Prospect Hill Community Orchard Pruning Update

With over 3,000 apple trees in the orchard, pruning can be a daunting and time consuming task.  To be exact, it takes the staff with the help of our “Tuesday Crew” volunteers three months to complete. This year has been particularly kind to the pruners, although we still have many weeks to go. The mild temperatures and little snow fall have made it easier to make our way through the orchard both because we are not trudging through snow and not wearing 5 layers of clothing to stay warm.

While some may think this a less than ideal time of year to spend hours and hours working outside, there are many good reasons why we prune in the winter. Maybe the most obvious reason is that we have more time available during this season when our days are not consumed by mowing, planting, harvesting, scouting the orchard, spraying, weeding and fertilizing. By the time January comes around, the trees have dropped their leaves allowing us to really see their structure and make the best cuts to promote growth where we want. When the trees are dormant there is a much lower risk of spreading disease, namely Fireblight, from tree to tree with pruning tools. But the most important reason we prune in the winter is because the trees are in a dormant state. Dormant pruning stimulates stronger, more vigorous growth.  Basically, by pruning when the trees are dormant we are setting the trees up for a good start to the growing season where their stored energy can be utilized best on the branches we have selectively left to bear fruit.

In addition to pruning thousands of trees, we will also be removing approximately 100 of our older, less productive McIntosh trees this winter. In the Spring, we will replant with a new variety to our orchard called Ambrosia.

Farming for Hunger Relief: Sustainable Orchard Internship

Spend your summer working with a leading Central Massachusetts non-profit organization as they continue to improve operations and expand their reach of healthy produce to Worcester County’s most vulnerable. Gain valuable experience and learn about a sustainable orchard and volunteer organization, the basics of non-profit operations, and volunteer organizing while you spend your summer outdoors. Work directly with an experienced Orchard Manager, responsible for 30 acres of fruit trees. Be part of a dynamic team aiding hunger relief in Worcester County while exploring your future.  


Our Interns will participate fully in all aspects of operating a non-profit volunteer farming organization at our orchard. They will have direct hands-on engagement in farming 30 acres of fruit trees. Including 3,200 apple trees and 150 peach trees nestled on a 75 acre property in Harvard, MA.  They will be involved in orchard operations and have opportunities to participate in special projects. Tasks include but not limited to:

  • Assist with orchard tasks such as pruning, fruit thinning, fertilizing, crop/growth analysis, mowing, irrigation, pest control, weed management, and property upkeep under the direction of our Orchard Manager. 
  • Assist with maintaining a positive volunteer experience for all who visit the farm
  • Occasional visits to work with our farm team in North Grafton, MA will be required.    
  • Support and work on some organizational events as needed 
  • Other tasks as needed

Educational Components 

  • Interns will have the opportunity to work with and learn from all staff members of the non-profit and will gain insight into the multi-faceted operations of the organization 
  • Interns will be responsible for completing a group orchard project by the end of the internship
  • The internship also includes off-site visits to partner organizations which allows students an opportunity to learn more about local hunger relief efforts and non-profit partnerships.

Requirements, qualified applicants will:

  • Be an excellent communicator and be able to demonstrate previous leadership responsibility
  • Have interest and/or some experience in farming or gardening
  • Be able to lift farm equipment and/or produce weighing up to 50 pounds
  • Be comfortable using or learning to use power tools like weed-whackers and lawn mowers 
  • Be prepared for work in outdoor weather conditions, we operate rain or shine
  • Work within a team or independently, be self-motivated, with great attention to detail
  • Have reliable transportation   
  • Be available for 30 hours per week, June through August, working primarily morning hours with an occasional late afternoon/early evening. Unique scheduling needs may be negotiated in advance are are subject to operational needs of the organization
  • Be flexible and have a sense of humor! This is a real farming operation and we operate at the whim of nature, so flexibility is key

Organization Information: 

Community Harvest Project (CHP), a 501(c)3 organization, is dedicated to improving access to healthy foods through community engagement.  Through their volunteer farming, education, and volunteer programs and partnerships, they bring thousands of community members together each year to build an engaged and healthier Worcester County.  In 2019 working together with over 7,500 volunteers they produced significant fresh produce resources for individuals and families in need throughout our community who otherwise may not have had access.  The produce is donated through numerous partner organizations such as The Worcester County Food Bank, Community Servings, Loaves and Fishes, Jeremiah’s Inn, and The Hector Reyes House.  CHP operates at Brigham Hill Community Farm and White’s Farm in North Grafton, MA and at Prospect Hill Farm in Harvard, MA.  

For more information about their programs and impact, please visit


To apply send letter of interest and resume via e-mail to Wayne McAuliffe, Manager of Volunteer Programs, at 

Save the Date; Plantapalooza Plant Sale is Saturday, May 16th 2020!

Photo by Norm Eggert

Dreaming of warmer weather and being out in the garden? Mark your calendars for our annual plant sale fundraiser, Plantapalooza, on Saturday, May 16th, 2020. Prepare to explore a huge variety of annuals, perennials, fruits, vegetables, sun and shade plants, heirloom tomatoes, and new this year, specialty hot peppers. 

The first 1,000 attendees receive a free 4-pack of tomatoes!

For more information, visit our Facebook page!

All proceeds from this event will go toward supporting our mission of providing fresh fruits and vegetables for hunger relief.

Thank You 2019 Corporate and Foundation Grantmakers!

Every year Community Harvest Project relies on the generous donations from community grantors and local corporations to keep our programs up and running. 2019 was no different. Our grants supported every aspect of CHP’s work from operational support to specific programs and equipment so that we could carry out our mission of farming for hunger relief. 
Thank you to our generous grantors and corporate partners, listed below, who allow us to continue fulfilling our mission. In 2019, their support allowed CHP to host over 7,500 volunteers of all ages and backgrounds that helped us harvest and donate 417,644 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables through 16 local community partners serving 60,000 individuals and families across central Massachusetts.

Agnes M. Lindsay Trust

Avidia Bank

Bemis Associates INC

Bridging Peace Fund Of Tides Foundation

The CarMax Foundation

 Clif Bar Family Foundation 

DCU for Kids

 DELL Technologies

Doe Family Foundation

Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation


Fallon Health

The Fletcher Foundation

 Fred Harris Daniels Foundation 

Frederick E. Weber Charities Corporation

George F. and Sybil H. Fuller Foundation


Greater Worcester Community Foundation

Grimes and Company INC

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation

Hoche-Scofield Foundation

Homefield Credit Union



The J. Irving and Jane L. England Charitable Trust

 Liberty Mutual 


Nypro – A Jabil Company

People’s United Bank

Reliant Foundation

Robert Half International

 Schwartz Charitable Foundation

Stoddard Charitable Trust


TJX Foundation, Inc. 


United Way Of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley




Webster Five Foundation


Winning Home, Inc. 

White Charitable Trust

Yesod Foundation

The 200 Foundation

Thank You!

With your help, we can donate ONE MILLION MORE pounds

Boxes of pepper, cabbage, squashGenerous volunteers and contributors have made it possible for us to donate more than one million pounds of fresh produce to local hunger relief over the last five years. Fresh, nutritious fruits and vegetables were made available annually to 60,000 of our neighbors who don’t have enough nutrient-rich food to put on the table.

Food insecurity is a widespread but often invisible issue in our state. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines food insecurity as a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. For over 1 in 9 people, purchasing food becomes an uncertain choice. When limited funds are necessary for expenses such as rent, heat, transportation, and medication, the quality of the food that is available declines. There is an alarming cycle of food insecurity and chronic disease that begins when an individual or family cannot afford enough nutritious food.

A recipient of our produce at our partner organization, the Virginia Thurston Healing Garden Cancer Support Center in Harvard said:

The program has encouraged me to try new veggies and new recipes, and getting fresh produce at no cost has been invaluable since I live on limited income and I’m not working much while recovering from chemo.”

Your contributions and time spent on the farm are so valuable to our operation, but there is another way you can help. Because hunger in our community is not going away, we’re embarking on a campaign to donate ONE MILLION MORE pounds by 2025. Generous donors Dr. Steve and Lindsay Tosi feel so strongly about the impact we can make together, that they have offered to match the first $10,000 in donations to the ONE MILLION MORE campaign.

“As a doctor, I know how critical fresh fruits and vegetables can be to a patient’s health. Community Harvest Project’s mission to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to our neighbors experiencing hunger fulfills a vital need in our community. For that reason, Lindsay and I are delighted to support this much-needed project.”

Please consider making a year-end gift to Community Harvest Project so we can donate ONE MILLION MORE pounds to those experiencing hunger. Together, we can ensure our neighbors have the nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables they need to thrive.

Thank you for your support!

Read the rest of the December Sprout here!

2019 by the numbers

vegIn 2019, 35 Volunteer Team Leaders were trained to lead groups of other volunteers in all of our farm tasks, including seeding, transplanting, tending, harvesting, washing, sorting, and boxing 33 different varieties of fruits and vegetables. Those 35 Team Leaders guided 7,563 volunteers of all ages and abilities, from parents with newborns looking to get out of the house, to elementary school students seeing their plant life cycle lessons come to life, to tech company employees taking a break from the office and bonding as a team, to seniors looking to give back in during their retirement, and so many others in between.

Their collective efforts made it so 94,919 pounds of nutritious, local produce was distributed to out 16 partner agencies, who ensured that it got in the hands of our food insecure neighbors. Those pounds translate to 417,644 servings of fruits and vegetables that helped relieve the burden of healthy eating from people who are already struggling to put food on their tables. This work was made possible by 664 donations from generous volunteers and community members, who believe that your health should not be dependent on your income.

Thank you, for donating your time, skills, and funds to create our community, whose mission is provide fresh fruits and vegetables for hunger relief.

Read the rest of the December Sprout here!


Giving Tuesday succeeded because of YOU!

GT TYBecause of the incredible generosity and support of our community, we were able to raise enough funds to purchase a new gator for our farm on Giving Tuesday. Small farm vehicles, like gators, are essential to day to day farm operations. Our staff uses them to transport equipment, vegetables and people. This gator will allow full access and usage of the land we have available, therefore doubling the impact we would otherwise have on hunger in our community. Thank you again to everyone who participated by donating or spreading the word – your support is the reason Community Harvest Project works.

Read the rest of the December Sprout here!

Volunteer of the Month: 7,563 Thanks! 

05.14.2019 WegmansAs we wrap up our year there are some very special people that we would like to highlight. The work of our farms would be impossible without the 35 Volunteer Team Leaders who led all of the volunteers that visited our farms in 2019. This selfless group of leaders gives us their all day in- day out, helping with the first seed being planted and are there when the last field is being prepped for winter. They are the friendly and welcoming force that makes Community Harvest Project a leader when it comes to marshaling community efforts to support hunger relief. Thanks to them we were able to host the 7,563 volunteers that visited our farms in 2019. It does not stop there however as we have 12 Volunteer Board Members who serve at our monthly meetings and events, 12 Tuesday Volunteer Crew Members helping both farms on a weekly basis and we hosted 5 amazing Volunteer Interns this past summer. Without all of these hands we would be unable to donate hundreds of thousands of pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables to our hunger relief partners annually. 

Please join us in congratulating and thanking the 7,563 individuals who took time to help their communities by volunteering with Community Harvest Project in 2019. We are incredibly lucky to have you on our side doing this important work and are thrilled that you chose us as a place and cause worthy of your time. To that we say a hearty thanks to each and everyone of you.

Read the rest of the December Sprout here!

06.05.2019 SouthHighUnum06.25.2019 AccessTCA 207.19.2019 YNIA 1

What’s Cooking: Creamy Spinach Dip

pickle classThis month’s cooking classes featured easy and fun party foods! This spinach dip is packed with vegetables and spices for a flavorful appetizer. Kids love squeezing out the spinach, measuring all the spices, and stirring it all together.

Creamy Spinach Dip


  • 1 box (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, cooked, cooled and squeezed dry
  • 2 cups full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 can (8 oz.) water chestnuts, drained and chopped 
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons dill
  • 2 teaspoons dried chives
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons salt


Combine all ingredients and chill. Serve with sliced vegetables for dipping.

Read the rest of the December Sprout here!

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.