What’s Cooking: Basil Lemonade

_DSF1887The theme for May’s cooking class was hydration: absolutely vital, but also an easy way to over-consume sugar. We talked about why it is bad to ingest too much sugar, and then in the younger classes made smoothies, and in the older classes we made smoothies, basil-mint lemonade, and a DIY sports drink.

This lemonade is much lower in sugar than the normal offering, incredibly refreshing, and easy to adapt with garden herbs. Hopefully your child can join us for a class in July, where we’ll spend more time in the garden learning about herbs!

Broccoli Head Chefs (9-12 year olds)

Herbal Mania – Thursday, July 18th, 2019, 2:30-4:30pm

Celery Sous Chefs (5-8 year olds)

Pesto Power – Tuesday, July 9th, 2019, 2:30-3:30

Pesto Power – Monday, July 15th, 2019, 2:30-3:30

Basil-Mint Lemonade

Adapted from Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison

Ingredients:

  • approximately ½ cup of fresh basil leaves (regular basil, lemon basil, or thai basil)
  • a dozen mint leaves
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • juice from 2-3 lemons (½ cup lemon juice)
  • 4 cups of water

Directions:

Using a muddler or a spoon, muddle the basil & mint leaves with the sugar until the leaves are crushed at the bottom of a pitcher. Add the lemon juice and water. Stir well to combine. Chill and serve. 

Read the rest of the June Sprout here!

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!

Read the rest of the May Sprout!

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.”

Read the rest of the May Sprout!

 

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!

Read the rest of the May Sprout!

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 cookieandkate.com

  • 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!

 

Getting Ready For a Busy Farm Season

6.05.2018 SouthHighUnumAs a team we have been very busy analyzing last years results and planning for our 2019 farm season and now we are just weeks away from welcoming our thousands of volunteers back to the farm.  If you are interested in coordinating a group visit we are currently scheduling for visits in July and beyond. It’s as simple as visiting our volunteer web page and filling out and submitting a Group Leader Interest Form.  The demand for volunteer time at CHP continues to outpace our calendar space so get your requests in early in order to secure a spot for our 2019 farming season.  We hope to see you on the farm sometime soon.

Know of a college student looking for a great summer internship?  There are still positions available for our Summer Sustainable Farming Internship working primarily at our North Grafton farms.  Please help us get the word out to any student interested in learning more about local hunger relief, non-profit operations, farming and volunteer organizing.  It’s a great opportunity to do hands on learning with one of the areas leading non-profit organizations and a great way for a student to spend a summer outdoors on our beautiful farms.   

Read the rest of the April Sprout!

Volunteer of the Month: Greenhouse Crew

GreenhouseTeam.03.14.2019Every year as we welcome volunteers back to the farm to help us plant our fields we receive comments about the healthy plants that we are planting.  We are proud of the fact that we start everything we grow from seed here on our farms. These seedlings in turn produce the hundreds of thousands of pounds of fresh locally grown produce that is donated out to our community annually.  We watch, encourage and cheer the plants through many stages of growth and are always excited to see the bounty that they produce. Mother nature is truly an amazing force to watch through the seasons and we feel lucky to have a front row seat.

All of this amazing bounty would not be possible without the help of a dedicated Greenhouse Crew that helps us prepare all of these plants for our growing season.  For the past seven weeks this crew has done the detailed, repetitive work of placing small seeds in our planting trays to start our plants. Our greenhouses are now carpets of bright green sprouts growing at different stages as the march towards outdoor planting continues thanks to this team of volunteers.  So as we begin our season outside in just a few short weeks we need to look back and thank our Greenhouse Crew for their part in beginning our year. Please join us in thanking and congratulating our Greenhouse Crew for starting the season off and setting in place the work to be done by thousands of volunteers in the coming months.  We appreciate each and every one of them and applaud them for a job well done!

Read the rest of the April Sprout!

Adopt a Row or a Tree This Spring

DeanCerrati (8)Our greenhouse is filled to the brim with seedlings ready for adoption!

Adopt today to support their care for the 2019 growing season. Chose from Broccoli, Cabbage, Collard greens, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Okra, Peppers, Summer Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, Winter Squash, or Zucchini.  Or adopt one of these trees: Braeburn, Cortland, Empire, Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious, Honey Crisp, McIntosh, Macoun, Mutsu, Red Delicious or, new this year, Peaches!

Support our 266 rows of crops and care for 3,660 apple trees by Adopting-a-Row or a Tree this spring!  When you adopt you allow us to care for your crop from fertilizing, watering and harvesting, then on to donation to someone in need on your behalf.

Donations of $250 or more will receive recognition at the farms for the duration of the growing season. Your support will go so much further than our fields. The average row yields over 2,900 servings of produce for donation each year and a single apple tree can over produce 700 apples – all for hunger relief.

By adopting, you make a difference in the lives of your neighbors. Your donation helps to put these fresh fruits and vegetables into the hands and homes of individuals and families who need it most. Together we are making a significant impact on hunger relief in our communities.

Donate today, and thank you for supporting local hunger relief.

Read the rest of the April Sprout!

Save the Date for Plantapalooza 2019!

d81_20180519_081403-edit-copy.jpgSpring is finally here and that means it is time for our annual plant sale fundraiser, Plantapalooza, to be held Saturday, May 18th from 7:30am – 12:00pm at 37 Wheeler Road in North Grafton, MA (rain or shine). The first 1,000 attendees receive a free 4-pack of tomato plants!

Come visit our farm to buy all of the annuals, perennials, herbs, fruits and vegetables you need to build a beautiful garden this season! We will have a large variety of heirloom tomatoes, native species, and herbs to spice up your garden. Our volunteer plant experts will assist you with your questions and help you find the perfect selection of plants to thrive in your yard.

While at Plantapalooza, make sure to stop by the CHP tent to learn more about out the work we do in the community. Community Harvest Project is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and all of the proceeds support our mission of creating a healthy and engaged community through volunteer farming and nutrition education.

RSVP here to let us know we’ll see you on the 18th!

Interested in volunteering at Plantapalooza? Contact wayne@community-harvest.org.

Read the rest of the April Sprout.