The Perfect Summer Weekend

sunflower 4Come join us for a weekend perfect for the whole family at our second annual “Carolyn’s Garden” Sunflower Festival on Saturday August 3rd and Sunday August 4th from 10am to 3pm. The weekend will be featuring our gorgeous sunflower field that will be open for all ages to explore and pick your own flowers from and will serve as a great background for your summer photos. Pack a lunch or grab a bite to eat from a food truck and enjoy a picnic complete with fun lawn games, crafts and activities for the kids, and ice cream!sunflower 3

Tickets for the event are $10 per adult and include 5 sunflowers. Additional sunflowers, as well as zinnias and amaranth can be purchased for $1 each. Adult tickets do not include kids’ activities, but a $5 Kids Pass will be available for purchase the day of the event. Kid Passes do not include picked flowers, but they can be purchased separately. Kids under 3 are free. Adult tickets can be purchased ahead of time here.

Read the rest of the July Sprout here!

Photos by Norm Eggert Photography.

Our Intern’s Experiences

Our summer interns have already been at our farm and orchard for a month! Since they see so many aspects of the farm, we asked them to tell us about their experienced so far. If you need a refresher on who is interning with us this year, you can read about them here.

Grafton Farm Interns (Maggie, Ellen, and Gabby)

farm photoAs we move further into July, the farm is transitioning from tending season to harvesting season. We are all very excited about the progress on the farm, especially the interns! Most of us haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing the harvesting process here at CHP. Recently, with the help of our volunteers, we harvested cases of lettuce, kale, and collard greens that were distributed to the Worcester County Food Bank. During our tour of the food bank, we even got to see the greens that we harvested separated out on pallets to be distributed to folks in the area. Spending the summer as an intern at CHP is really rewarding and we’ve been learning so much with the help of the staff and regular team leaders that come in each week. It’s been incredibly uplifting to witness each stage the vegetables go through, from planting, tending, and then setting up irrigation, to now harvesting. Also, seeing volunteers return excited to get to tend to the crops that they planted is so awesome!! What was really surprising to us was seeing how involved the volunteers really are in everything we do on the farm. They are absolutely vital in the operation here at CHP and we are feeling very grateful for the amount of people that are involved.

Harvard Orchard Interns (Josh and Carly)

orchard photoIn our time at the Orchard, we have been doing the out-of-season maintenance that is required to produce the apples that CHP distributes every year. The orchard is 75 acres, so there is quite a bit of work that must be done in order to ensure the quality and health of our apple trees. One of our biggest projects has been painting the trunks of the apple trees white to protect them from sun damage in the winter. In the winter, the tree trunks are so much darker than the snow, that they get burned in the sun, which can kill them. We have also spent a lot of time replacing mouse guards, small wire cages that are wrapped around the tree trunks to prevent mouse damage to the bark. These tasks seem tedious, but are crucial to the growth of the trees, and they ensure apples will continue to thrive year after year. In addition to maintaining the apple trees, we have done some general upkeep work around the orchard, such as clearing plant growth from the fences and breaking down an unused greenhouse, which opens up more land to be utilized by CHP in the future. 

Some of the biggest surprises have been realizing just how much work goes into growing just one crop and how much labor goes into the food I eat that I don’t think about. Additionally, it has been eye opening to learn just how much science is used in farming.

Read the rest of the July Sprout here!

We need you!

TeamLeader.MikeBenSarkis.6.19.2015Have you been thinking about volunteering and getting involved in your community?  Do you have strong communication and leadership skills? Would you like to support hunger relief efforts while spending time in the great outdoors? Does leading diverse groups of volunteers in farm activities sound of interest? Would you consider volunteering in a key position at Community Harvest Project as a Volunteer Team Leader? If so, we need you!  

We are actively seeking engaging, active individuals to help us “cultivate community” and help to organize and lead our daily work with volunteer groups. We host groups of all ages and backgrounds in daily farm activity and the Volunteer Team Leader position is the key to our success. You would join a very active and engaged group of Volunteer Team Leaders that have made Community Harvest Project the dynamic organization that it is today. The commitment is as much or as little as you would like it to be. We will work to train you and get you ready for the role, but we guarantee that you will have a great experience as part of our team. We have opportunities at both our North Grafton farms (April through October) and our Harvard orchard (September/October).    

Come join our community in supporting local hunger relief through volunteer farming.  Please share this widely with anyone that you may think is interested, bring a friend and come join our team. For more information please visit the volunteer page on our website or email the Community Harvest Project team at volunteer@community-harvest.org

Read the rest of the July Sprout here!

Volunteer of the Month: Access TCA

06.25.2019-accesstca.jpg

This month we would like to recognize the entire team from Access TCA for their continuing support and partnership of the Community Harvest Projects mission.  This creative and spirited team holds their annual volunteer visit at our Grafton farm and we are very lucky to have them on our side. Just a few short weeks ago their visit coincided with our first push on tending (read as weeding) at the farm.  Not being afraid of a difficult task this team jumped right in and really did impressive work in our fields. They left us with almost four of our fields completely weeded and with the second stage of plant growth in a much better place now that those pesky weeds were out of their way.   What’s even more impressive is that they approached the task of the day with amazing team work and had fun while they were here.  

Not wanting to stop their work with a one day visit however this team continues to find creative ways to support the mission and help us do better work presenting ourselves to the outside world.  Their creativity in marketing, design and fabrication is taking shape this year on several fronts. Their design team has been instrumental in helping to “cultivate community” with support on t-shirt design work, signage throughout the farm and materials to help market our upcoming Sunflower Festival.  Their fabrication team has been hard at work helping to update our learning garden, provide benches for our volunteers to enjoy the landscape and signage to help us get our message out. We can not say enough about how much we appreciate their support and also how lucky we feel to be able to work with this great team.  

Please join us in a round of applause and a heartfelt thank you to our friends at Access TCA.  It takes a community to do the work of volunteer farming to support hunger relief and we truly appreciate all of their work on our behalf.  

Read the rest of the July Sprout here!

What’s Cooking: Lemon Salad Dressing

_DSF1752We’re deep into salad season. There is nothing better than picking fresh vegetables right from the garden, making a quick vinaigrette and tossing together a salad. We’ve made dressing with kids as young as 2, who got great joy from picking the oregano, squeezing the lemons, measuring out the other ingredients, and giving everything a good shake in a jar (which you can do instead of the whisking suggested below).

Salad dressing is so easily adapted based on your tastes and the dish you’re making, so we hope you’ll give making it a try at home. There is still time for your child to join us in the garden this summer for more harvesting, cooking, and eating.

Broccoli Head Chefs (9-12 year olds)

Pickle Party – Wednesday, August 7th, 2019, 2:30-4:30pm

Celery Sous Chefs (5-8 year olds)

Garden Scavenger Hunt – Thursday, August 1st, 2019, 2:30-3:30

Garden Scavenger Hunt – Tuesday, August 13th, 2019, 2:30-3:30

Lemon Oregano Dressing

  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • A few grinds of fresh black pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil

In a small bowl whisk together all ingredients except the olive oil. While whisking, slowly add in the olive oil. Taste and adjust seasoning. 

Read the rest of the July Sprout here!

In Memory of Carolyn Wedholm Ambrose

DSC_0003Carolyn was our beloved Development Manager and we are heartbroken that she has recently passed away after a very brave battle with cancer. She cared deeply about Community Harvest Project and worked tirelessly to raise awareness about the food insecure population in Worcester County and beyond. Carolyn constantly and successfully put smiles on the faces of her family, friends and strangers through her humble and infectious spirit. She always seemed to have this uncanny ability to brighten up the room she entered. Her hearty laugh always heard throughout the room, followed by a little dance jig and a big smile. Her contagious sense of humor and genuine care for others drew people close to her and made them instantly feel comfortable. She will be missed by many but left a lasting impact on all those who had the great fortune of knowing her and we will always remember her spirit, energy and grace.

Read the rest of the June Sprout here.

Summer Event to Support Hunger Relief

We have a great event this summer:

https___cdn.evbuc.com_images_63808867_255253668191_1_original“Carolyn’s Garden” Sunflower Festival Fundraiser

August 3 & 4 // 10am – 3pm

This summer event celebrates one of our favorite summer flowers with activities for all ages, including a gorgeous sunflower field for exploring and as a photo backdrop, pick your own sunflowers and zinnias, crafts and activities for the kids, and a picnic area and food trucks. Tickets are available here.

This event is in memory of our Development Manager, Carolyn Ambrose. We are heartbroken that she has recently passed away after a very brave battle with cancer. She cared deeply about Community Harvest Project and worked tirelessly to raise awareness about the food insecure families in Worcester County. This event was her vision that she made come to life in 2018. We continue it in her honor.

Read the rest of the June Sprout here!

Welcome, Interns!

_MG_5193

June is always an exciting time here at the farm as our newest crop of interns arrive for the summer. Some of these students may have ended classes one day and the very next day find themselves here at the farm. That’s the type of commitment and drive that these students apply to spending their time here learning while they help us drive our mission forward. Over the summer they will not only be able to dabble in their specific area of interest on our farms but they will also have the opportunity to learn from our staff, partner agencies and many of our regular volunteer visitors. Our hope is that they will leave us with a much more thorough understanding of our work and a vision of how they will apply that to their future. Please join us in welcoming our 2019 Summer Interns as we begin our summer season.  

This year we are hosting Gabby Oliveira from Brandeis University, Maggie Tammaro from Wheaton College, Ellen Walsh from Worcester State University, Josh Hurwitz from Bates College and Carly Dillis from Clark University (not pictured).  In just a few short weeks they have already experienced all that Mother Nature has to offer and learned from some of our best Volunteer Team Leaders. If you see them during one of your visits please introduce yourself and join us in welcoming them to the team!    

Read the rest of the June Sprout here!

Photo by Norm Eggert.

Our Crops Need You

6.19 (5)Thanks to thousands of volunteers, all of the seedlings in our greenhouses have been successfully transplanted into the fields. Now we focus our attention to irrigating, fertilizing, weeding, and trellising to ensure that each row of crops can produce fresh vegetables to be donated for hunger relief. There is one additional factor that can guarantee the success of each row: you. Your adoption provides the necessary funds to care for the row through the growing season through the donation of the vegetables to a neighbor in our community who is experiencing hunger.

When you Adopt-a-Row chose from Broccoli, Cabbage, Collard greens, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Okra, Peppers, Summer Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, Winter Squash, or Zucchini.  Or adopt one of these trees: Braeburn, Cortland, Empire, Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious, Honey Crisp, McIntosh, Macoun, Mutsu, Red Delicious, or Peaches.

The average row yields over 2,900 servings of produce for donation each year and a single apple tree can over produce 700 apples – all for hunger relief.

By adopting, you make a difference in the lives of your neighbors. Your donation helps to put these fresh fruits and vegetables into the hands and homes of individuals and families who need it most. Together we are making a significant impact on hunger relief in our communities.

Donate today, and thank you for supporting local hunger relief.

Read the rest of the June Sprout here!

Volunteer of the Month: Unum and South High Partnership

06.05.2019 SouthHighUnum

Our Volunteer of the Month for June highlights a unique partnership with UNUM and South High School that allows students an opportunity for growth in a unique environment here at the farm. In this program the students are given the opportunity to learn leadership and communication skills and then to apply that learning by leading groups of UNUM Associates in farm activities here at Community Harvest Project. This partnership is in the third year and we continue to see participants returning annually from both the Unum and South High School teams.  

This year over the course of three days our engaging group of 10 South High Students led 36 UNUM Associates in different activities on the farm. Whether they were planting or weeding the students did a great job engaging and managing the work. Over the course of these days combined they planted Summer Squash, Zucchini and Peppers that we predict will produce approximately 12,000 servings of fresh produce for donation to hunger relief agencies. We would like to applaud our South High School and UNUM partners and congratulate them as our Volunteers of the Month for June. Thanks to you all for making this year’s program a rousing success.