green sauce made from basil leaves, garlic cloves, pine nuts, and olive oil. The garlic makes it a little bit spicy.

Me: Sounds pretty delicious.

Isabella: Itís my favorite!

Me: Is it organic?

Isabella: Well, yes, of course the basil is organic. We like to get as much as we can from our backyard garden. Itís easy to grow an organic garden in the city and we think growing and cooking your own food is an important part of a healthy diet.

Me: Whyís that, Isabella?

Isabella: Well, you can just never be sure where processed food comes from. Itís always good to know where your food came from, and fresh, organic food usually contains more of the nutrients your body needs.

Me: Do you always eat organic food?

Isabella: Not always. Itís kind of hard for us to always eat organic food because we buy whatís available at the store, and they donít always have organic food. And sometimes the organic food can be more expensive.

Me: Yeah, thatís a problem a lot of people have with it.

Isabella: It is, but the farmersí market just opened here! Every Saturday morning we go to the farmersí market and buy a bunch of organic vegetables and some flowers for the table and it makes the weekend feel like a real treat!

Me: Thatís great! And youíre rightÖthe farmersí markets usually are a little cheaper because youíre getting the food right from the person who grew it.

Isabella: Right. And thereís another way to make organic less expensive: growing your own. We buy all kinds of seeds with a group of friends and divide them up so we can plant our own gardens. Growing your own food is a longer process than going to the store and buying it, but it feels great because you really do make a better connection with the earth.

Me: Boy, youíre smart. You talk just like my friends at Organic Valley! How old are you?

Isabella: Iím 14.

Me: 14! Wow. And not only do you grow your own food, but you also prepare it in the kitchen, AND put instructional videos for other kids on the internet?

Isabella: Yep. Me and my sister, Olivia. Sheís 12.

Me: WHY? Why do you spend so much time doing this stuff instead of playing or whatever?

Isabella: Well, itís fun, Ovie. Itís not much different than playing, and itís a message we think is important for kids to hear.

Me: What message is that?

Isabella: Lots of kids these days arenít eating at home. Theyíre eating processed foods that donít provide much nutrition, and theyíre not eating together, with their families. Obesity is an epidemic. Lots of kids think food comes from a box, and not from the ground.

Me: That just makes me squirm in all the wrong ways.

Isabella: Exactly! Thatís why we think itís important that kids know where food really comes from so they can sustain themselves later in life. And it really is a fun thing to doógardening, cooking, and making the videos!

Me: SQUIRMARIFIC! How can I help?

Isabella: Well, Ovie, I think if youíd be nice enough to share all this on your web page, that might send more kids to our website and hopefully the word will spread from there!

Me: Another great idea. You sure are smart.

Isabella: Thanks, Ovie. And youíre great at squirming around in the soil so we can grow such delicious food to eat.

Me: Aw, shucks Ė you make a lowly worm feel pretty important.

Isabella: And you are!  Well, I better get inside and finish making supper. How about you get back down underground, making your castings or whatever it was you were doing?

Me: Delicious idea!

Check out the great how-to cooking videos for kids on Isabella and Olivia's website!

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by Ovie  on February 21, 2010

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by Ovie  on December 10, 2009

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Jacques CoustOVIE on the Eastern Seaboard

by Ovie  on September 16, 2009

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