Farm and Flower Update

flowersWe are reaching our busiest part of our season here at the farm! Every day now we are harvesting, washing, packing and donating hundreds of pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables to our hunger relief partners with the help of our incredible volunteers. So far, we have harvested over 17,000 pounds of produce. That translates into about 80,000 servings of healthy foods that are now available to those in our community experiencing hunger and we are just getting started! We have been harvesting broccoli, cabbage, zucchini, collards, cucumbers, kale, lettuce and many more while we wait patiently for our carrots, eggplants, leeks, okra and bell peppers to be ready for harvesting.

In addition to our fresh produce, our flower field is filling back up with beautiful, ready to pick sunflowers, zinnias and amaranth! Come pick your own bouquet or pick up one of our gorgeous pre-made bouquets. Pick your own hours are 8am-8pm and open seven days a week. Flowers are $1 per stem and pre-made bouquets are $10. It’s the perfect time to come out to our beautiful field, takes some photos (holiday cards! back to school! engagement! anniversary!) and pick some flowers. All proceeds will go to support our mission of hunger relief in Massachusetts. Get all the details and spread the word here.

Read the rest of the August Sprout here!

Top photo by Norm Eggert.

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Where Does Our Produce Go?

IMG_20190806_121241897We’re so grateful for the opportunity to spend our days as we do: enjoying the breeze on a warm day, listening to the chatter of birds, carefully tending rows of veggie plants, and working alongside new and old friends in the fields.  All of these bright points culminate as the fruits of our hard work begin rolling out the door.  At CHP, we work with more than 16 different community partners to ensure that the food we produce is distributed to folks throughout our community that need it.  These partners range from food banks and soup kitchens to addiction recovery programs and health centers.  Many of the partners whom we serve work toward missions of their own which often address a range of issues to which hunger and food access are undercurrents.  These progressive organizations and individuals recognize the power of healthy, fresh food to cure a wide swath of challenges faced by many of our neighbors every day.

Since 2014 Community Harvest Project has been partnering with The Family Health Center of Worcester.  As a federally qualified health center serving inner-city Worcester, FHCW provides care to patients who often lack affordable access to fresh, healthy produce which is often recommended by their healthcare providers.  Program Director Dr. Melanie Gnazzo notes “When asked, patients responded that ease of access and cost were major obstacles to purchasing produce.”  

IMG_20190806_121226313Each week, CHP volunteers and staff harvest, coordinate, and deliver family-sized shares of mixed farm-fresh produce to FHCW patients participating in group-medical visits focusing on specific health conditions and needs.  Building these shares is a great and fulfilling opportunity for our staff and volunteers to consider each recipient family and the variety of produce that will contribute to a full and satisfying offering each week.   

Dr. Gnazzo continues, “Our patients look forward to the produce each week.  They comment on their favorites as well as the new produce they have tried.  We are so grateful to have a community partner like the Community Harvest Project!!!”  We, in turn, are grateful to partner with such a valuable community organization like The Family Health Center of Worcester and look forward to many more abundant years to come.

Read the rest of the August Sprout here!

Harvest Home 5K Registration is Open!

5KRegistration for our annual Harvest Home 5K is now open! Secure your spot in our awesome trail run and plan to spend Sunday November 3rd with us as we celebrate another year of volunteer farming for hunger relief. In addition to our 5K we will have food trucks, beer, apple cannons, kids activities and more! Admission for the Festival is included in the price of race registration. Those not participating in our 5K or fun run can purchase admission for our Harvest Home Fall Festival online or at the door for $10 per adult or $30 for the whole family (family passes are only available at the door). All proceeds from this event will go towards of our mission of providing hunger relief to our community.

Read the rest of the August Sprout here!

Volunteer of the Month: Summer Youth Groups

07.19.2019-ynia-2.jpgOne of the most interesting pieces of the work that we undertake in supporting area hunger relief is bringing a diverse community of volunteers together in order to do the work of our farms. When people come together with their hands in the dirt or over a plant as they weed or harvest there is a greater sense of community and interesting conversation that takes place. With the slower pace of a farm everyone has the opportunity to learn more about farming and hunger relief as well as each other.  Over the summer months we have the opportunity to engage youth groups from near and far in our efforts and always marvel at the community that comes out to support Community Harvest Project year in and year out. We are lucky to have such a loyal and committed following and feel honored that many programs trust our ability to provide a healthy and engaging environment for their groups.  

This month we would like to thank all of our summer youth groups that continue to visit us and help with the summer work of the farm. Whether they come for a day, two days or even spend the entire week with us these groups all are key partners in helping us to have a successful summer. This year we saw teams from all over Massachusetts., Connecticut, Michigan, Washington, Canada and from as far away as Sweden and Hungary. All of them came together to learn about food, hunger relief and community.  They all have left a mark on us and on their efforts have helped to make an impact on the hunger relief partners that rely on Community Harvest Project as a resource for fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables.  

Please join us in thanking and congratulating these teams for a job well done. This years’ programs included Young Neighbors in Action, St. Johns High Senior Leaders, Whitinsville Serve, CSAW from Millbury, Westborough Recreation, You Inc. Career Pathways, Operation Friendship of Grafton and United Way’s Summer Teen Program.  We applaud them for their service to community and for their work in engaging youth by helping to build community. Thank you all for effort on behalf of Community Harvest Project, we appreciate all that you do.

Read the rest of the August Sprout here!

What’s Cooking: Pesto Pasta Salad

What's cooking

Pesto is summer turned into a perfect sauce. In our July cooking classes we picked herbs and greens to make an easy pasta dish you can enjoy hot or cold at a picnic. This easy vegan recipe is packed with vegetables and whole grains to please and nourish.

Our September classes return to the after-school times, but we will still be harvesting from the learning garden for each class! We hope your child can join us to learn about delicious whole grains or make veggie burgers.

Broccoli Head Chefs (9-12 year olds)

Between Two Buns – Monday, September 30th, 2019, 4-6pm

Celery Sous Chefs (5-8 year olds)

Whole Grain Goodness – Tuesday, September 17th, 2019, 4-5pm

Whole Grain Goodness – Wednesday, September 25th, 2019, 4:30-5:30pm

Pesto Pasta Salad with Kale

  • 1 lb whole wheat penne pasta
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed and ripped into small pieces

Pesto Ingredients

  • 3 cups washed herbs and greens, such as basil, cilantro, parsley, chives, kale, or spinach
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup shelled sunflower seeds or nuts such as pecans, walnuts, pine nuts, or almonds
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (the yellow from the outside of the lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt

For the pesto: Puree all ingredients in a food processor.

Put pasta in boiling, salted water. Cook for 6-8 minutes, until not quite done. Toss pasta and kale with pesto and serve!

Read the rest of the August Sprout here!