Seniors Help Harvest For Community Food Pantry

On October 14th, Sisters With Purpose (SWP) held their bi-weekly food pantry in the Brooklyn Sports Club (BSC), which consisted of bread, cereal, canned and dry goods. Since the summer, additional items have been added to the grocery distribution list, such as freshly grown produce from the Spring Creek Recreational Fund’s (SCRF) Urban Garden Classroom (UGC). Prior to SWP’s food pantry giveaway, Garden Educator, Jacqui Roytman, asked the Spring Creek Senior Partner’s Garden Club if they were interested in helping her
donate the remaining fall’s harvest for the food pantry. The members were more than happy to combine
both their weekly activity in the UGC with helping a community organization.

First, the seniors harvested the last of the season’s tomatoes and four large pumpkins (the seniors planted these pumpkins during the summer for the children to either eat or decorate for Halloween.) While they were finishing up the fall harvesting, Roytman used her garden shears to chop down large callaloo stalks that reached up to 4 feet in height. Upon filling up a wagon with several pounds of callaloo stalks, the seniors all sat at a table to strip the leaves and packaged them in Ziploc bags.

Once all of the items were packaged, Roytman prepared them for delivery for the food pantry with
a callaloo recipe in case participants did not know how to cook it. Callaloo is a Caribbean dish
originating from West Africa, and is similar to spinach or collard greens. However, a member of the Spring
Creek Senior Partner’s Garden Club described callaloo to be coarser and crunchier than other leafy vegetables after it has been steamed or fried.

Photo by: Amanda Moses

According to, a cooking site, there is a traditional Jamaican style for preparing callaloo. Here’s what they suggest:

Callaloo Jamaican Style Recipe

By Immaculate Bites

Prep Time: 30 mins

Cook Time: 15 mins

Total Time: 45 mins

 Callaloo Jamaican Style – A vibrant, healthy and fresh way of cooking leafy vegetables. Quick, easy and delicious!

Course: Main

Cuisine: Caribbean

Calories: 67 kcal



  • 1 bunch of fresh Callaloo kale, collard greens (about 11/2 pound)
  • 2 thick bacon strips cut in pieces
  • 3-4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 medium onion
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme
  • 1 fresh tomato
  • 1 whole scotch bonnet pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3- 4 ripe plantains
  • cooking spray- or very little cooking oil
  • Salt and pepper optional


  1. Cut leaves and soft stems from the callaloo branches, them soak in a bowl of cold water for about 5-10 minutes or until finish with prep.
  2. Proceed to slicing the onions, mincing the garlic and dicing the tomatoes. Set aside
  3. Remove callaloo from water cut in chunks.
  4. Place bacon on saucepan and cook until crispy. Then add onions, garlic, thyme, stir for about a minute or more
  5. Add tomatoes; scotch bonnet pepper, smoked paprika. Sauté for about 2-3 more minutes.
  6. Finally add vegetable, salt, mix well, and steamed for about 6-8 minutes or until leaves are tender. Add a tiny bit of water as needed. Adjust seasonings and turn off the heat.
  7. Using a sharp knife cut both ends off the plantain. This will make it easy to grab the skin of the plantains. Slit a shallow line down the long seam of the plantain; peel only as deep as the peel. Remove plantain peel by pulling it back.
  8. Slice the plantain into medium size lengthwise slices and set aside.
  9. Coat a large frying pan with cooking oil spray. Spray the tops of the plantains with a generous layer of oil spray and sprinkle with salt, freshly ground pepper.
  10. Let the plantains “fry” on medium heat, shaking the frying pan to redistribute them every few minutes.
  11. As the plantains brown, continue to add more cooking oil spray, salt and pepper (if needed) until they have reached the desired color and texture.
  12. Remove and serve with callaloo