By Dru Kee, Food Service Director
This year marks Camp Ondessonk’s fifth of sustainable farming. With the use of indoor seed starting, a greenhouse, 1600 square foot plot, and a summer Farm to Table manager this is sure to be one of the best years yet. With the help of volunteers, staff, Counselors in Training, and interested senior campers we’ll be serving some of the best food that can be grown in Southern Illinois. We will also be continuing to grow sustainable and healthy food using organic methods and relying on open pollination as well as taking advantage of a few deliciously reliable hybrid plants to ensure there will be plenty of fresh fruits and veggies to go around.
Using succession planting, we’ll be serving a variety of romaine, crisp head and leaf lettuces to provide a healthy base to salads from our garden bar. Not to be outdone by last year, we’ll be growing a variety of new colored tomatoes as well as more common red types. They are sure to add layers of color and sweet antioxidant rich flavor. Cucumbers are always a hit on the garden bar and this year will be no exception. We are preparing to grow many of these fibrous, juicy fruits. We are also testing out some new varieties that you might not see at your local farmers market or grocery store. Whether we eat them raw or cooked and stuffed, we will enjoy fresh sweet peppers towards the middle and end of the summer during their peak growing season. We’ll be growing small and large bells along with giant Italians rich in vitamin C. We will also be nourished by nutrient-dense superfoods such as kale and chard. We’ll be rounding out the garden bar and side dishes with these nutritional greens.
In addition to taking steps to expand our garden, Camp Ondessonk is taking steps toward being free of disposable one time use plastic. This year all disposable utensils, cups, plates, bowls, and to go boxes are made from 100% renewable resources and will be composted right here at Camp Ondessonk. Disposable cutlery is made of plant-based plastic, and colored green to show the distinction. All to go containers, plates, and bowls are made of wheat fiber making them both easily renewable and compostable. Disposable cups used at the trading post are just as environmentally friendly with a green stripe making our environmental statement stand out. This improvement, in addition to our farming efforts, is another way that Camp Ondessonk is continuing to be environmentally conscience and marching forward with our sustainability initiative.
Sustainable Farming Plant List 2019
Tomatoes – Amish Paste, Isis Candy Cherry, John Baer, Pink Berkeley Tie Die, Red Zebra, Green Zebra, Vernissage Mix, Fourth of July, and Early Girl Hybrids
Peppers – Ruby King, Quadrato D’Asti Rosso, and Great Stuff Hybrid
Cucumbers – A & C Pickling, Early Fortune, Long Fellow, True Lemon, and Crystal Apple
Lettuce – Forellenschluss, Grandpa Admire’s, Red Iceberg, Flame, and Slobolt
Kale – Lacinato
Chard – Five Color Silverbeet
Pollinator Attractors – Bronze Fennel, Agastache, and Borage