Special Thanks to Sylmar High School!!

8 04 2013


Where would we be without the generosity of others? The Farm King garden volunteer staff would like to thank the good and giving people at Sylmar High School who donated the transplants we will soon plant in the garden. These transplants will become the means by which Thomas Starr King middle schoolers learn (and reap) the benefit of locally grown fruits and vegatables.

Thank you Sylmar High!!



Sweet Potatopalooza at Farm King! With a recipe, of course…

6 12 2012


Where were you for sweet potatopalooza 2012? Hopefully, at Farm King enjoying the early winter harvest and resulting meal we made!

From our 4×6 section of the garden, we pulled out about 35 lbs of glorious sweet potatoes! Enough to feed a lot of people. (And the mice that got a few we left in the tool shed. Oops.)

It was a perfectly chilly day as the group washed and dried all the potatoes. It was quite a job! Everyone pitched in and made it as fun as can be.

When it came time to cook, everyone stepped back as we lit the barbeque and got the coals nice and hot. The plan was to grill the potatoes to give them a super smokey taste. First we boiled them for a few minutes in salted water, then dried them off, and wrapped each one in foil with a sprig of rosemary. Those packets went on to the white-hot coals for about 10 minutes each. When we opened them up everyone got to smell the heavenly scent from inside. It really was magical.


We also got to use our extra fun mortar and pestle to make what we were calling green-mush, but was really just 4 cups of basil and one chile pepper mashed to a paste.

Everything came together in a fantastic salad that we devoured. So beautiful, and healthy too. And of course, almost everything came directly from the garden. What could be better?

If you want to recreate this meal, here is the recipe. We adapted it a little to make it have less steps, by taking out the grilling. Don’t worry if you don’t have all the ingredients, you can mix and match with what you do have.

Serves six

4 sweet potatoes, roasted until soft. Skin on!
2 cups basil
1 chile pepper
3/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 cup mint leaves
1 bunch chives, minced
2 cups green beans, cut and cooked
1 head of lettuce, chopped. We used speckled lettuce

Cut the potatoes in to bite sized pieces, set aside.

Using a mortar and pestle or food processor, chop all but one handful of the basil, along with the deseeded chile.

Add the chopped basil to the oil and vinegar. Add salt and pepper and add the potatoes. Toss gently and let rest.

Tear up the remaining basil. Add to a bowl with the mint leaves, minced chives, cooked green beans and lettuce.

Toss everything together and serve!


Honey Love Beekeepers visit the garden!

28 11 2012

There was a buzz in the air when Chelsea from Honey Love Beekeeping came to visit Farm King garden this week! Students were educated and entertained by all things bees. So much thanks to Chelsea and Honey Love for opening up the students’ eyes to the wonderfully exciting and important role that bees play!

Here is a link to their website:

And some photos from Tuesday’s class.

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Look what’s cooking at Farm King!

15 11 2012
Volunteer/Chef extraordinaire Joel prepared a fine lunch for the after-schoolers at Farm King this week. The recipe and photos follow:

Sweet Potato Tacos w/ Homemade Pico de Gallo

Corn Tortillas

Taco Filling:
1 Bag Sweet Potatoes
1 Package White Mushrooms
5 Cloves of Garlic
1 Yellow Onion
Handful Dried Cranberries
Kosher Salt
Cracked Black Pepper
Chili Powder
Freshly Squeezed Lime
Jalepeño Pepper
Olive Oil

Pico De Gallo:

Cherry Tomatoes
White Onion
Jalepeño Pepper
Kosher Salt
Cracked Black Pepper
Freshly Squeezed Lime
Olive Oil (Just a Touch)

All ingredients to taste…


Grated Manchego Cheese
Cut Lime Wedges
Chopped Cilantro
Chopped Lettuce

Starting with an extremely hot pan, sauté finely chopped mushrooms in olive oil until golden brown and caramelized.  Add chopped onion and cook until translucent. Add chopped garlic and cook for a few more minutes. Finally,  add chopped sweet potatoes and stir to incorporate.  Bring all everything together until the sweet potatoes begin to cook and the onions are caramelized. Add spices, finely chopped jalepeno and continue cooking until the sweet potatoes are tender. It may be necessary to add a few ounces of water and cover to help cook everything through.  When the dish is mostly cooked, add a splash of lime juice and mix thoroughly. Keep warm and set aside.

Bring together the Pico de Gallo by chopping the tomatoes, onion, cilantro, and more jalepeno pepper in a mixing bowl. Add salt, pepper, a touch of olive oil, and lime to taste.

Warm the corn tortillas in flat top pan or in a toaster oven and serve with the sweet potato filling, pico, cheese, chopped lettuce and cilantro.

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Farm King Garden on KCRW!!

22 10 2012

KCRW’s “Good Food” radio program with Evan Kleiman recently aired a spot on the Farm King garden. A producer from the show came out to interview Garden manager, Brian Miller and a group of Thomas Starr King students to talk about their very noble accomplishments.

Click here to listen:


Click here to see the KCRW blog article:


Giving Thanks

15 10 2012

Farm King Students are grateful to the Disney and Kellogg companies for their generous donations to the garden. Some handmade cards from Farm King students:

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The gift of giving

13 10 2012

If you haven’t visited Farm King in the last couple of weeks, you have missed out on a LOT! Through the generosity, hard work and determination of the usual volunteers, Disney volunteers, students and teachers at Thomas Starr King Middle School, Farm King now boasts the addition of two new beautiful planter beds!

Our new planter beds and trellises!

In fact, the Disney corporation was kind enough to donate material AND volunteers to make this all possible.

Disney volunteers lending a helping hand.

Disney provided enough materials that we could create hanging planter beds around the perimeter of the garden! Soon, colorful flowers will adorn the Farm King’s exterior…

Hanging planters that will soon be filled with colorful flowers.

The Kellogg company donated bags upon bags of compost and soil amendment to help us produce great fruit, herbs and veggies!

All this and more was donated by the Kellogg company!

Thank you Kellogg company for your wonderful donation to Farm King!

And look what’s sprouting from the efforts of our students and volunteers! These seedlings were started weeks ago. Don’t they look eager to be planted?

Seedlings have sprouted and will soon be ready for the beds.

It’s amazing to watch the evolution of this garden from week to week. So many people work so hard, and give so much of their bodies, their time, materials and their heart to making this garden the best it can be. If you spend more than a few minutes looking at it, you realize that it’s more than a garden where plants and other edibles grow. There’s optimism in gardening. You’re putting your faith in tiny seeds and bulbs, caring for them, providing sun and water and protecting them from the elements in hopes that they will give back to you someday.  People are planting for a hopeful future.

Maybe that’s what is so unique about the gardening experience. The relationship between the gardener and the tomato is no different than the relationship between two people — we have to put a lot of love and effort into that relationship before it bears fruit.

Thanks to Disney, Kellogg and all of the students, teachers and volunteers who have helped build Farm King into what it is today!!