Savoring the Seasons: Harvest supper, redux
Court Square and the Town Common are transformed into a festive dining scene for all the community to partake in .
story AJA 8/16/09 Geoff Bluh
In 2005, Juanita Nelson said to a group of friends, “How can we encourage more people to eat locally grown food and support local farmers? Twenty years ago, the Greenfield Farmers Market had harvest dinners at the end of the season. We should do that again.”
Her friends said, “Let’s do it!”
Many people pitched in and Juanita’s seed of an idea quickly grew into the Free Harvest Supper of Locally Grown Food. When it came time to pick a date for that first supper, the group decided on the third Sunday in August. I was at that planning meeting and can’t remember if we knew the third Sunday in August is often on or near Juanita’s birthday, August 17.
In 2005, Juanita couldn’t have imagined her idea would turn into an annual event that last year was produced by over 130 volunteers, used food donations from over 50 local farms and food producers to feed over 1,000 people on the Greenfield Town Common, and raised over $4,000 to support the Farmers Market Coupon Program.
Juanita also couldn’t have imagined she’d spend the day after her 90th birthday celebrating locally grown food on the Greenfield Town Common.
It’s 2013 and Juanita Nelson turns 90 on Aug. 17. She’s been looking forward to the Free Harvest Supper for months. Juanita will have a special table at the supper to greet friends and enjoy the meal.
Here’s how you can help Juanita celebrate her birthday: Write a short description of what you do with locally grown food and/or what food you grow and preserve and/or your favorite ways to prepare it and/or how the Free Harvest Supper has inspired you to enjoy locally grown food. Include your name and where you live. Bring your description to the Free Harvest Supper or send it me at email@example.com and I’ll deliver it to Juanita. Juanita will enjoy reading what you write.
Come to the Free Harvest Supper. Together, we’re living Juanita’s vision of enjoying locally grown food and supporting local farmers.
Free Harvest Supper at a glance:
When: Sunday, Aug. 18, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Where: Greenfield Town Common (Court Square, intersection of Rtes. 2A and 5/10)
What: Free bountiful meal of locally grown food donated by local farmers and prepared by local chefs, live music, children’s activities, educational displays, and a Really, Really Free Market of locally grown food.
Why: The Free Harvest Supper has three goals:
◆ to encourage everyone to eat locally grown food;
◆ to support local agriculture; and,
◆ to raise money for Farmers Market coupons distributed by the Center for Self-Reliance Food Pantry.
Who: You, your family, your friends, your neighbors, folks you’ve never met. All are welcome.
How: Bring your own reusable place setting and napkin, including a cup to enjoy locally produced beverages and ice cream. And, bring a grocery bag to take home produce from the Really, Really Free Market.
Learn More: For information, visit www.freeharvestsupper.org or contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (413) 773-5029.
Seeking volunteers and food donations
A wide range of volunteer opportunities are available. Members of Franklin Community Co-operative (Green Fields and McCusker’s Markets) can get working member hours for volunteering at the Supper. To volunteer, contact Jennifer Williams at email@example.com.
Each year, over 50 farms and food producers provide the food served at the supper. If you’d like to donate your locally grown or produced food, contact
How you can support
the Free Harvest Supper
While the supper is free to all, donations are accepted and are used for Farmers Market coupons distributed by the Center for Self-Reliance Food Pantry. Local residents in need of food get coupons from the Food Pantry, use them to purchase locally grown food at the Greenfield, Turners Falls, Shelburne Falls, and Orange farmers markets, and then Food Pantry staff pay the farmers for the coupons they have accepted. It’s a win-win system. Each year, Food Pantry Director Dino Schnelle distributes thousands of dollars’ worth of Farmers Market coupons to low-income Franklin County families.
To make financial donations to the Free Harvest Supper send checks made out to:
Center for Self-Reliance to Dino Schnelle, Center for Self-Reliance Food Pantry, 3½ Osgood Street, Greenfield, MA 01301. Please note “Free Harvest Supper” on the check. For more information about the Center for Self-Reliance and the Farmers Market Coupon project, please call 413-773-5029.
Get tickets for drawings for prizes
At the supper, buy tickets for drawings. Prizes include $100 cash, $50 cash, breakfast and birdwatching hosted by Norm Hirschfeld and Marsha Stone, and three baskets from the Greenfield Farmers Market (one of sweets, one of meat and cheese, one of vegetables and fruit).
Shop for cookbooks at the World Eye Bookshop during August:
The World Eye Bookshop on Main Street in Greenfield will donate 10 percent of all cookbook sales in August to the Free Harvest Supper. If the World Eye raises $500 in donations through cookbook sales, they will double their donation! For information, visit www.worldeyebookshop.com or call 413-772-2186.
Entertainment at the Free Harvest Supper
Local musicians perform from 4 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. Performers include The Harmaniacs, a unique and dynamic harmonica trio, performing an array of music from jazz to pop. Throughout the event, there will be face painting, hula hooping, and other children’s activities. For full entertainment line-up, visit www.freeharvestsupper.org.
The Really, Really Free Market
Gardeners and farmers are welcome to bring their overflow of extra produce to share. The Really, Really Free Market is just like its name says: free. All are welcome to take home some of the donated produce. The Really, Really Free Market has included peaches, apples, eggs, tomatoes, squash, greens, flowers, cucumbers, eggplants, peppers and more. No need to sign up to donate to the Really, Really Free Market – just bring your produce to the supper from 4 to 5:30 p.m.
Get information about locally grown food, Community Supported Agriculture farms, CISA’s “Be a Local Hero” and membership programs, and more. Look for the display tables on the Common near the Really, Really Free Market.