Cafe Kudzu - Eating Invasive Plants at Environmental Camp

Getting Ready to Open Cafe Kudzu
Members of "Invasive Alien Plants and Animals: Friend or Foe to the Environment" led by Dr. Jay Bolin always harvest young kudzu leaves and then deep fry the kudzu leaves during a fun learning activity at Redesigning the Future.

At the end of the week, the environmental campers from the "Invasive" group make fried kudzu and other invasive species specials to share with fellow campers during the end of camp "What We Learned" showcase.

This year, Bolin's group of campers went all out by setting up a full blown cafe and serving a variety of dishes ranging from kudzu quiche to a savory soup. They of course shared their fried kudzu too.

Ready or Not - It's Time for the Doors to Open on the Cafe
The "Invasive" group campers work hard getting all the food ready in a small campus kitchen and then set up for serving. When the camp crowd arrives, it's pedal to the metal getting samples of salad, soup, smoothie, kudzu tea, quiche, and fried kudzu handed out to the entire camp.

Everyone is asking, "But, what does it taste like?" That is a little hard to explain, because kudzu doesn't taste quite like anything else. It is flavorful though, and most campers end up enjoying a new but unusual food.

Campers Storm the Cafe
Service took around a half hour this year and was steady from start to finish. The sponsoring group was in fast motion as they filled and filled sample cups, but they were thrilled that their cafe was so well received and that they could share what they'd learned during the week.

Then . . . whew. Every member of the camp and camp team had tried the wares with most finding the dishes really delicious. Then, it was off to see what other camp groups had to share about their Environmental Camp experiences.


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