Case Study: Harfest day at Wicor Primary School
On Wednesday 30 September, pupils at Wicor Primary School in Portchester celebrated British Food Fortnight with a unique and fabulous ‘Harfest’ Day. This new event was organised with the support of local community-interest food group, Hampshire Fare.
Over recent years the school has created exceptional environmental learning resources such as a thriving allotment, hen coop, orchard and apiary. These impressive grounds played host to the event and fortunately the weather was kind with a beautiful bright sunny autumn day.
Local producers, chefs and experts gave their time to support the event which involved every pupil in the school. Year 6 worked with professional chef, Paul Watts, from Meon Marriot Hotel who demonstrated how to bone and cook a Hampshire chalk stream trout. The children perfected their chopping, peeling and cutting skills when they set about making a tomato salsa.
Year 5 worked with the chef from Rick Stein’s restaurant in Winchester at a bespoke outdoor demo kitchen in the school field. To remind the pupils of their coastal location they learnt how to cook mussels and they met Larry the live lobster! After some initial reservations the pupils loved tasting the food.
Year 4 were in the hands of Min Raisman, founder of Fit2Cook. They made roast vegetable tarts from ingredients harvested from the school allotment. Meanwhile Year 3 pupils worked with BeeGood’s Simon Cavill and the school’s resident beekeeper, Mr Warren. They learnt about the life of bees before popping on beekeeper outfits and stepping into the apiary.
Will Dobson from Hill Farm Juice brought tonnes of apples and a press to show Year 2 how to juice. Of course plenty of tasting went on! Year 1 pupils foraged for edible delights in the school grounds with Jon Stokes from the British Tree Council before trying jams and chutneys made from foraged ingredients.
Year R students went on a ‘Hog Hunt’ with Tracy Nash and Amanda Buckenham from Hampshire Fare before making Veg Heads from vegetables provided by Sunnyfields.
Children worked with staff from Riverford to make vegetable kebabs. The event was also supported by Garsons and The Southern-Cooperative. Mark Wildman, head teacher of Wicor Primary School commented on the success of the event:
“The team of professionals brought the subject of food and harvest to life in the most engaging and inspiring ways. The day was packed with rich learning experiences as 436 hugely enthusiastic children worked in every space in our grounds to learn first hand about foraging, harvesting, cooking and local food sources. Professional chefs, cooks, organic fruit and veg providers and food experts were helped by 50,000 bees, four chalk stream trout and a lobster to inspire and engage the children.
The children had an incredible day and went home buzzing about the experiences they had and also more knowledgeable about what their local area has to offer in terms of food.
For me this has to be one of the most engaging and exciting learning experiences I can ever remember. It was a privilege to be part of such a special day.”
“They’re well good - I’ll have some more of those.” Marshall Year 5 commenting on the mussels which he’d never eaten before.