Each year in April, we put our mind to what we can share with you for Earth Day. Not because it’s the only day we should think about it, but because it’s an annual reminder to realign and refocus our efforts. As with all things that become habitual, an annual marker to really stop and reflect can be incredibly helpful.
So this year, as we mark our annual celebration of Earth Day, take a moment to reflect on what you’re already doing and perhaps find a new, tangible and actionable way to to improve your relationship with Mother Nature and honor and respect the planet.
Check out what our amazing and creative team members at Great Performances are doing!
Mike Deuel, Executive Chef of Catering Operations & Anastassia Batsoula-Deuel, Party Chef
We’ve been busy processing some of the leftovers from the GP kitchen that didn’t have an outlet elsewhere for various reasons. Anastassia and Natalia, Anastassia’s mother and fellow party chef with Great Performances, have been busy turning the leftovers into creative meals. When we come up with something delicious, we’ve been sharing with our neighbors.
This weekend we organized seeds, planted garlic and beans, watered our tomato plants. We are planting everything! Different sorts and varieties of herbs; flowers for bees, insects and birds; and so many different vegetables: beans, beets, peas, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, hot & sweet peppers, variety of leafy greens, celery, onions, garlic, artichokes, horseradish, rhubarb, ginger, turmeric and scallions to name a few.
We’re eagerly hoping our fruit trees and shrubs will produce this year. We have five varieties of plums, three varieties of apples, two varieties of peaches, and two different cherry trees, as well as a fig bush that is starting to show mini figs.
Anastassia and Natalia have also been busy making sourdough EVERYTHING, including delicious sourdough English muffins, and sharing with the neighbors as well. The only thing Mike will not let them share is the wine I’ve made; I need that to enjoy while reflecting on the day’s work.
Kaitlin Walsh, Director of Design
While I’ve been staying at home, I’ve had some extra time for projects. Here are some of the things I have been doing.
1. Vegetable scraps. I’m saving all scraps from my veggies and use them to make stock. I’ve already made two homemade stocks which I then make into soup or freeze in ice cube trays.
2. Herbs that may spoil. I’ll either put them in ice cube trays and top with olive oil or cook at a low heat in the oven and make into dried herbs (if you don’t have a dehydrator).
3. Saving the ends of green onions, chives, leeks. I’ll keep the root ends in water until they roots, then replant them. It’s a practice I learned from my mom and one that’s “trending” right now. I have them in a bunch of shot glasses in the kitchen window.
4. Craft packages. I’ve been finding odds and ends around the house and putting them in little kits which I then send to my nephew. It can be as easy as pipe cleaners, pop sickle sticks, clothes pins, pom poms, cotton balls, and labels.
5. Pressing flowers. It’s a craft I’ve been practicing for years as I’m fortunate to have access to flowers. These can then be used on various crafts including cards, jewelry, etc.
I’ve been very conscious about saving scraps and “thoughtfully” cooking to get the most out of every vegetable and cut of meat. It’s interesting because it’s the way my grandparents were raised through the Great Depression. Everything was recycled or repurposed. If food scraps weren’t used for a stock, they were used to feed the worms, that were used to catch fish. It was endless.
Justin Schwartz, Executive Chef, Production
Because we are stuck at home we have spent a lot of time rethinking our space. We live in carrol gardens, and our apartment building had a front garden that was just sitting there waiting to be claimed. I called my landlord and asked to take over the front garden and they were thrilled to give over its care to us.
I dug up all the plants (which we of course composted) with my son (who had a cute little red shovel) and turned it into a lesson about ecosystems, plant roots, soil you name it! Hes really enjoyed being a part of the process and seeing the grass seed we planted together germinate and grow has really put a silver lining on social distancing.