Cheremoya Sixth Grade/Hollywood Orchard May Fieldtrip
photo by Mariya Stepanyan
The first ever Hollywood Orchard/Cheremoya School fieldtrip was a successful landmark day for all parties involved. As soon as we arrived in Debbi Aldahl’s class, met the kids and handed out our amazing workbook, The Fruit Trees of Beachwood Canyon, we were honorable friends. The thirty 6th graders and ten Orchardistas divided into groups of six students with two orchard members. We were clearly pleased to walk out of the school (first had to take a group photo) then up the west side of Beachwood stopping at almost every fruiting thing to talk about it’s virtues or threats.
We sampled whatever fruit was ripe along the way. We picked lemons from the tree of an agreeable neighbor. We snaked our way through our vegetable garden where the kids dared to eat Nasturium flowers. The garden which demonstrates sustainable practices, was lush with veggies like Kale, Spinach, Broccoli and Beets, thanks to the rainwater catchment, the localized composting, and the greywater system feeding the garden of eatin’.
We were mistaken to think the mile walk to the Pullman’s from the school might tax those kids. When they got to the cul-de-sac they were raring and ready to make guacamole, adding their individual touch of spicy Nasturtium or Mint to taste. They ate lunch (provided by our own kitchen crew) while Bob Mintzer, world class sax player, entertained us with musical tidbits and in between illustrated the importance of good nutrition for stamina and health on the road. Then Minh and Patti from the Beachwood Cafe showed up with cupcakes doused with a daub of Loquat jam. Minh gave an inspiring talk about the habits of healthy eating.
Everyone got to take home a Mother’s Day gift that they made from vegetable and herb seedlings (donated by Papaya Tree Nursery/Alex Silber and the California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers/ Steve List)), that they arranged in a glass bowl and wrapped with ribbons. And finally, each one of those Cheremoya school kids went home with a Cheremoya ready to eat, and memory built to last.
- John Allen
In the words of Debbi, their amazing teacher,from her letter the next week:
“Words cannot express my gratitude for an unforgettable day! I think the looks on my students’ faces said it all, and everywhere I turned I heard “This is the best field trip ever!”"Can you believe this is all for us?!” The entire day was amazing! You organized it perfectly, and your volunteers were great with the kids. Everything was wonderful. Besides all of the activities, the impressive homegrown fruit and vegetables, lemonade and guacamole, the yummy sandwiches, and the wonderful cupcakes, the Mothers’ Day planters were the dessert with the mulberry on top! I really can’t thank you enough. As soon as our CSTs are over, the students will send you a little thank you. I’m sure they will be talking about their experience for days, and I know they will never forget it!”
Photos by Bridie Macdonald