Give CHP Your Ongoing Support

collardsAs the busiest part of our harvesting season begins to wind down, it is important to remember that hunger and the needs of those experiencing it go on year round. While we prepare for slower days on the farm, we also plan and prepare to combat hunger in our communities throughout the months we are not harvesting. Our Monthly Givers and their consistent donations help us in this preparation with donations we can count on. 

For just a few dollars a month, you can join this wonderful club and support hunger relief year round. Monthly Givers receive a convenient yearly acknowledgement for tax purposes, along with special recognition in our Annual Report and invitations to exclusive events. Monthly Givers also receive two free tickets to our Harvest Home Festival! Become a Monthly Giver by October 15th to receive your tickets. Learn more and join our growing Monthly Giving Program here

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Susan’s Apple Picks

Our Orchard Manager, Susan, has a wealth of knowledge and opinions about apples. We asked her to share some of her favorite varieties and what they are best for:

During this time of year, the orchard is buzzing with activity as we get the apple harvest in. Over the next three months, with the help of hundreds of volunteers, we will pick over 3,000 apple trees with the majority of the apples going towards hunger relief.

One of the most frequent questions I get asked by the volunteers at the orchard is what my favorite kind of apple is. That’s sort of like asking me which child of mine is my favorite!  The answer I give is, I don’t have a favorite, but rather, I have several that I love equally for different reasons.

ft021-web.jpgThe Best Baking Apple: In my opinion, using a mix of different apples is best when baking. Each apple lends its own flavor and texture to your pie or crisp and the results are delicious. But if you did have to choose just one apple for your Thanksgiving pie, choose Cortland. This apple variety is widely known as the best baking apple for good reason. It cooks to a perfect texture, not too mushy, like its parent the McIntosh and not too crunchy. It has the tartness you want with a baking apple but a hint of sweetness, as well. Fun fact: Cortland apples have beautiful white flesh and are slow to brown so use them on your cheese and fruit platter or in salads too!

20190917_154018.jpgThe Best Fresh Eating Apple: Again, it’s impossible to choose just one! Macoun tend to be my go-to around this time of year. To me they are one of the very best fresh eating apples. Crisp, and juicy, with a complex sweet-tart flavor, this apple is a New England favorite. Macoun, like its McIntosh parent, is also very good for apple sauce. Other delicious fresh eating favorites: Esopus Spitzenburg is an explosion of flavor in one bite (if you can find it, try it!) and Honeycrisp, of course, are rated one of the best.

20190917_154723The Best All Purpose Apple: The Ginger Gold apple fits easily into this category. They are a very good baking apple and are also excellent for fresh eating.  This early season apple is the first to ripen at our orchard so I look forward to these beautiful yellow apples as they mark the start of apple season. They are not great keepers so get them while they are in season!  Runner up: Baldwin apples are not easy to come by these days even though they were once one of the most widely planted varieties in the U.S.  They ripen late in the season and are another great all-purpose apple.  Unlike the Ginger Gold, they store very well.

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Save the Date: Harvest Home Festival and 5K 11/3/2019

petting

The leaves are beginning to change, the air is getting cooler, our harvest is slowing down; fall must be on it’s way! Though the changing leaves mark the end of our busiest time on the farm, their colors also means that it is time to celebrate another successful year of volunteer farming for hunger relief at our annual Harvest Home Fall Festival. 

Our 13th Annual Harvest Home Fall Festival and 5K Trail Run will be taking place on Sunday November 3rd and will include a new Scarecrow Contest! The contest invites community groups to pool their money and support hunger relief in a new, fun and creative way while also getting their name in front of the hundreds of people who attend Harvest Home. Spots are limited, so submit your application today!

craftsThe race kicks off at 10:30am and the festival will begin at 11am. The day includes a 5K trail run, a raffle, bouncy houses, good food, beer and wine, live music, pumpkin catapults, apple cannons, kids crafts, a petting zoo and much more! There is truly something for all ages. Be sure to register for the 5K and buy your festival tickets! Use the discount code “FALL” to get 15% off your 5K registration until September 27th.

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Volunteer of the Month: Apple Pickers

_DSF5512It’s that time of year where the air is showing a hint of crisp coolness even on the warmest of days and the leaves are telling us that the season is changing. Fall in New England holds a very unique place and is at the heart of many of our traditions. Thoughts of the leaves turning color as though they are flowers and the brightness of light due to the changing angle of the sun all give us a sense of warmth and change. We also can think back to the excitement we experienced as children on a trip to an orchard or farm to pick apples and select pumpkins.  The smells of apples, fallen leaves and crisp fall air all help to make this a most magical time of year.  

For the last several weeks our orchard has been a buzz of activity with hundreds of volunteers helping us to pick, sort and package thousands of pounds of fresh apples. Without these energetic and committed volunteers we would not be able to get these fresh and nutritious apples out for donation to our hunger relief partners. This month we would like to thank and congratulate the many hands helping to do the work of the orchard. Please join us in a hearty thank you and congratulations to all of our volunteers from Bristol Myers Squibb, Dell, Hype 9, Bose, Olympus, PolyOne, Wegmans, Charles River Labs, Bromfield Boys Cross Country Team, Middlesex School and South High. We can not do this work without the help of many and these groups came out in force to support our work. Thank you all for your effort in making our 2019 apple season a success.  

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What’s Cooking: Pickles

pickle classOur August classes take place while the garden is at its peak and we use that bounty to make pickles! Many of the herbs in the garden are going to seed at that point in the year, so we harvest seeds from dill and coriander to make pickling spice. That pickling spice went into pickled chard that all our cooking class students brought home. This spice mix and brine is a great use for any vegetables you have an overabundance of.

Upcoming classes have some great themes including veggies burgers, apples, whole grains, and orange foods for Halloween. Sign up is for individual class so you can pick the ones that fit in your child’s schedule.

Broccoli Head Chefs (9-12 year olds)

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

Apples! – Thursday, October 24th, 2019, 4-6pm

Celery Sous Chefs (5-8 year olds)

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

Beta Carotene Monster – Wednesday, October 9th, 2019, 4-5pm

Beta Carotene Monster – Monday, October 28th, 2019, 4:30-5:30pm

Pickling spice

Adapted from Food in Jars by Marisa McClellan

  • 1 tablespoon crushed bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seed
  • 1 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon dill seed

Put all spices in a small bag or jar and shake to combine. 

Pickled Chard Stems

Adapted from Love and Lemons

Ingredients

  • about 1 cup chard stems (halved lengthwise if thick)
  • 1 tablespoon pickling spice
  • ½ cup vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Add vinegar, water, sugar, and salt to your jar. Microwave for 30 seconds, or until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Add in the pickling spice. 

Chop your chard stems so they fit in your jar. 

Place the chopped stems and sliced shallot in a jar, cover them with the brine and refrigerate overnight before eating them.

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