Planting & Preserving with Little Explorers

Daisy approached me about helping at the little explorers section of the Harvest Festival at Sovereign Hill in the aftermath of the Grampians Grape escape.

Daisy had been organising at Sovereign Hill as part of The Heritage Festival. The organisers wanted me to create a station where children could plant and preserve fruits and vegetables. "Yes! Of course" If it has anything to do with engaging little ones in food, I am always available! 

After arriving at Sovereign Hill late Friday evening, I had an early night to be fresh and ready for the kids on Saturday morning. 

At 5:30am, it was pitch black, and I was too excited to go back to sleep, so I got out of bed and unpacked my car with the items I needed for the day. 

A packed a variety of cutting boards, knives, peelers, containers, labels, a variety of preserves, recipes, and warm clothes of course as the temperature was set to top 11 degrees. 

I headed over to the Little Explorers section and what an amazing set up. The space was very colourful, warm, and full of activities, very inviting for the little ones. I had one large table with an amazing amount of fruit to work with and with two big garden beds from Little Veg Patch. I want to thank Daisy and Co for their amazing skills and flair in setting up the section. Very talented people.

On Saturday and Sunday, I worked with 200 little ones. Little Explorers planted pea seeds in tubs they could take home and were able to take one of two recipes I created for them. Sweet Pea Pasta or Sweet Pea Dip. These recipes were written in a fun, easy way to follow for children. 

My little explorers could then move on to the preserving station with me. In the morning, I made sugar syrup. Apples and pears were plentiful at the station. As soon as the first little one began peeling, I realised that the peeling component would be time-consuming, so I decided to scrap it and concentrate on cutting and preserving instead. I would either cut the fruit for the little ones and show them how to use a knife, or if they were older, and with their parents' permission, I would show them how to use the knife and let them cut under my guidance. After they had finished their jars of goodies, little explorers could choose between pear crumble or apple slice recipes. 

A lot of cool, passionate, talented little humans made my day, and they blew my mind. After I finished the work on Sunday at 5pm, I packed the station up with the help of volunteers, packed the car, and began the trek back to Dimboola. The trip took about 2.5 hours. Having spent all weekend with little ones and discussing food, I drove with a big smile on my face - Simply the best!


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