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Editorial: Celebrate the Free Harvest Supper

Sunday, Greenfield and its neighbors have a chance to take part in a special event that one might say is a dietary staple — the Free Harvest Supper.

It’s a must for all who like good food based upon our area farms, an event that is one where some of the finest ingredients of the community — fellowship and volunteerism — are readily on display.

Credit has to go to Juanita Nelson, who first brought up the idea of such a meal 10 years ago and who has long been a proponent of eating locally grown food. Credit, too, to Dorothea Sotiros, who was then working at Green Fields Market and Maggie Zaccara, who now is at the Hope and Oliver restaurant in Greenfield but then was at A Bottle of Bread restaurant in Shelburne Falls, for taking Nelson’s idea and putting into motion.

And to our own Mary McClintock, who has tirelessly promoted the idea, as well as volunteering for the grunt work of making it happen.

It’s hard to believe that it was 10 years ago that the idea took root. That first meal had 20 area farmers providing produce and a number of local restaurants and other volunteers putting it together. What the more than 200 attendees found in arriving for that first meal was corn on the cob, shiitake mushroom salad, fresh cucumbers with goat’s milk feta cheese and green, red, orange and yellow tomatoes.

By everyone’s estimation that first dinner was truly a success.

“People are suggesting they would like this to be yearly,” Nelson told The Recorder as that inaugural Free Harvest Supper was winding down. “If they want it, we’ll have it.”

Ten years later, there’s no lack of enthusiasm for the community meal, from those planning to enjoy the feast to the many volunteers who help prepare and set up the supper that last year had some 1,000 diners go through the line.

It’s also an event that raises money so that the Center for Self-Reliance Food Pantry can distribute coupons for the farmers’ markets in Greenfield, Turners Falls, Orange and Shelburne Falls.

Great food, great company and a chance to help others.

It’s all a recipe for a terrific time. So why not join family and friends at this year’s Free Harvest Supper, between 4:30 and 6:30 on the Greenfield Town Common?

It’s one meal that shouldn’t be missed.

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