April 2017 – Recipe of the Month: Sriracha Roasted Broccoli

Broccoli FeaturedSoon it will be time for baskets and baskets of broccoli! This nutritious vegetable is an excellent source of Vitamin C and fiber. While California produces the vast majority of broccoli in this country, we’re proud to produce locally grown broccoli right here in Grafton.  

Sriracha Roasted Broccoli

Adapted from Little Chef, Big Appetite

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons sriracha
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb. broccoli crowns and peeled stems

Preheat your oven to 425°. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, sriracha, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey and garlic. Add the broccoli to the bowl and toss to coat. Spread the broccoli mixture in an even layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast for 10 minutes, then remove from oven, flip and turn on the broiler. Broil the broccoli for 4-5 minutes more, until the edges are crisp. Allow the broccoli to cool for 3-5 minutes, then serve.

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Greetings and Goodbyes at CHP

Brittany PicIf you’ve ever visited the Community Harvest Project offices, then you’re familiar with the whirling dervish that is Brittany Grenon. Filled with energy, new ideas, and a passion for CHP that can’t be beat, Brittany worked tirelessly to build up our fundraising program. This past month Brittany transitioned out of her role at CHP, but not before accomplishing many great things!

One of her greatest achievements was bringing Salesforce to CHP. Salesforce has allowed us to digitize our volunteer sign-ups and scheduling, better track our donations, and reach out to our community in more ways than ever before. It now forms the backbone of our operations, and it’s hard to imagine our office operating any other way! Brittany also worked to build up our Harvest Home 5K event to over 200 runners, brought new life to our appeals and materials, and more. While we will miss her spunky presence in the office, we can’t wait to see she does next in her community.

Carolyn_Resized IIWhen it came time to look for a new Development Manager, we decided to transition this role to full-time. As our organization continues to grow, so too have our fundraising needs. That’s where our newest team member, Carolyn Ambrose, comes in! Carolyn comes to us after several years of development work at The Hanover Theatre in downtown Worcester. Her experience, great sense of humor, and positive energy are already working their magic on our office.

Read below to learn more about Carolyn:

Q: Why did you choose to come to CHP?
A: I love CHP’s mission to improve access to healthy fruits and vegetables for those who need them most.  My background is in development for a nonprofit organization that shares the same passion as CHP to create healthy and engaged communities through volunteering.  I plan to personally engage individuals and corporations not only for donations and sponsorship opportunities but also with the help of the CHP team to offer them the invaluable experience and the wonderful feeling of doing good in the community.  Doing both successfully will make my heart sing.

Q:What are you tackling in your first weeks here?
A: I’m enjoying learning all about the farming industry – it is absolutely fascinating!  The team is so helpful, engaging and smart!  And boy do they work hard, really hard!

Q: When you’re not at the barn, what activities do you enjoy?
A: When I’m not at the barn, you can find me on the beach in Cape Cod reading a book, skiing, hiking or walking, spending time with my family and friends or tending my own garden – I love to weed.

Q: What’s your favorite vegetable? How do you like to cook it?
A: I adore tomatoes smothered in mayo with salt and pepper! I also love them in my husband’s Italian gravy with garlic and fresh basil over pasta, it is to die for!

Read the rest of the March Sprout!

 

 

Support CHP By Adopting a Row or Tree!

cubanelle-and-bellOur farmers have been hard at work this winter repairing equipment, pruning apple trees and creating crop plans in preparation of our upcoming growing season! In 2017, volunteers will help Community Harvest Project plant 256 rows of crops and care for 3,200 apple trees. Will you support these crops by contributing to our Adopt-a- Row or Adopt-a- Tree programs?

Your adoption of a specific fruit or vegetable directly supports caring for crops and providing essential farming supplies, including seeds and trays, potting soil, fertilizer, water, and more. You can be an important part of our season by donating today so we can sow seeds tomorrow.

With the help of your contribution, CHP will engage over 10,000 community members in 2017 who will help us grow and donate over 250,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables to those who need them most. Our combined efforts will have a significant impact on the hunger relief agencies that we donate to. Thank you for your support and we hope to see you at the farm this season!

Read the rest of the March Sprout!

Coming Soon: Spring on the Farm

SpOTFSpring is here! That means the greenhouse is coming alive with sprouts, we’re prepping for volunteers, and planning spring programs. Our hallmark spring program happens over April vacation: Spring on the Farm! This is a 4-day vacation camp for 4th-7th graders, which takes place from 8:30am-2:30pm. Sign up your child for all four days for $190, or just pick the days that fit best in your schedule for $50/day. Spring on the Farm is open to residents of all towns. Activities are different each day, but all will focus on nutrition, hands-on cooking, plants, and the environment.

Since farming will be underway, we will be able to spend some time each day doing a volunteer farm task, which could be counting and filling seed trays, seeding, or transplanting outside.

7As with all of our education programs, in Spring on the Farm we focus on learning, tasting, and experimentation. Knowing what foods are healthy does little use if you don’t like to eat them! We will have a different theme every day to guide our tastings and recipes: protein, carbs, fat, and vitamins/minerals. We will learn the basics of each group, how to choose healthy options of each, and then taste and cook them. Campers are encouraged to try new things, retry things they’ve had before, try them cooked in new ways, and also make their own creations to ensure they find a way to prepare healthy foods that fits their tastes. We hope this inspires them to carry this personalization and ownership of healthy foods back to your kitchen!

The rest of our time will be spent exploring the fields and forest surrounding the farm, conducting experiments, and doing hands on crafts and activities. Space is limited, so sign up sooner rather than later! Sign up on our education page (look below Winter on the Farm), and email tori@community-harvest.org with additional questions.

Read the rest of the March Sprout!

March 2017 – Volunteers of the Month: Eastern Michigan University

20170222_155326We recently hosted an Alternative Break with students from Eastern Michigan University who were visiting Worcester County in order to learn more about food justice.  These students took this time away from school to have meaningful discussion and immersion into the non-profit world in order to learn more about those who help to provide food to communities in need.  During their time with us they helped to prepare the greenhouses for spring planting, helped us to get caught up on some backlogged office tasks and spent some time at the orchard helping to prepare mouse guards for our thousands of trees.  In addition they visited several of our partner organizations to learn about the many facets of the challenging issues surrounding food insecurity.  They were able to tour the Worcester County Food Bank, worked in the kitchen with Community Servings, helped stock the food pantry and assist some of the recipients of food relief at Jeremiah’s Inn and ate lunch at Café Reyes a program of the Hector Reyes House.   

IMG_1560These students represented all four classes from EMU, Stephen Elugbemi – 2017, Tamara Washington – 2017, Louise Barbosa – 2017, Joshua Plonka – 2017, Kenadi Jefferson – 2018, Nolan Peterson – 2019 and Mariah McHaffie – 2020.  We truly enjoyed hosting this experience for them and feel lucky to have learned as much as they did from their impressions of the work that we do and the community in which we serve.  We would like to give them a rousing round of applause for their interest in learning more about food justice and the non-profit world.  They all showed great potential and desire to go back to their home communities to “Plant a Seed” and make a difference!  

Here are just some of the impressions that they had during their quick visit to our community:

  • About Community Harvest Project; “This organization does some amazing work with some great partners.  The heart of every organization is the leadership, and working with them has made working on the farm a fun experience that we have looked forward to taking part in.  It was surprising to us that this team was so dedicated to teaching us everything about the farm and the community, it was hard to believe that they could be equally invested in the thousands of people who come to their farm every year.  However, these days of service working side by side proves that love for the work has created a deep love for the people involved, and we have never met a more passionate group.”
  • Visiting Community Servings; “Being in a high production kitchen was amazing, but knowing where the produce is sourced as well as where it will end up enriched the experience deeply.  It was also an opportunity to meet other volunteers who had various reasons for choosing to serve their community; this strengthened my purpose as well. This activity was the most direct impact I feel I have made within this week-long experience.”
  • “Overall, this week has provided an opportunity for each of us to understand the amount of work and effort that these non-profits commit themselves to in not only building their organizations, but interacting with their communities at all levels and in every possible way.  This experience has stressed how a large movement starts by just one person dedicating their time to positively impact their environment.  While no organization is perfect, our group was able to create, from these experiences, new ideas about how we can help our own communities when we return home.”

    Read the rest of the March Sprout!

March 2017 – Recipe of the Month: Turnip Chips & Dip

Turnip GreensTurnips are a New England staple that tend to get their moment in the fall as a component of hearty side dishes. However, there are varieties of turnips that can be found locally starting in early summer, such as Hakurei and Scarlet Queen, in addition to fall standards like Purple Top and Golden Ball. No matter what variety of turnip you’re preparing, you can use the greens to create a new dish. This recipe keeps it simple, and uses every last bit of your turnips. 

Turnip Chips & Dip

Adapted from With the Grains

Turnip Chips:

  • 10-12 small-medium turnips & greens
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1-2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Wash, and slice the turnips thin. Set aside the turnip greens.In a large bowl, toss turnips with remaining ingredients; stirring to evenly coat them with oil and spices.Lay turnip chips flat on a baking sheet. Bake for 40-60 minutes, to desired crispness, flipping the turnips halfway through baking. Turnip chips are best enjoyed while still warm.

Turnip Dip:

  • 5-6 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved
  • 2-3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Your set aside turnip greens
  • Handful of fresh dill
  • Dash of freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup full-fat Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup cashews (or nut of choice)

In a saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter, and sautee the garlic, until soft and lightly brown. Combine the remaining butter, the garlic, and the remaining ingredients in a food processor or blender. Pulse to desired consistency. Keep chilled until ready to serve.
Read the rest of the March Sprout!

Winter on the Farm Starts Next Week

 

pizzaWinter on the Farm is next week! With all the recent snow days you may have exhausted your inside entertainment, but we have the perfect opportunity for your 4th-7th grader. Winter on the Farm is held February 21-24, 8:30am-2:30pm at 37 Wheeler Road in Grafton. Sign up is by the day, so you can pick exactly which ones work in your schedule (or all 4!). Each day we do activities that focus on exposure to new food prepared in different ways, hands-on cooking, science, and the environment. Here’s what we have in store:

On Tuesday we will be highlight stems and leaves. We’ll discuss the roles stems and leaves perform for plants, and then do a leaf tasting. From there we will make kale chips and learn the basics of salad dressing before we launch into our salad dressing lab where each camper will create their own dressing. Even though many trees are without leaves, the conifers around the farm are still nice and green. We’ll learn about conifers then go on a hike to try to identify some. Next the kids will be plant detectives. We’ll learn a few ways to identify problems with plants, then diagnose some ailing house plants. We’ll finish off the day by learning about how greenhouses work and building our own from recycled materials.

Wednesday is all about seeds. 2 special guests and registered dieticians will stop by to make no-bake protein balls. We’ll look at a variety of seeds and their characteristics and then have a seed tasting. Two seeds will be focused on to make seed dips. For our daily outdoor activity we will be learning about seed dispersal and going for a hunt for seeds outside (you’d be surprised what we can find, even now!). In the afternoon we will be learning about complete proteins (many plant based ones come from seeds) and making seed packs.

On Thursday we move underground to root of the plants. We will do our daily tasting with all roots, then talk about the importance of breakfast and make some pancakes with a surprising root vegetable ingredient. We’ll head outside to do some animal tracking then come back in for lunch. Learning about go, slow, and whoa foods will be followed by a creative endeavor featuring some great “go” foods….root vegetables!

For our last day we will learn about flowers and pollinators. We’ll making dumplings with flowers and then spend some time outside. In the afternoon we’ll create feeders for a special pollinator, the hummingbird!

There are still a few spots left in Winter on the Farm! Register by the day for $50/each, or for all 4 days for $190. You child is sure to be kept busy and entertained throughout the days, all while learning about ways to customize nutritious foods, experiencing the great outdoors, and making new friends. Register here , and for more information email tori@community-harvest.org.

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Where Are Our Interns Now? Part II

interns-iiWe got such great feedback last month about our article on our Summer Internship Program that we figured we would continue to focus on the power of that program.  While winter seems as though it would be a quiet period here at the farm we are knee deep in planning for our 2017 Season.  A key piece of that process is to recruit for our Summer Internship Program with our college partners near and far.  There is time spent at local college recruitment events and on communication with students inquiring about spending their summer here at the farm.  Believe it or not by the end of March most students have their summer commitments in place so the next couple of weeks will be critical for our Internship Program.

We are extremely proud of the work that our interns engage in here at the farm and are even more excited when the seeds that we plant with them grow into great ideas and work after they leave us.  We thought that we would check in with a few more of our former interns and ask how the internship experience impacted them in making future decisions and updating us on what they are doing now.  The emails that we received speak for themselves and we are really proud of all of the students that we have been able to work with over the years.  We are also very proud of our ability to share the great resources of our farms to impact students, their understanding of non-profit work and how they use this learning in to make career decisions.  If you know of a college student looking for an opportunity for this summer please let them know that CHP is an option!  

Matt Moore, Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition and Policy, CHP Intern Class of 2015
Interning at CHP rounded out my food and agricultural education at graduate school by providing me with hands-on experience. Whether you’re trying to effect policy change or help someone eat healthier, it’s extremely important to consider all perspectives on food-related (or any field) issues. As an intern, I had the opportunity to plant vegetables, meet politicians, and engage with staff and volunteers from many different backgrounds. Food brings so many people together, and interning at CHP reinforced how integral it is to people’s lives, but also that there are no one-size-fits-all solutions to policy or nutritional questions. CHP certainly helped to prepare me for future work in the fields of food and nutrition. And of course, being able to literally see the fruits of your labor provides incredible motivation.

Claire Weston, Holy Cross, CHP Intern Class of 2015/2016
I am the Outreach Coordinator at a small non-profit (deja vu) called the Community Science Institute (CSI), that enlists volunteers to monitor water quality in nine different watersheds, including those that feed into Cayuga and Seneca Lake. I manage volunteers, coordinate events, create educational presentations and displays, and dabble in fundraising. From that description you can probably tell that working at CHP strongly guided my interests and influenced my projected career path. I’ve found that I have a strong desire to engage with the community in a meaningful way and I can say that, without a doubt, interning at CHP helped to cultivate that passion. Furthermore, CHP provided me with the skills needed to work effectively with large groups of volunteers and the awareness needed to guide and inspire them. As any CHP staff member can testify to, engaging the community and utilizing the passion and drive of volunteers is hard work but incredibly rewarding and of paramount importance. Finally, CHP prepared me for, and instilled in me, the desire to play an integral role as part of a small staff. I don’t fade into the background at CSI and interning at CHP made me really appreciate that. I felt valued at CHP, and so, moving forward, I have made it a point to maintain that sense of pride and importance in my work.   

Leta Branham, Clark University, CHP Intern Class of 2016 (currently studying in Senegal)
Interning at Community Harvest Project has really inspired what I want to focus my academics on. I’ve become very interested in food security and food justice, along with agriculture and issues of race. Studying in Dakar Senegal for the semester provides the perfect backdrop for all these interests to come together. While here, I’m taking classes in environment and development as well as history of the Atlantic Slave Trade. Additionally, I hope to learn about agricultural practices are here and how that relates to food justice, especially in a country where water is very scarce and expensive.

Stephanie McCulloch, Ithaca College, CHP Intern Class of 2015
During my junior year of college, I was offered an internship at two different nonprofit organizations, one of them being Community Harvest Project. At the time, I had become extremely passionate about food justice issues, and I was looking to learn more about how sustainable farming could play a role in remediating these issues.  Looking back, I know that I accepted the internship with CHP because I would truly be a part of their mission statement.

When I first started working for CHP, I did not know a lot about farming. However, within two and a half months, not only did I learn how to do everything to keep the land productive, but I became much more aware of how CHP’s work benefited the community. I believe it is CHP’s success in providing food to so many people in need that influenced me to continue on to graduate school. CHP has found a way to incorporate sustainable practices into its system while providing people with healthy food. It is the idea that all efforts to produce this food are not to make a profit, but to make a difference in a person’s life by promoting health that convinces me my efforts at Tufts can help me do the same. The incredible feelings of love, empowerment, and joy I had during my time at CHP, I hope to have again when I assist in making agriculture policy changes that benefit the health of people and the environment.

I owe a great deal to Community Harvest Project for giving me the bulk of my farming knowledge because without it, I would not understand the work involved in producing food. If I did not have this farming and educational experience, then I believe I would not be as prepared to determine what changes to the food system need to be made, from the soil plants are grown in and how the food is distributed. I have so much more to learn to make my career goals a reality, but interning for Community Harvest Project convinced me that working hard in this next life chapter will be worth it.

Read the rest of the February Sprout!

Winter at Prospect Hill Orchard

Orchard Pruning_Resized.jpgThe winter months at the orchard are busy ones.  We began pruning our roughly 3000 apples trees in the first week of January and will continue through the end of March.  It can be a daunting task but is a very satisfying one.  There is something gratifying about approaching a tree that has grown vigorously throughout the last season and carefully shaping and cutting the branches with the thought of the good fruit that is to come from your efforts.

Annual pruning is one of the most important cultural practices in apple growing for many reasons.   Probably the most obvious reason is to reduce tree size for its allotted space in the orchard. It is important to keep the aisles open for orchard equipment and easier harvesting.  We remove any large limbs first with a chainsaw.  Pruning is also used to form a strong framework that will support a heavy fruit load.  Broken, dead or diseased branches should always be removed, but the most important reason for pruning is thinning the branches so light penetrates throughout the tree.  Sunlight helps produce high quality fruit and the buds the fruit are grown from.

We have been very fortunate to have a few dedicated volunteers helping us prune.  These folks range from people who have a small orchard on their property to apples enthusiast and those who just enjoy working outdoors and wanted to learn a new skill.   If you are interested in helping us prune, we will be hosting an open volunteer day on Saturday, February  25th from 9am-12.  No experience is necessary but you will need to bring your own saw and loppers.  Click here for more information!

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February 2017 – Recipe of the Month: Collards

collards_resizedDid you know that collard greens were among our last crops of the 2016 season? These hardy greens can survive cold temperatures, and we harvested ours right into December. Not only do we love their long growing season and versatility, but we also love the health benefits of collards – they’re high in dietary fiber and vitamins B9, C, A, and K. So this month, to ward against winter colds, we’re giving creamed collards a try!

Creamed Collard Greens

Adapted from Nourished Kitchen

  • 2 tbsp of butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 bunches of collard greens, stems removed and leaves chopped into ribbons
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • Salt and nutmeg, to taste

Melt butter in a skillet on moderate heat until it froths, then toss in the sliced yellow onion, frying in melted butter until caramelized on the edges. Add chopped collard greens to the skillet and stir until slightly wilted, about two minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in the cup of heavy cream. Simmer for five to six minutes, until the cream is largely reduced. Season with nutmeg and salt to taste, and serve hot.

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