Thank you for making Harvest Home a success!

hhThis year’s Harvest Home Fall Festival was held on Sunday November 3rd. Over 270 athletes took to the trail at 10:30am for our 5K trail race. Evan Griffith finished first place overall with a time of 21:25 and Kathryn McCarthy took first place female finisher with a time of 26:35. More race results can be seen here.

 Mr. Moneybags by Homefield Credit Union won our people’s choice scarecrow contest. It was a wonderful day filled with live music from Big Jon Short, face painting from Happy Face Paint, hay wagon rides, pumpkin trebuchets sponsored by Waters Corporation, petting zoos from Farm Visits Petting Zoo and a local 4H Club, a bouncy house  and so much more. 

Guests enjoyed local beer from Wachusett Brewery and food generously donated by the Worcester Restaurant Group all while raising over $37,000 for hunger relief in Massachusetts. We’d like to extend yet another thank you to all of the incredible volunteers, sponsors and vendors that made our festival such a successful and enjoyable day. See you all next year on November 1st!

And a special thank you to all of our sponsors:

Harvard Pilgrim HealthCare Foundation – Unibank 

Wegmans – Homefield Credit Union

Waters Corporation – Lampin Corporation – White Corporation – Elm Rock Estates by Eastland Partners – Halstead Insurance – Savers Bank – Window Logic – Mancuso Insurance – Fidelity Bank – Reliant Medical Group – J.J. Bafaro Inc. – Scheier, Katin & Epstein PC – Pyne Sand & Stone Co Inc. – Koopman Lumber – Atchue Opticians – Worcester Restaurant Group – J.F. Cove Insurance Agency Inc. – Clifford Rano & Associates – Congressman McGovern – Gaudette Insurance – Cornerstone Bank – LaBounty Family – Collette Motors – Leominster Credit Union – H&M Bay Inc.- Millbury Savings Bank – Templeman Tree Services – Acorn Business Advisors – Fitness Asylum – Sunshine Signs

Read the rest of the November Sprout here.

Save the Date: Giving Tuesday is 12/3!

gtIn recent years, Giving Tuesday has taken hold as a global giving movement with local impact. Started in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation as a day to counter the commercialism that immediately follows, Giving Tuesday has become one of the largest single days of the year for fundraising.

This year, CHP is fundraising to replace a John Deere Gator. The use of small farm vehicles, like a gator, is essential to day to day farm operations as our staff uses them to transport equipment and vegetables. They allow full access and usage of the land we have available, therefore doubling the impact we would otherwise have on hunger in our community.  We have already secured $5,000 of the $12,000 needed to replace the gator. You can join the growing Giving Tuesday movement by setting a reminder to donate on December 3rd and spreading the word about our campaign to help us raise the remaining $7,000 needed to purchase a gator by the end of the day on Giving Tuesday.

Read the rest of the November Sprout here.

Volunteer of the Month: Jan from Germany

If you have visited the Grafton Farm over the summer or this fall, you may have met one of the people who regularly visited the farm to help out. We were lucky that Jan from Barsinghausen, Germany chose to spend part of his gap year visiting his aunt who just happens to be a neighbor to our farm. After a few weeks he was a familiar face with everyone here and became an impactful presence for all of our volunteers. A regular question that we heard from our visitors was “where is Jan”? In his effort to utilize his gap year to improve his English language skills while meeting new people he found the right community to do both. His ability to communicate with the diverse volunteers that visit our farm was remarkable, in the process he has made many friends and will leave a lasting impact with volunteers, neighbors, and staff. 

When Jan was asked about his experience here with Community Harvest Project he said Spending time at CHP felt like being part of a big family. School classes, students volunteering for school on their own, families, corporate groups, team leaders and the farm team all welcomed me. Everyone was doing their part to help relieve hunger in the community. I really enjoyed spending time with this amazing variety of people. Everybody was willing to spend their time to do whatever was needed to make a difference, even if they had to come visit on a Saturday. Another thing I will remember, was driving with a team leader to the apple orchard in Harvard to help harvest some of the late apples. So in a nutshell, I met a lot of great people, got to improve my English and found myself doing good things with great people while I learned about this unique approach to helping others.”

With that please join us in applauding Jan as our Volunteer of the Month for November. The time and effort that he spent with us is very much appreciated. Congratulations Jan!

End of Season Farm Update

IMG_20191011_092334843As the Grafton farm season is wrapping up, we engage in our final harvest of the year — sweet potatoes! The 2019 season is proving to be a great year for these sugary tubers with a heavy harvest. As we work alongside local elementary students to hunt for, dig, and clean these tasty nuggets, it really feels like digging for buried treasure. Excitement runs high as volunteers across the field triumphantly hold their harvests in the air and yell “I found one!”. Working with this crop serves as a reflection on our work here at Community Harvest Project and farm life in general. We plant sweet potatoes at the beginning of the season alongside the many acres of other crops. However, while harvest baskets are been loaded with veggies of all colors and shapes throughout the season, the sweet potatoes quietly develop under the soil surface, where we can’t see them, until they are fully formed and ready during the crisp, final weeks of the growing season.

Farming is often like that…we plant a seed in the soil. For a time, we have to wait and see what germinates. We can’t force it to happen; we can merely do our best to provide for each seed’s needs and manage conditions to encourage a healthy crop. Each year, we rely on the outstanding generosity of our donors and volunteers to support and act on our mission. We can’t force or demand this support; we instead strive to plant seeds in the minds and hearts of our neighbors, cultivating a community of giving and collective accomplishment. We’re incredibly grateful for the community connection and collaboration that makes our farm thrive. The rush of excitement when you spot that golden sweet potato peeking from the soil is a reminder of the treasures that lie under the surface, waiting to be revealed. The seeds we plant truly go on to grow strong and provide much needed nourishment. We’re thankful for our community!

Read the rest of the November Sprout here.

What’s Cooking: Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Honey Mustard

carrotsOur October classes featured the spooky, scary Beta Carotene Monster. We learned about the health benefits of beta carotene, the vibrant pigment that can be found in carrots, pumpkin, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and cantaloupe (and other plants too!). It helps our eyes be able to see (but doesn’t improve vision), helps with growth and development, and supports a healthy immune system.

We made these easy sweet potato fries which are not in fact fried, but healthfully roasted. Sweet potatoes can be difficult for beginning-cutters to cut, so we cut them into thin planks for the kids and they practiced making the long cuts for them to be fry-shaped. While the potatoes roasted, we made an easy honey mustard dip that we sampled with carrots harvested right from the garden.

There are just three classes left this year – we hope your child can join us!

Broccoli Head Chefs (9-12 year olds)

Celery Sous Chefs (5-8 year olds)

Roasted Sweet Potato Fries

  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 425F.

Cut the sweet potato into wedges ½” thick and 4” long. 

Toss sweet potato wedges on a baking sheet with olive oil and salt. The sweet potatoes should be shiny all over with the olive oil. 

Roast for 45 minutes, flipping the sweet potatoes halfway through cooking, until the sweet potatoes are completely soft (easily pierced with a fork) and dark brown in many spots. 

Enjoy fries with honey mustard or your dip of choice!

Honey Mustard Dip

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar

Whisk all ingredients to combine. 

Read the rest of the November Sprout here.