Volunteer of the Month: Greenhouse Volunteers

BOA 3We have a saying here at the farm that sums up all of the work that we do, “Plant a Seed.”  Our hope is that by planting seeds we are helping our community with the critical issue of hunger and food access.  Thousands of volunteers come out to do the work of the farm and in every instance we hope that they fully understand the power of the work that we do.  Planting a seed starts in our greenhouses but with every volunteer visit, the thousands of seeds (and volunteers) grow into an amazingly bountiful crop that benefits our community.  

This month we would like to feature the small but mighty group of volunteers that quite literally planted our seeds this spring.  Without their dedication and attention to detail we would not have two greenhouses that are overflowing with bright green seedlings ready to go out into the fields and produce.  Our greenhouse volunteers start their work while we are still at the very end of winter and continue right until the end of this month. They help to plant our seeds and to transplant small seedlings into larger trays to give them more root space and thrive before planting.  

We would like to thank the teams from the Massachusetts Master Gardeners, RSVP Worcester Volunteers, Grafton Medical Reserve Corps, Bank of America, Wegmans and Gap for helping to get the job done.  Without them and a great group of Team Leaders and Greenhouse Crew regulars we would not be ready for our planting season. So, on behalf of the entire team here at CHP… Thank you all for Planting a Seed and getting our year started  Through your hands there will be bountiful produce donated throughout our community and it all starts with just one seed.

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Join Us This Weekend at Plantapalooza!

 

PP IISpring is here and that means it’s 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).

Come visit our farm to buy all of the annuals, perennials, fruits, and vegetables you need to build a beautiful garden this season – edible or not! We will have a plentiful 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. Also, stop by the Master Gardeners tables for tips and tricks for your garden this year!

The first 1,000 attendees receive a free 4-pack of tomato plants!

PP.jpgWhile at Plantapalooza, make sure to check out the craft vendors, 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 non-profit organization and all proceeds support our mission of creating a healthy and engaged community through volunteer farming and nutrition education.

Thank you for your support! See you Saturday!

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Introducing Our New Team Members

This month we’re thrilled to introduce you to a few new members of the Community Harvest Project family:

Stephanie_CroppedStephanie Collins, Development Coordinator

It is exciting to know that my role can directly make a difference for the community.  My passion for the CHP mission grows every day I arrive at the farm. The ability to be able to watch the seedlings grow into fresh produce/fruit that will support the families in this area makes it all worthwhile.

 

Dave_Resized.jpgDave Johnson, Farm Co-Manager

The Farm draws us into the natural cycle of things.  It is a place of growth and consistent change as seeds sprout and seasons shift.  These transformations are an every day part of our work and are reflected internally.  I am incredibly grateful to work and grow alongside such a dedicated community of volunteers to alleviate hunger through agriculture.

 

AlexisAlexis Marsh, Farm Assistant

Alexis is a recent graduate of Keene State with a background in nutrition. She fell in love with farming during a gleaning internship, and we’re excited to have her join the team!

 

We would also like to give a big thank you to our departing team members. Austin Moline, our 2017 Orchard Assistant, and Maryann Wood, who joined us through the year-long program Ignatian Volunteer Corp. Thank you both for all of your hard work!

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What’s Cooking: Delicious Quesadillas

whats cookingBoth of our April cooking classes focused on whole grains! Whole grains are grains that are processed with all three parts of the seed included: the bran, endosperm, and germ. The bran is the seed coat and contains antioxidants, B vitamins, and fiber. The endosperm is what would feed the growing plant until it can produce its own food, and contains carbohydrates, protein, and a small amount of vitamins and minerals. The germ is the embryo that would grow into a new plant and contains B vitamins, protein, minerals, and healthy fats. When a grain is refined, the bran and germ are removed and with them the majority of the fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Refined grains are less healthy, and don’t keep you feeling full for as long.

The USDA and Harvard Medical School recommend at least 50% of your grain intake be from whole grains, like breads, pasta, and pizza made with whole wheat flour, brown rice, barley, farro, quinoa, and steel cut or rolled oats (not instant). This can be an easy switch by choosing corn or whole wheat tortillas instead of flour, white rice instead of brown, and rolled oats instead of instant.

The Celery Sous Chefs (5-8 year olds) made vegan Sweet Potato Quesadillas and the black bean quesadillas below. Both were huge hits, and easily adapted to the ingredients you have on hand like other kinds of beans, cooked vegetables, and various kinds of cheese (or no cheese!).

Black Bean Quesadillas

Ingredients

  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups of shredded cheese, such as mozzarella, cheddar, or a blend
  • 5 6-inch whole wheat flour tortillas
  1. Start the food processor and drop the garlic clove in the top. Process until you can’t hear it bouncing around anymore.
  2. Scrape down the sides of the food processor and add in the black beans, lime juice, cumin, paprika, and salt. Process until a thick paste forms. Add a tablespoon of water if it is not blending. You may have to scrape down the sides a few times to get everything mixed in. (if you don’t have a food processor, minced the garlic, and then combine the rest of the filling ingredients and mash into a paste with a potato masher or fork.)
  3. Make your quesadillas by spreading the bean spread on half of the quesadilla, topping the spread with cheese, and folding it over to form a half moon.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons (30ml) oil in a large skillet or on a griddle over medium heat until shimmering. Carefully add 2 folded tortillas and cook, swirling and moving tortillas around, until golden brown and puffy on first side, about 2 minutes. Using a flexible metal spatula, flip quesadillas, season with salt, and continue cooking until golden brown and puffy on second side, about 2 minutes longer.
  5. Transfer quesadillas to a paper towel to drain and repeat step 3 to cook remaining quesadillas. Serve immediately.
  6. Quesadillas can also be cooked in the oven by placing them on a baking sheet and putting them in a 400F oven for 10 minutes and flipping them halfway through.

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