Kids flock to Zenger ‘Holiday School’

See the fun youngsters had at one of the series of ‘camp’ days, hosted by Zenger Farm …

Pine State Biscuits chef and owner Kevin Atchley introduces a commercial cooking utensil during a session of the Zenger Farms Winter Camp.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

When the final school bell rings before the year-end Holiday break, many kids want to forget all about education, and just spend their Christmas vacation playing or goofing off.

Nonetheless, the Zenger Farm Winter Camp series of programs, for 2nd to 6th graders was “sold out” in nearly all of their Holiday break classes.

On December 23, East Portland News was invited to audit the “In the Kitchen with Pine State Biscuits” camp.

Pine State Biscuits chef Rob Kato gives hands-on instructions for making home-made whipped cream.

Campers spent the day in Zenger’s farmhouse kitchen, “scratch baking” with guest chef Kevin Atchley, owner of Portland’s own Pine State Biscuits.

“These kids are the future of the cooking and culinary world,” smiled Atchley. “They are learning the skills that I learned later in life.”

He and chef/manager Rob Kato, along with the crack team of educators at the farm, made it a fun day of pie making and baking.

Glencoe Elementary student Ben LeJeune tries out a creative way of whipping cream.

“All of the educational programs of Zenger Farm are near and dear to my heart,” Atchley noted, “I am on the board of directors here. I respect and admire the work that everyone does here. I want to support them as much as they are supporting the community here.”

The best part of the day, for him, Atchley reflected, is seeing the kids learn how to be a “prep crew” such as one would find in a commercial restaurant. “Look in their eyes – they’re having a lot of fun!”

Their new Winter Camps have proved popular, says Zenger Farm’s Communications Director Laleña Dolby.

Zenger Farm’s Communications Director Laleña Dolby watched the swirl of activity.

“This is our first year of producing Winter Camps,” Dolby commented. “We felt it was important to keep kids engaged throughout the year. Even in the wintertime, there is a lot going on around the farm, and in the kitchen! This is a great way to keep students engaged throughout the year.”

Canned pumpkin and frozen pie shells, step aside! Campers Ben Hall, Oliver Gaido, Miles Blackwell, Ben LeJeune, Eliot Gaido transform Zenger’s Baby Pam pumpkins, fresh pie dough, and whipped cream into “scratch-baked” Harvest Pumpkin Pie.

To learn about upcoming educational programs, for both kids and adults, to be held at Zenger Farm, 11741 SE Foster Road 97266, visit their website: CLICK HERE.

© 2015 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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