Team Leader Open House March 23

Team Leader (7)Looking for an opportunity to feed your soul while helping others in your community? Have questions about how we operate our farms and how you can get involved? Have a few hours a week that you would like to volunteer?  Recently retired and looking for a new way to engage with your community? Enjoy being in the great outdoors with other like minded community members?  Enjoy meeting new people and helping others? Have time over the summer months to get behind a great cause? Need to fulfill service hours for college applications?  Want to help lead the large groups of diverse volunteers visiting our farms in North Grafton and our orchard in Harvard? Have a unique skill that you think can help advance our mission?   

We are always looking for new volunteers to join the team and offer lots of ways to help the cause.  Come out to our Annual Open House on Saturday, March 23 to learn more. We will offer tours every half hour from 11:00 AM to 2:30 PM and have some of our most experienced Volunteer Team Leaders here to answer your questions.  

Bring a friend and come find out about more about how you can help!

Read the rest of the March Sprout!

Winter at the Orchard

This winter, we have been busy, as always, at the Prospect Hill Community Orchard!  During these frigid winter months, we have bundled up in our balaclavas, buckled our snow boots, and devoted ourselves to pruning over 3,000 apple trees and 150 peach trees. We are making our way through the orchard, with just a few more chilly weeks ahead of us before we can retire our saws and loppers.  We couldn’t do it without the help of our dedicated volunteers and friends, the much esteemed ‘Tuesday Crew.” While everyone has enjoyed the snow, we can safely say that we’re looking forward to the promise of spring.

44601952_10156741402960917_164580423773454336_o-1.jpgThis season we welcome Savannah Eades as the Orchard Assistant. You may have already seen her around the orchard last fall helping with the apple harvest or this winter pruning the fruit trees.  Savannah was a 2017 intern at CHP where her friendly disposition and positive attitude made her a joy to work with. We are so grateful to now have her as a permanent part of the team! She received her BA in Environmental Studies from Clark University in 2018 and is now excited to be pursuing her interests in agriculture.

Support CHP with Amazon Smile

amazon-smile

Amazon makes so much of our lives easier, including giving to a non-profit that matters to you. And it isn’t a separate process – it all happens as part of the shopping you are already doing!

AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon that lets customers enjoy their same member benefits and 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.

Thank you for your support!

Volunteer of the Month: Harvard Tuesday Crew

harvardtuesdaycrew.03.12.2019.jpg

As we head into spring it is a key time for work out at our Prospect Hill Community Orchard in Harvard. Susan, Savannah and our Tuesday Crew have been busy since right after the first of the year pruning the thousands of apple trees there so that they will produce a bountiful crop.  Pruning is one of the keys of success and can only be completed when the trees are dormant prior to the trees becoming active with spring growth. During this process any diseased or damaged wood is pruned out of the trees, the pruners also look to improve sunlight penetration and air flow to stimulate a healthier crop.  Lastly and one of the most important pieces of this process is to prune the tree so that it is able to support the weight of its crop. It is an art and something that this team has mastered with many years experience amongst them.

The crew visits weekly and works in all types of weather as with an orchard this big it will take a significant amount of time to get through all of the trees. Once this work is completed the crew will assist throughout the year on other important orchard tasks such as pest management, mowing, trellising and fence repairs.  We could not operate this orchard without the power of volunteers and this hearty crew is the piece that sets everything in motion to have volunteers out in the fall to harvest our apple crop.  We would like to thank the Tuesday Crew for all of their hard work so far this season and cheer them on as they continue their pruning work for the rest of March. Please join us in thanking Don, Marc, Russ, Brian, George, Scott and Peter for their continuing support, dedication and drive in helping us advance our mission. We appreciate all of their effort on our behalf and can not wait to see the “fruits” of their labor this fall.

Read the rest of the March Sprout!

What’s Cooking: Chocolate Beet Muffins

whats cookingDid you know there are 56 grams of sugar in a 20 ounce Gatorade? You would have to eat 4 bananas to get that same amount of sugar from fruit (if that’s even possible!). And when you eat those bananas instead, you are actually full from all the fiber, you get a host of additional vitamins and minerals, and time for your body to absorb them as you digest.

For our February cooking classes we talked about sugar and how easy it so over-consume when you are having processed sweets and drinks. The recommended daily maximum for men is 38 grams (9 teaspoons) and for women is 25 grams (6 teaspoons). Both are less than that single Gatorade. Using fruits and vegetables to satisfy our sweet tooth can be just as delicious (or even more so) than desserts using processed sugar.

These chocolate beet muffins were very popular in our February classes. If your child didn’t get to join us in class, they can try making them at home with the recipe below.  Our April classes are all about breakfast:

Broccoli Head Chefs (9-12 year olds)

Breakfast Bonanza – Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019, 4-6pm

Celery Sous Chefs (5-8 year olds)

Pancake Party – Wednesday, April 24th, 2019, 4-5pm

Pancake Party – Thursday, April 25th, 2019, 4:30-5:30pm

Chocolate Beet Muffins

Adapted from Minimalist Baker

  • 2 tablespoons flax meal
  • 5 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup beet puree
  • ¼  cup maple syrup, agave, or honey (pick ONE of these to use)
  • ⅓  cup brown sugar
  • ¼  teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 ½  teaspoon baking soda (1 teaspoon + ½ teaspoon, or ½ teaspoon measured 3 times)
  • ¼  cup vegetable oil
  • ¼  cup soy milk
  • ½  cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 ⅓ cups wheat flour (1 cup + ⅓ cup)
  • ⅓ cup semisweet chocolate chips + more for topping

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C) and line a mini muffin tray with paper liners.

Whisk ground flax and water in a large mixing bowl and let rest for 5 minutes. Measure the rest of the ingredients while you wait.

Add beet puree, oil, maple syrup, brown sugar, baking soda, salt and whisk for 45 seconds.

Stir in the soy milk and whisk once more.

Add cocoa powder and flour and stir with a spoon or spatula until just combined, being careful not to over-mix. The batter should be quite thick. 

Lastly, stir in chocolate chips. Then divide batter evenly between muffin tins (they should be filled just to the top).

Bake for 17-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for a few minutes in the pan, remove from tins and let cool on a cooling rack. Will keep covered for several days. Freeze for longer-term storage.

Read the rest of the March Sprout!

Photo by Norm Eggert.