Volunteer of the Month: Access TCA

Community_Harvest_Logo_2018_WEB_600px_TransparentIf you have not already noticed Community Harvest Project is in the midst of refreshing all of our marketing materials.  Check out the great new logo and you will see just the beginning of our efforts to streamline and bring every marketing piece up to date.  This would not have been a possibility without the help and amazing support of AccessTCA of Whitinsville.  When this group began volunteering with us three years ago they made a commitment to help in other ways.  If you have visited the farm you will notice some great graphics in the great room and some educational signs throughout the property.  These are all examples of their work and how they uniquely support CHP with their expertise in marketing and displays.

AccessTCA2017

This year we asked them to help us with our rebranding and as you can see they jumped right in.  With an ear to the past and a nod to the future they updated our logo and color scheme with the thought of making it clearer to understand and easier to read.  We have already received a number of compliments on the update and appreciate that our supporters are noticing. Thanks to the talent of designer Eric Anderson on the AccessTCA Team you will see this new touch beginning to show in not only our logo but in mail pieces and our upcoming Annual Report.  

We would like to thank the entire team at AccessTCA for their continuing support and creativity in giving back to our community.  When they put themselves behind a project you can count on them to deliver, they have done that tenfold with their support of CHP over the years.  So, we would like to offer a hearty thank you to Eric, Dean and Tom for meeting with us and undertaking this challenge and to the entire AccessTCA team for making this possible.  We are thankful for your support and appreciate the entire organization’s role in helping to move CHP forward.

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Adopt-a-Row or Adopt-a-Tree This Season

AARYour seedlings and trees are waiting for adoption!

Your seedlings are ready to be transplanted into their new homes.  Adopt today to support their care for the 2018 growing season. 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 and Red Delicious.

Support our 266 rows of crops and care for 3,660 apple trees by Adopting-a-Row or a Tree this spring!  When you adopt you allow us to care for your plant from fertilizing, watering and harvesting on your behalf!  We are beyond thrilled to do it too!

Donations of $250 or more will receive recognition at the farms for the duration of the growing season. Your support will go so much further than our fields. 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! Thank you for your support!

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Save the Date for Plantapalooza 2018

PP II.jpgSpring is finally here and that means it is time for Community Harvest Project’s annual plant sale fundraiser, Plantapalooza, to be held Saturday, May 19th from 7:30am – 1:00pm at 37 Wheeler Road in North Grafton, MA (rain or shine). The first 1,000 attendees receive a free 4-pack of tomato plants!

Come visit our farm to buy all of the annuals, perennials, herbs, fruits and vegetables you need to build a beautiful garden this season! We will have a large variety of heirloom tomatoes, native species, and herbs to spice up your garden. Our volunteer plant experts will assist you with your questions and help you find the perfect selection of plants to thrive in your yard.

While at Plantapalooza, make sure to check out the vendors, cookie walk, and raffle, and stop by the CHP tent to learn more about out the work we do in the community. Community Harvest Project is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and all of the proceeds support our mission of creating a healthy and engaged community through volunteer farming and nutrition education.

Interested in being a vendor at Plantapalooza, contact Stephanie@community-harvest.org or volunteering, contact wayne@community-harvest.org.

Thank you for your support!  See you at Plantapalooza!

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Update from the Orchard

20180116_114012Despite the lingering cold of winter, the orchard is beginning to awaken with the longer days of sunshine.  The past three months have been spent pruning our over 3,600 fruit trees and we are now ready to move to our springtime tasks and a much anticipated new growing season.

In less than a month we could be harvesting our first asparagus spears and watching the first apple blossoms bloom, a welcome sight after a long winter.  This year we will harvest the first apples from the high-density apple orchard that was planted two years ago.  We will also be working on some new projects, including growing hops as a fundraising crop.

20180303_130012As we wrap up one season and look forward to the next, I can’t help but be thankful for the wonderful and dedicated volunteers I have had helping me with various projects around the farm.  The orchard “Tuesday volunteer crew” was instrumental in completing the apple tree pruning as we tacked over 1/3 more trees than last year.  And I must say, the trees look great.  Dana Noble and Will Thompson, two local high schoolers from Bromfield High School, recently completed forty hours of community service at Prospect Hill Orchard and helped with tasks ranging from installing mouse guards on young trees to pruning and thinning apple trees.  And a special thanks to the Harvard Girl Scout Troop 30892 for completing yet another project for CHP.  This winter the girls built much needed storage shelving units in our barn and painted a beautiful sign to welcome future volunteers.  It has been wonderful to have the support from the community and has gotten our 2018 season off to a great start!

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Secret Ingredient Desserts

What's cookingOur March cooking classes had an air of mystery about them – we made secret ingredient desserts! We started off by comparing the sugar content of different foods. The kids made pairs of desserts and drinks with fruits that had the same sugar content. Here are a few examples:

56 grams of sugar: 32 ounces of Gatorade or 4 bananas

12 grams of sugar: 1 packet of Gushers or 1 cup of cherries

43 grams of sugar: 1 pack of Skittles or 4 ½ oranges

21 grams of sugar: 1 chocolate chip Clif bar or 3 ½ kiwis

What fills you up faster? 32 ounces of Gatorade or 4 bananas? Definitely the bananas! In all these cases you would be much fuller after eating the fruit, plus you would stay fuller for longer because of the fiber, and you would also benefit from the vitamins and minerals they contain. The drinks and desserts will give you quick energy, but that’s about it.

So have you guessed the secret ingredient in our desserts? They all included fruits and vegetables! Though just because the desserts had fruits and vegetables in them doesn’t mean they are “healthy,” because there was still sugar in them. But having some of the sugar content come from fruits and vegetables means that they are healthier than versions without fruit and vegetables. We made black bean brownies, chocolate beet cupcakes and banana ice cream.

This ice cream recipe has no added sugar in it, and is a wonderful, creamy texture which comes just from frozen bananas. It would be easy to customize by adding cocoa powder or nut butter.

Unbelievable Banana Ice Cream

Adapted from Baking with Less Sugar by Joanne Chang

6 ripe bananas, peeled, chopped, and frozen

120 g/ ½ cup heavy cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

¼ tsp kosher salt

Pinch of ground cinnamon

Place bananas in the blender or food processor. Pour in the cream and vanilla and blend on high speed until smooth. Add the salt and cinnamon and blend again. Enjoy ice cream immediately or store in the freezer to enjoy later. If stored in the freezer, let thaw for 10 minutes before eating.