Food Camp: Day 1

Today our theme was “Building our food web. Where does it all begin?”

We began the day with a “Pepper Party” to review C.A.R.E.S. and get to know each other. We then all gathered for our flag ceremony. The groups are divided into four colors of peppers: Green Peppers are with Ms. Dawn, Yellow Peppers are with Ms. Nicole, Orange Peppers are with Ms. Madeline, and Mr. Julian has the Red Peppers. Groups tie-dyed shirts today by the barn and will receive them on Thursday. Campers are invited to wear them for the last day of camp on Friday!

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On the first day we take a wagon ride around Tollgate so campers can see where they will be spending their week.

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Animals chores included milking Jenna, a Toggenburg goat, collecting eggs from the chickens, or feeding and freshening water for the goats, calves, and sheep, depending on the group. Each group will have a chance to assist with each of the animal chores during the week. Other jobs included sweeping the barn and spraying off the shady patio.

For Garden Kitchen, we had someone come in to teach the campers how to make mozzarella cheese. They got to stir the milk while it was cooking, watch the citric acid and rennet get added to the milk, and knead the cheese to get it to the smooth consistency of mozzarella. Campers sampled their cheese in the afternoon and will be using the rest later this week to make pizza with.

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Mozzarella Cheese

  •     1 1⁄2 teaspoons citric acid, dissolved in 1/4 cup cool water
  •     1 gallon pasteurized whole milk (not ultra-pasteurized)
  •     1⁄4 teaspoon liquid rennet, unchlorinated water or 1⁄4 rennet tablet, diluted in 1/4 cup cool unchlorinated (distilled water)
  •     1 teaspoon pickling salt (non-iodized)


  1. Dissolve citric acid in ¼ cup cool water.
  2. Dissolve rennet in ¼ cup distilled water, do not confuse with the above water!
  3. Slowly heat the milk in a stainless steel pot to 55 degrees. While stirring, add the citric acid solution to the milk and mix thoroughly.
  4. Heat the milk to 90 degrees over medium-low heat.
  5. Remove milk from heat. Gently stir in the diluted rennet with an up-and-down motion for 30 seconds. Let it sit for five minutes with a lid.
  6. Cut curd into one inch squares.
  7. Then let the milk sit still while heating it to between 105 degrees. In about 5 to 8 minutes, the curds should be pulling away from the sides of the pot. Turn off the heat.
  8. The curds will look like thick yogurt and have a bit of shine to them, and the whey will be clear. If the whey is still milky white, wait a few more minutes before turning off the heat. Scoop out the curds with a slotted spoon and put into a 2-quart microwavable bowl. Press the curds gently with your hands, pouring off as much whey as possible.
  9. Microwave the curds on high for 1 minute.
  10. Drain off all excess whey. Gently fold the cheese over and over (as in kneading bread) with your hand or a spoon. This distributes the heat evenly throughout the cheese, knead and reheat until 145 degrees, which will not stretch until it is too hot to touch (145 degrees inside the curd). You may want to don rubber gloves at this point, as the cheese will be extremely hot to the touch.
  11. Microwave two more times for 35 seconds each; add salt to taste after the second time. After each heating, knead again to distribute the heat.
  12. Knead quickly until it is smooth and elastic. When the cheese stretches like taffy, it’s done. If the curds break instead of stretch, they are too cool and need to be reheated.
  13. When the cheese is smooth and shiny, roll it into small balls and eat while warm. Or place them in a bowl of ice water for half an hour to bring the inside temperature down rapidly; this will produce a consistent smooth texture throughout the cheese. Although best eaten fresh, it can be stored in the refrigerator at this point.

Chocolate Cherry Crunch

  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup crispy wheat cereal squares
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
  1. Preheat oven to 300°.
  2. Line a jelly-roll pan with parchment paper. Coat parchment with cooking spray.
  3. Combine oats and next 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Combine honey and canola oil in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat 2 minutes or until warm. Remove from heat. Add vanilla and chocolate, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Gently stir chocolate mixture into oat mixture.
  4. Spread chocolate mixture onto prepared pan. Bake at 300° for 28 minutes, stirring twice. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Stir in cranberries. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.


Fruit Slushie

  • ½ cup Sparkling Water
  • 1 cup of Ice
  • 1 ½ cups Mixed Frozen Berries


Combine ingredients in high powered blender until consistency of a slushie.

Consider add ins, like vanilla, honey or mint leaves.

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