Ever eaten dirt?
It was a featured ingredient — well, sort of — at the Fork & Salad/Three’s display during the Taste of School Gardens event on March 4.
Chef Travis crafted a Peas & Carrots dish, complete with “culinary soil” made from porcini mushrooms, almonds and toasted bread. It may have looked like dirt, but it tasted delicious!
“It’s kind of like eating a garden in a bite,” explains Chef Travis.
The roasted carrots came from our trusty organic supplier Oko’a Farms, and some were harvested from student gardens, which nonprofit Grow Some Good has worked to establish in 12 schools around Maui.
Volunteers help students learn skills like how to handle seedlings, build soil, maintain compost, tend plants and harvest produce. It’s not just a hobby, it’s a curriculum! Grow Some Good’s mission is right in line with ours at Fork & Salad: putting the focus on local farmers and keeping agriculture alive here. With our goal to bring sustainable, healthy cuisine to everyone, the relationship is, well, symbiotic.
“Nowadays 90% of food is imported to Hawai’i. We’re small potatoes in terms of changing that, but we’re trying to,” says Chef Travis. “When it comes to Grow Some Good, kids being mindful of island resources, space, sustainability, it’s full-circle! It interconnects, it’s all really important.”
We were first introduced to Grow Some Good during an amazing Persian dinner at Chef Paris Nabavi’s home in 2016, which raised money for the nonprofit. We were inspired to help too, donating a portion of every Beet & Goat Cheese Salad to Grow Some Good.
But that was only the beginning. Since then, our chef/co-owners have volunteered their time in the gardens with students at Kamali’i Elementary and Kīhei Charter School. Check us out in MauiNow.com’s story, “Chefs & Students Unite to Grow Some Good.”
The Taste of School Gardens event is Grow Some Good’s largest fundraiser of the year, and we joined other notable restaurants in helping support the fun event at Hotel Wailea. Our staff and UH Maui culinary students even made 300 portions of our popular Ni’ihau lamb chili. There was so much of it, we needed a big paddle to stir the giant pot!
To lend an extra hand, we’re planning to adopt the Kīhei Charter School garden, near Fork & Salad in Azeka Mauka. Our natural food scraps will go into their compost, and our staff will provide some hands-on help in the garden.
“We would volunteer in spring and fall to get the garden ready for planting,” says Chef Travis, “plus we’d get some vegetables from that too, so it’s really special.”
Go to Grow Some Good’s website to learn more about how this organization is making a difference to our keiki and our ‘aina, and how you can join them as a volunteer! #EatLocalEatHealthy