Volunteer Open House – March 24

Karen Keehn KristinaHave you always wanted to get involved at Community Harvest Project and just aren’t sure what you could do to help?  Do you want to volunteer and help your community while meeting a diverse group of volunteers? Do you have an interest in helping community members who are food insecure?  Do you want to spend time in the great outdoors and learn more about locally grown produce? Those are just some of the questions that you can get answered this coming Saturday, March 24th from 11:00 AM to 2:30 PM at the Community Harvest Project Open House, 37 Wheeler Road, North Grafton, MA.  

We always welcome members of our community to come out and help us grow fresh local produce that is donated to hunger relief partners in Central and Eastern Massachusetts.  Believe it or not spring is right around the corner and we are gearing up for our first volunteers that will arrive on April 30th. Come learn from our expert Volunteer Team Leaders about how fulfilling volunteer time spent with Community Harvest Project can be.  We have opportunities galore and would love to meet you and speak with you about joining the team. Come learn more about our dynamic non-profit and how you can give back to our community.

Volunteer of the Month: Eastern Michigan University

EMU.Group.02.21.18We really enjoy sharing the resources of our organization for others to learn about the many facets of non-profit work and collaboration.  For the third consecutive year we were visited by a group of Eastern Michigan University Students during their Alternative Spring Break. This hearty group traveled from Ypsilanti, Michigan to spend an immersive week learning about the hunger relief network in the Worcester Area.  During their time here they spent time preparing our greenhouse for spring planting as well as preparing materials for our new process of row covers. They visited our orchard and learned a bit about fruit trees and the benefits of apples as part of our offering. They also visited our partners at the Worcester County Food Bank, Community Servings, Loaves and Fishes and the Worcester Department of Public Health.  They learned what it takes to feed those seeking aid in the hunger relief network and some of the health and wellness challenges that may impact a community. This team spent long hours asking questions and discovering some of the root issues that cause hunger in any community. In addition, they learned how Community Harvest Project and our partners work together to make a difference.

We can’t thank them enough for spending time with us and helping our community while learning and so we send a hearty thanks out to Rupa Kottoor, Ewere Bernard, Olivia Wash, Balaal Hollings, Gracie Kierczynski and James Williams.  Thanks for reminding us that we can all learn more when we really dig in. Here are some thoughts in their own words;

Service is the rent you pay for livon on this earth and I really feel that.  To think we only did this for one week and there are people who do this every day, wow!  This has really opened my eyes and now I see how big this issue is and how deeply people care about it.  This week alone has inspired me to make sure others in my area have the support and knowledge that I gained here to aid them in the fight against food injustice.”

“Overall, the experience was eye-opening and taught us a lot.  We learned about and assisted with many different aspects of food insecurity.  We all want to take what we learned during the trip and apply it when we go back to Michigan.”   

Shop with AmazonSmile and Support CHP!

Chances are, you use Amazon just as much as our staff – which means you use it a lot! But did you know you can support Community Harvest Project with every Amazon purchase you make?

AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon that lets customers enjoy the same wide selection of products, low prices, and convenient shopping features as on Amazon.com. The difference is that when customers shop on AmazonSmile (smile.amazon.com), the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to the charitable organizations selected by customers.

To get started, visit our AmazonSmile website here (smile.amazon.com/ch/04-3424018). Once you select us as your benefiting organization, you’re all set! Just place your orders as you normally would, and Amazon takes care of the rest. Just be sure to bookmark our link so when you shop, you benefit CHP every time.

We are excited to tell you about a new AmazonSmile promotion that launches this month! Amazon is tripling the donation amount to 1.5% when customers make their first eligible smile.amazon.com/ch/04-3424018 purchase from March 12 – 31. This is a great opportunity to increase Community Harvest Project, Inc.’s AmazonSmile donations!

Thank you for your support!

What’s Cooking: Dumplings

whats cooking 1.PNGFor our February cooking classes we got in the spirit of the Olympics and made mandu! Mandu are Korean dumplings that can be made with a variety of fillings. We made a vegetarian filling that had egg, onion, cabbage, bean sprouts, and vermicelli noodles.

We went over some basic shapes to fold the dumplings into, but the most important concept to grasp is that the dumplings need to be completely sealed so that the filling does not escape. From there creative fingers made dumplings into all sorts of shapes, like envelopes, half-moons, hugs, and creatures.

whats cooking 4This is the recipe we used in the classes, and if you need help with your dumpling forming there are tons of videos on Youtube to guide you (like this one). Dumpling wrappers can often be found in the refrigerated section next to the produce in the grocery store (where you can also find tofu). If you can only find square ones, those will work instead of round!

Yachae Mandu

(Korean Vegetable Dumplings)

Adapted from:

2 eggs, beaten
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup parboiled, squeezed dry, and finely chopped Napa cabbage (about 1/2 of a small cabbage head)

1 cup chopped firm tofu

¼ cup blanched and chopped bean sprouts,
4 oz mung bean or sweet potato noodles (aka Chinese vermicelli), soaked and finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tsp salt
2 packages circular mandu wrappers (or Japanese gyoza or Chinese wonton wrappers) – about 50 total (a 16 oz package usually has about 25 wrappers in it)

In a large mixing bowl, gently combine egg, onion, cabbage, bean sprouts, tofu, and noodles.
In a separate bowl, combine garlic, sesame oil, soy sauce, salt and pepper.
Pour seasoning mixture over tofu and vegetables and use your hands to mix the ingredients together.
Place about 1 tablespoon of filling in the center of the dumpling wrapper. Dip your finger in the water and wet the outside edge of the top half of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper up to close it and then crimp the edges. Repeat until the filling is gone. Then steam, boil, pan fry, or sauté the dumplings as you wish.

Read more from the March Sprout!

An Update from the Farm

IMG-2377Although the weather has been all over the place, we’ve had enough glimpses of spring to make us excited for the upcoming season. After the hard work of a group from Eastern Michigan University, our greenhouse is all set up and ready to go. Our first seeds touched potting soil on the last day of February, and the seeding continues to increase as we move into spring. We start our first trays on top of heating mats that give the soil an extra boost in temperature while there is still a significant chill in the air. Once the seeds germinate, we will move them off the heating mats to make room for the next round.
lunchbox peppers- johnnysThe first little guys that popped up were our lunchbox peppers, a mini sized pepper, perfect for snacking. They are red, yellow, and orange, and have a very sweet flavor. Although we will be trying these peppers out on the farm this year, this particular round of seedlings is being grown for Plantapalooza. We are ramping up the amount of seedlings we grow in house at CHP for our plant sale this year, which means you can try many of the varieties we grow in your very own garden! If you’ve ever helped us pick cubanelle, carmen, or aji peppers and wondered what it would be like to cook with them, Plantapalooza will be your chance to purchase these seedlings (and many more) and take them home.