Oregano Bundles and the Oregon Trail

by Megan Conolly

This week marks the last week of the 2015-2016 Rabun County school year.  One of the last units that 4th graders works on is the Oregon Trail.  I was invited into Mrs. Gillespie’s classroom at Rabun County Elementary to speak about how pioneers prepared food for the trail.  We initially spoke about the reasons the Oregon Trail happened, how long it was, where it started and when it happened.  We transitioned into the list of food supplies families were advised to take which included: a barrel of flour, 150# bacon, 60# of peas, 25# of rice, 25# of sugar, a keg of lard, 30# dried fruit, vinegar, salt, pepper and dried herbs.  We also talked about what the pioneers hunted and gathered along the trail to supplement their provisions. During the second part of class we went out to the garden and harvested oregano.  The students then learned how to make their own oregano bundles to dry at home. We discussed how and why food was (and still is) preserved by drying.  The students enjoyed the process as the smell of oregano permeated the room.

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