Looking Back on the Season

The 2018 season is winding down, and our team has had a lot to reflect on. Here are some end-of-season thoughts from our Volunteer Farming team:

Dave Johnson, Farm Manager:
As farmers we are uniquely fortunate to experience the nuances of day to day change throughout our New England seasons.  We strive to align ourselves and our work with the rhythm of this cycle on a daily basis.  With leaves beginning to turn and autumn’s characteristic crispness on the air, we are reminded that when we walk in step with our natural surroundings, many things are above our control.  We’re gifted the opportunity to work alongside the plants, soil, critters (the helpful and the less-helpful), and even the weather to grow delicious, nutritious, and beautiful fruits and vegetables for neighbors in our community to enjoy and give to their families.  Here at the farm, this season has brought thousands of individuals and groups together to work and have fun in service to a mission bigger than any of us alone.  The 2018 growing season has presented us with a good number of challenges, but we’ve enjoyed our successes too.  Some of our all-stars this year include peppers, eggplant, butternut squash, and the seemingly never-ending green beans!
As we embark on the process of planning and looking toward the coming year it is both humbling and exciting to apply the lessons that the farm continues to teach.  There is an abundance of potential living in the soil we till, the seeds we plant, and the countless community members who give of their time and effort.  We continue to do our very best to realize and cultivate that potential and treat each new season as a gift.
Susan Conant, Orchard Manager:

Over the past two months, we have been very busy at Prospect Hill Farm harvesting and packing apples and are looking forward to some quieter days ahead.  This growing season was not without its challenges, but a growing season on a farm rarely is.  The unseasonably warm temperatures in August and September combined with the very wet weather had an impact on the already medium to light apple crop.  We have had some wonderfully resilient volunteers this harvest season picking in all kinds of conditions from near 100 degree heat to heavy cold rain.  Thank you to all the volunteers that made this season a success!  Despite the weather obstacles, we are on track to donate over 100,000 pounds of apples to local hunger relief organizations this year.

Volunteers of the Month: Dell EMC

VolunteerGroup.Dell.2017 (17).JPGThis month we would like to applaud a very large and mighty volunteer group that offers unique support to Community Harvest Project year in and year out .  Our friends at Dell EMC continue to connect with our work in large numbers and over the last couple of years they have volunteered at such a rate that they account for almost a quarter of our total volunteer count.  Year after year Dell EMC group coordinators do the work of organizing teams to come out and help with our hunger relief efforts. Because of this effort this year brings to a total of over 10,000 volunteer visits to our Grafton and Harvard since they began visiting.  

Our Dell EMC volunteers also find creative ways to help us drive our mission with interesting events such as holiday luncheons or an inside mini golf tournament at headquarters with proceeds being donated to support our work.  They recognize the great need in our community to provide healthy produce to those seeking hunger relief services. It is fitting that this level of support comes to us via Hopkinton as that is where our little project started with the Abbotts original Elmwood Farm.  We like to think that they would be proud to see the amount of support sprouting out from Dell EMC just down the road from their farm.

We would like to thank the entire Dell EMC Team for their incredible support in 2018 and look forward to seeing them back on our farms next year.  We could not do this work without their help and are humbled that they continue to choose to work with Community Harvest Project.

 

One Step Further Campaign

YE IconsThanks to the hard work of our volunteers, over 60,000 food insecure community members received fresh, nutritious produce this summer. We were recently reminded of their impact by one our hunger relief partners, Community Servings. After receiving fresh lettuce, tomatoes, and squash, Kevin Conner, Director of Food Services, remarked:

 “Our partnership with Community Harvest Project enriches our meals with top-quality local produce. Community Servings’ culinary and nutrition teams use the fresh, local produce to carefully construct 15 different diets to accommodate the nutritional and medical needs of our clients suffering from a variety of critical and chronic illnesses.”

Everyday your work helped food insecure individuals live healthy lives. Hunger is an ongoing issue that does not end just because the summer does, which is why our work never stops and we continue to take steps to ensure that every neighbor has access to the food they need. Nevertheless, we can’t do it without your help.

That is why today, we are embarking on our One Step Further Campaign. Our goal is raise $50,000 by December 31. We know you are as passionate about hunger relief we are and we hope you be willing to take your passion one step further to make a donation to feed more individuals and families in need.

We are beyond excited to share that your donation today will have double the impact, thanks to a generous match! Major General (US Army, Retired) Robert and Karen Catalanotti, Assumption College Trustee and Community Harvest Project Team Leader, respectively, is proud and honored to support our hunger relief efforts this year. The first donations up to $10,000 will be matched dollar by dollar, to make their impact go even further.

Please join us today by making a donation! Your support will make a real, lasting impact in the lives of food insecure community members.

Thank you!

What’s Cooking: Whole Grains

What's Cooking - October.PNGIn our September cooking class we learned about whole grains! First we started with what a grain is (the seed from many different plants in the grass family) and examined the seeds from the winter rye we grow as cover crop on the farm. Then we talked about the difference between a whole grain and a refined grain. A grain is made up for 3 parts: the bran, endosperm, and germ. The majority of the nutrients and fiber are in the bran and germ, which are removed when a grain is refined (like when making white rice or white flour). The benefit to refining is the grain product can last longer, but it is not nearly as nutritious. The Harvard School of Public Health recommends the majority of the grains we eat be whole grains.

Our recipe for the class was a salad with farro, a kind of wheat that is often consumed as the whole seed (like rice), as opposed to ground in to a flour. It cooks up in about 20 minutes, and freezes well. Since we still had summer produce to work with we made the salad with tomatoes and peaches, but this is easily adaptable with other vegetables. Root vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, asparagust, and just about any other vegetables you can think of would be great.

Coming up we have classes featuring orange foods for Halloween, eggs, pizza, and party food for the holiday season! All classes are open enrollment, and proceeds support our hunger relief efforts.

Broccoli Head Chefs (9-12 year olds)

The Beta Carotene Monster – Tuesday, October 30th, 2018, 3:30-5:30pm

Magic Eggs – Tuesday, November 27th, 2018, 3:30-5:30pm

It’s a Party! – Monday, December 10th, 2018, 3:30-5:30pm

Celery Sous Chefs (5-8 year olds)

The Beta Carotene Monster – Tuesday, October 23rd, 4-5pm

Personalize Your Pizza – Tuesday, November 13th, 2018, 4-5pm

Delightful Dips – Monday, December 3rd, 2018, 4-5pm

 

Summer Farro Salad

Adapted from https://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/summer-farro-salad/

Ingredients:

For the salad:

  • 2 cups cooked farro
  • 5 kale leaves, torn into small pieces
  • 1 large peaches, pitted and chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes (halved) or chopped tomato
  • 1 cup corn (raw or frozen)
  • A large handful basil, torn into pieces

For the dressing:

  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. In a jar combine olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Shake to combine.
  2. In a large bowl combine the farro, greens, peaches, tomatoes, corn, and basil. Add the dressing and toss to combine.