We knew just where to find them! These creative students made a beautiful Taino Farm sign.

We knew just where to find them! These creative students made a beautiful Taino Farm sign.

Last week I wrote a post on the International School of Sosua’s Visit to Taino Farm. This week, Mr. B’s first grade class from the International School of Sosua invited Taino Farm to come see their science fair project on Taino Farm! Karin, Charlie and I headed to Sosua to see what they have been working on.

We found these outside of the classroom!

We found these outside of the classroom!

 

Mr B’s class’s science fair project on Taino Farm had three elements: aquaponics, permaculture and the Sun Oven. As we went around, they explained to us what each one was and the importance of them. It was amazing to see the students learning together as well as teaching each other. Children from other classes and grades also took turns coming in and learning about the science fair project on Taino Farm from Mr B’s class. They had the opportunity to ask questions and see photos from their field trip to the farm.

 

A student from grade one presenting his project on permaculture to us!

A student from grade one presenting his project on permaculture to us!

 

The students presenting their Sun Oven project told us about how it works and had posters of recipes like our banana cacao cookies you can make in the Sun Oven. For their aquaponics project they explained to us how to grow plants without using soil. They told us about the fish that produce nutrients for the plants from their waste and explained you can eat both the plants and the fish once they grow big enough! Lastly, for their permaculture project the students told us about why it’s important to take care of the earth and everything that lives here. They told us about planting seeds at the farm, learning about different fruits & plants and eating healthy farm food!

The kids made great posters for each aspect of their science projects!

The kids made great posters for each aspect of their science projects!

Overall, it was a wonderful chance to see how Taino Farm impacts our local community and we were thrilled by the information they took away from visiting us. Their science fair project on Taino Farm was educational and fun for everyone. It’s wonderful to know that our project is helping the next generation understand how fun and important living a sustainable lifestyle is. A big thanks to Mr. B for his amazing work with the students and to grade 1 for sharing their project with us!

Students presenting their project to one of the workers at the farm, Karin!

Students presenting their project to one of the workers at the farm, Karin!

 

Permaculture designer Charlie Durrant teaching the class about edible plants.

Permaculture designer Charlie Durrant teaching the class about edible plants.

Last week a group of first graders from the International School of Sosua paid a visit to Taino Farm! It was a wonderful chance to share our knowledge with some of the local community and provide the kids with an interactive learning opportunity.

An engaged student ready to ask a question about the nursery.

An engaged student ready to ask a question about the nursery.

ISS teacher, Mr. B set up the field trip because he wanted the kids to learn about the importance of taking care of the earth. He discovered our website and has been incorporating things from our blog posts into the class curriculum. Charlie Durrant, our permaculture designer, took the kids along with some of their parents and teachers on a tour of the farm. He explained some of the principles of permaculture and discussed with the group the importance of eating local organic foods. He also taught them how to identify key species of plants in the Dominican Republic such as moringa and banana trees. The kids had a chance to ask questions, do a seed-planting race, learn about the sun oven, and explore the farm!

One of the first graders from ISS learning how to plant seeds.

One of the first graders from ISS learning how to plant seeds.

It was an extraordinary learning opportunity for them because they had a chance to learn by interacting with all of their senses. At Taino Farm, we recognize that different people prefer different learning styles. We try to make our tour not only “hands on” but also auditorily and visually stimulating. The kids not only had the opportunity to interact with humans, plants and animals. They learned from our permaculture designer, volunteers, farmers, each other and taught us what they know!

The students had the opportunity to learn about our chickens and hold one of our cute little chicks!

The students had the opportunity to learn about our chickens and hold one of our cute little chicks!

They were an extraordinary group of kids, inquisitive and insightful. A big thanks to their truly amazing teacher Mr. B! We are very excited to attend their science fair on March 18th at the International School of Sosua where some of what they have learned from the farm will be featured in their projects.

Showing gratefulness to Monica Rush after a full day of touring and a eating a farm fresh healthy lunch!

Showing gratefulness to Monica Rush after a full day of touring and a eating a farm fresh healthy lunch!

Post and photos by Lynsey Wyatt.

For those of you who missed the announcement last week, we’ve begun working on an awesome new project: Taino Farm and eXtreme Hotel’s Organic Cookbook! Our goal is to create a resource that we can share with our eXtreme Hotel and Taino Farm’s community, as well as the rest of the world! We hope it will help motivate and guide us in our quest to make healthy, amazing food from sustainable resources.

We chose recipes with three things in mind:

1. Are the ingredients grown locally and sustainably? Read about the importance of growing and buying local and organic food in my previous article.

2. Is it affordable and easy to make?

3. Are the ingredients nutritious and delicious?

I’ll be posting the recipes individually on the Taino Farm blog and the whole thing will be available at the end. Look out for a “GL” throughout the recipes to signify which ingredients are grown locally!

Along with announcing the project, last week’s post included a super tasty recipe for a roasted eggplant and sweet potato salad. Following the salad trend, I decided to test out a recipe with one of my favorite food combinations- egg and avocado. The recipe also fit right into an article I was reading today on eating food that’s right for you that highlights the importance of the healthy fats found in egg and avocado.

A picture perfect plate of farm fresh greens, eggs, tomatoes and avocado.

A delicious plate of farm fresh egg and avocado salad.

Egg and Avocado Salad Recipe

Serve on top of fresh salad greens, or on top of thinly sliced fresh bread. This super-simple salad makes a great alternative to traditional mayo-thick egg salad, and is rich and satisfying.

Organic tomatoes, cucumber and avocado being prepped for an egg and avocado salad.

Preparing ingredients for a farm fresh egg and avocado salad.

-6-8 hard boiled eggs, cooled and shelled GL (Farm fresh are the best, stop by your local farmers market!)

-2 large ripe avocados GL (Out of season or don’t grow locally? Try pureed and cooked asparagus or broccoli!)

-½ cup thinly sliced yellow or red tomatoes GL

½ small red onion, thinly sliced GL

Approximately ¼ cup chopped cilantro GL

2 cloves garlic, minced GL

Juice of half a lime GL

Salt & pepper to taste

Dash hot sauce GL

1.)  Peel eggs and avocados and slice both into cubes in a bowl.

2.)  Add cilantro, tomato, garlic, salt & pepper, hot sauce, lime juice and onion and mix together.

Thanks to Kelsey Rush for the original recipes and our new manager and nutritionist Ariel Richards for her help making this egg and avocado salad a nutritious and delicious reality! Post and photos by Lynsey Wyatt.

 At the eXtreme Hotel and Taino Farm, our focus is on living a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. We all love eating delicious food but many of us don’t realize many of the tasty treats you find at a grocery store are detrimental to both your health and your environment. On the other hand, we know after the hundredth time that plain kale and olive oil salad can get pretty tiresome. So, we decided to put our wonderful produce from Taino Farm to use and create the Taino Farm and eXtreme Hotel’s Organic Cookbook. The collaborative project is designed to benefit not only the eXtreme staff, Taino farm workers and hotel guests, it can also be tweaked slightly (depending on what is local and available) to make healthy, amazing food wherever you are in the world. We chose recipes with three things in mind:

1. Are the ingredients grown locally and sustainably? Read about the importance of growing and buying local and organic food in my previous article.

2. Is it affordable and easy to make?

3. Are the ingredients nutritious and delicious?

I’ll be posting the recipes individually on the Taino Farm blog and the whole thing will be available at the end. Look out for a “GL” throughout the recipes to signify which ingredients are grown locally!

Eggplant and Sweet Potato Salad

A colorful and delicious salad for the Taino Farm and eXtreme Hotel's Organic Cookbook!

A colorful and delicious salad for the Taino Farm and eXtreme Hotel’s Organic Cookbook!

This salad is a nice break from traditional green salads.  All the vegetables in it can be grown locally in the north of the Dominican Republic, and are often in abundant supply.  Eggplants and sweet potatoes are great ground cover plants and thus are staples at our developing farm. It can be made in advance, and stores in the fridge quite well.  Just be sure to add the avocados and tomatoes right before serving.

Eggplants, sweet potatoes and tomatoes from Taino Farm as well as locally sourced garlic and cucumbers.

Eggplants, sweet potatoes and tomatoes from Taino Farm as well as locally sourced garlic and cucumbers.

Ingredients:

2 eggplants, purple or yellow GL (Or replace with squash or portabella mushrooms)

2 sweet potatoes GL

1-2 large avocados GL (Out of season or don’t grow locally? Try pureed and cooked asparagus or broccoli!)

4-6 tomatoes, yellow or red GL

1 whole cucumber, skinned and chopped GL

salt/pepper to taste

¼ onion finely chopped GL

2 cloves raw garlic, grated GL

a sprig or two of fresh tarragon GL

¼ olive oil (or coconut oil)

1.)  Slice eggplants into bite sized chunks, toss with about 1/8 cup olive oil. Place on a baking sheet and cook in the oven at about 375 for approximately half an hour, or until done.  Let cool.

2.)  Slice sweet potatoes into bite sized chunks and toss in 1/8 cup olive oil.  Bake at 375 until done, set aside to cool.

3.)  Slice tomatoes, cucumber & avocado into a large bowl.  Add the cooked vegetables, and the remaining ingredients.

Variations:  This salad can be made with any root vegetable (yucca, potato etc…) and with or without eggplant.  It is an example of a filling vegetarian side dish, utilizing local vegetables, that is both healthy and delicious.  The tarragon can be replaced with cilantro, or basil.  Also delicious with fresh lime juice served on top.

A giant bowl of locally sourced eggplant and sweet potato salad!

A giant bowl of locally sourced eggplant and sweet potato salad!

Note: Original recipes by Kelsey Rush. Post and photography by Lynsey Wyatt.

Living a sustainable lifestyle is all about getting creative and doing things yourself. On Tuesday the Taino Organic Farm crew combined the two and learned how to make a recycled mosaic sign!

Taino Organic Farm's new DIY mosaic sign! Made from colorful  recycled pieces of sea glass and ceramics.

Taino Organic Farm’s new DIY mosaic sign! Made from recycled materials.

How to Make a Recycled Mosaic Sign Step 1: Collect materials.

You will need:

-Colorful tiles. This is a great opportunity to recycle! You can collect pieces of broken glass from the street, sea glass from the beach, pieces of a broken mirror or that favorite broken mug you just can’t seem to let go of.

-Cement or grout.

-Hand shovel.

-Wood or picture frames to use as a mold.

-Plastic bags.

-Water.

-Sandpaper.

Colorful pieces of sea glass from a beach in Puerto Plata.

Pieces of sea glass from a beach in Puerto Plata.

How to Make a Recycled Mosaic Sign Step 2: Lay out the design you want for your sign. The Taino Organic Farm volunteers each made a letter for the “Taino” sign. Keep in mind the cement in between the pieces may alter the shape/size of your design a bit.

Karin designing the letter "O" in a recycled picture frame.

Karin designing the letter “O” in a recycled picture frame.

How to Make a Recycled Mosaic Sign Step 3: Mix together the water and cement/grout. The texture should be thick but spreadable (for minimal effort sanding you want to make the top as smooth as possible whilst still thick enough that it won’t take forever to dry).

Selin and Peyton getting ready to combine the water and cement to pour into the frames.

Selin and Peyton getting ready to combine the water and cement to pour into the frames.

How to Make a Recycled Mosaic Sign Step 4: Pour the cement into individual frames and let sit for 1.5-2 hours.

Selin and Peyton pouring a cement mixture into the frames to set.

Selin and Peyton pouring a cement mixture into the frames to set.

How to Make a Recycled Mosaic Sign Step 5: Gently push tiles into the cement, embedding fully. Use a damp sponge to remove any residue on the tops and smooth out any cracking in the cement.

How to Make a Recycled Mosaic Sign Step 6: Let dry overnight and then admire your new Recycled Mosaic Sign!

Peyton and Karin designing letters for the sign together.

Peyton and Karin designing letters for the sign together.

Have any project ideas for the farm? Leave us a comment here or on our Facebook page!