Plantapalooza is this Saturday!

IMG_20190429_094907604_HDRPlantapalooza is this Saturday! We hope you will join us at 37 Wheeler Road in North Grafton between 7:30am and noon to shop our huge selection of plants. All proceeds will support CHP’s mission to provide fresh fruits and vegetables for hunger relief. You can fill your garden with wonderful plants while also ensuring your neighbors have enough healthy food to eat.

The pride of our farm team is the heirloom tomatoes they grow for this event. Choose from Green Zebra, Black Krim, Black Cherry, San Marzano, Matt’s Wild Cherries, Japanese Black Trifele, Striped German, Moskvich, Sun Gold, Red Pear, Yellow Pear, Speckled Roman, Red Zebra, Brandywine, and Black Prince. Quantities of all are limited, so get yours early! Our tomato experts will be able to guide you in picking the best ones for your garden.

Other new plants to look out for are hops and succulents. We’ll have an assortment of annuals, perennials, herbs, fruits, and vegetables for every size and type of garden. And don’t forget, the first 1,000 attendees receive a FREE 4-pack of tomatoes. RSVP here and we’ll see you Saturday!

Spring on the Farm

IMG_20190418_133442780Planting season is underway! Each year we begin greenhouse work in early March, planting seeds for cooler weather crops such as cabbage, collards, kale, and broccoli.  Very often, our fresh, green babies are thriving in their warm environment while snow is still falling outside. As the weeks progress, our greenhouse work shifts to warmer weather crops such as tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. This early start each year allows us to begin our field planting as soon as the soil is ready and the danger of frost has passed. This season, we’re excited to report that the greenhouse is full to the brim and plants are looking exceptionally happy. It’s truly exciting to see a microcosm of the entire farm unfold under the watchful care of our farm team and dedicated greenhouse volunteers.  image

More specifically, all varieties of squash, peppers, and tomatoes are looking exceptionally healthy this year with vibrant green growth and rapid root development.  This last week has brought the opportunity to work with volunteers to field-plant over two full acres of collards, kale, lettuce, leeks, broccoli, and cabbage.  Across the farm we are feeling the promise of a heavy harvest and a healthy community!

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CHP Receives Grant from The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation

harvard-pilgrim-banner-1024x422.pngWe are excited to announce that Community Harvest Project has recently been awarded a Healthy Food Fund grant from The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation. The Foundation awards these grants annually to 25 not-for-profit community food access initiatives that grow, glean or distribute fresh produce to low-income families and older adults in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. Grant awards are renewable for two additional years. Harvard Pilgrim has distributed these grants since the initiative was launched in 2016 and now has given out over $4.6 million dollars of Healthy Food Fund grants since the program was launched.

Created in 1980, The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation supports Harvard Pilgrim’s mission to improve the quality and value of health care for the people and communities they serve. The Harvard Pilgrim Foundation provides the tools, training and leadership to help build healthy communities throughout Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. Since its inception in 1980, the Foundation has awarded $150 million in funds and resources throughout the four states.

“Our goal for this next phase of the Harvard Pilgrim Healthy Food Fund is to mobilize the energy of local community members and corporate volunteers to grow, glean and provide more free, fresh produce for low-income families across New England, creating a movement of ‘neighbors feeding neighbors’,” said Karen Voci, President of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation. “Helping families eat in healthier ways, and encouraging support for food system improvements, we believe will lead to healthier people and healthier communities.”

Kat Edwards, Executive Director at CHP said, ”Community Harvest is so pleased to be recognized for this grant and will steward it well! The goals of both organizations and commitment of Harvard Pilgrim only point to the fact that this is such an important issue in our local communities. We are proud to be a part of their team in working towards to solutions to food insecurity in Massachusetts.”

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Volunteers of the Month: RSVP and Master Gardeners

05.09.2019-rsvp-and-greenhouse-team.jpgWe are always lucky to have the thousands of volunteers that surround us on our farms helping to cultivate our community.  Their hard work has resulted in over a million pounds of fresh produce being donated to hunger relief partners throughout our community over the course of the last couple of years.  That is impressive and amazing work and we are all very proud to have the support of a vast volunteer network that makes all of this possible.

We are also very fortunate to have groups of exceptional volunteers who are willing to go above and beyond to help us when an extra push is needed.  This month we would like to highlight and thank two such partners that continue to surprise us in their commitment to helping out here at Community Harvest Project.  RSVP Volunteers of Central Massachusetts coordinated by Tiffany Benacquista and Massachusetts Master Gardeners coordinated by Eileen Clark are two groups that have really helped to set us up for success this spring.  These two groups have been instrumental in helping to get us ready for planting season with seeding and transplanting work in our greenhouses.  They have also been helpful in preparing for our Annual Plantapalooza Plant Sale which helps to provide funding that allows us to donate our produce throughout the community.  Not wanting to stop there they are also committed to helping in other ways throughout our upcoming season. That is the type of commitment that really helps to cultivate community here at Community Harvest Project, it keeps things running smoothly making it easier for our daily volunteer visitors to do the work of the farm.    

Please join us with a hearty thank you to the dozens of regular volunteers that visit Community Harvest Project from RSVP Volunteers of Central Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Master Gardeners.  We really appreciate all of your support and hard work and thanks for starting this season off right!

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What’s Cooking: Carrot Pancakes

carrot class no nameIt seems like all kids are excited about pancakes. What makes these special is they are made with whole wheat flour and a serious dose of vegetables: grated carrots! Kids love getting to use the graters in our cooking classes, and we make sure everyone stays safe by using these cut-resistant work gloves. Try the recipe below and let us know what you and your kids think!

Our June classes will have us finally in the garden! We’ll pick lettuce and make salad dressings.

Broccoli Head Chefs (9-12 year olds)

Salad Daze – Monday, June 10th, 2019, 4-6pm

Celery Sous Chefs (5-8 year olds)

Not-So-Hidden Valley – Thursday, June 6th, 2019, 4-5pm

Not-So-Hidden Valley – Wednesday, June 12th, 2019, 4:30-5:30pm

Carrot Pancakes

Adapted from

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 cup soy milk (dairy or nut milk also work great)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups grated carrots

In a large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients: egg, brown sugar, soy milk, and vanilla.

Stir the carrots into the wet ingredients, and then dump them into the dry.

Stir until the batter is just incorporated and not any longer! Overmixing batter makes for tough pancakes. Let the batter sit for 5 minutes.

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Pour ¼ cup of the batter at a time on to the skillet. Wait until you see bubbles forming on the top of the pancake, and then check for doneness by peeking under the edge of the pancake. Flip the pancakes, and cook for about 5 minutes longer.

Serve with maple syrup, yogurt, or your favorite pancake topping.

Photo by Norm Eggert.

Read the rest of the May Sprout!