Edible Schoolyard teaches kids to love their fruits and vegetables. They also have one of the great parties of the year, the Edible Schoolyard Spring Benefit.
When you've been waiting waiting for summer to hit, it's hard to think about the Tuesday after Memorial Day weekend as anything less than a bummer.
And yet, I'm jealous of the students at PS 7 in East Harlem and their plans for today, Tuesday, May 31. This morning, the kids are taking a super-deluxe field trip to one of the country's great restaurants, Gramercy Tavern. It's made possible by Edible Schoolyard NYC, the amazing organization that brings mini farms to public schools and makes children crave fresh berries and carrots. (I once watched a 10-year-old bum out that there were only black currants in the garden of her Brooklyn school, PS 216; she was craving red ones.) A few weeks later, the PS 216 students will visit Gramercy Tavern. (Hopefully they'll have red currants in case that young girl makes the trip.)
It's amazing to hear a few numbers from ESY: About 76% of parents at the New York City schools where ESY is in effect say their children now eat more healthy foods at home. Some 75% of parents report that their children are more interested in cooking. And, in the East Harlem school, salad bar consumption has gone from 0 percent to 19 percent in two years.
Edible Schoolyard doesn't just make kids happy. They have one of the great parties of the year, the Edible Schoolyard Spring Benefit. Chefs from 25 outstanding restaurants around the world came to cook. There was Jessica Koslow from Sqirl in LA, who had wunderkind Flynn McGarry as her sous chef. Dave Chang made seven-spice beef brisket for Seth Myers. It was also a great way to taste Eric Werner's Yucatan ceviche since it's impossible to get into his Tulum restaurant Hartwood. And the great Ruth Rogers made a special trip from her London restaurant The River Cafe.
Here are four other things to make you wish you were at ESY Spring Benefit.
To decorate the Skylight Room at Moynihan Station, Van Wyck & Van Wyck conceived of perhaps the perfect Edible Schoolyard decor: They hung hundreds of bunches of carrots from the high ceilings.
The auction included this brilliant package: The opportunity to skip the line and the wait at eight of the hardest-to-get-into restaurants worldwide, from Franklin's Barbecue in Austin, to Hartwood, and Noma in Copenhagen. New Yorkers love to skip lines: It went for $72,000. (Worth every penny, I say.)
Award for dramatic dish went to JJ Johnson of The Cecil in Harlem. For his quite literal Dessert Explosion, the Cecil team made Baked Alaska, complete with Rice Krispie treats and 24 carat gold leaf chocolate sauce; the
The event raised more than ONE MILLION DOLLARS for Edible Schoolyard NYC!