Harvest Supper Sunday on Greenfield Common

  • Attendees of the 11th annual Free Harvest Supper in Greenfield are served food at Court Square. file photo

  • Attendees of the 11th annual Free Harvest Supper in Greenfield fill tables and chairs at Court Square. file photo

Staff Writer
Published: 8/23/2018 9:48:15 PM

GREENFIELD — The 13th Free Harvest Supper takes place on the Greenfield Common Sunday afternoon, with locally grown foods prepared by local chefs — and a dance party thrown into the mix.

Last year’s community buffet drew about 700 diners to the Common, according to organizer Kirsten Levitt, executive chef at Stone Soup Cafe. But in other years, attendance has been as high as 1,100 she said.

“This year, we’re hoping that our guests will increase,” she said. Levitt said the community meal was started in 2005, as a way to celebrate the local harvest and encourage people to eat locally grown food. The idea was sparked by the late Juanita Nelson, a Deerfield farmer and peace activist, who remembered a 1981 community dinner sponsored by the Greenfield Farmers Market. She said that event attracted 225 people at its former location in the Franklin County Courthouse parking lot, but the meal was not free of charge.

Since then, the Free Harvest Supper has grown, with the cooks of local restaurants volunteering their time and kitchens to prepare food that is donated by local growers, farmers and food producers.

This year, the supper will be taking place as the city has moved to remove a homeless encampment that has been situated on the Common since July. While the mayor has cited the supper as the proximate reason for removing the tent town, Harvest Supper organizers have said they could have worked around the encampment and welcomed the homeless to the meal.

“The menu is based on donations, with some staples that are favorites,” says Levitt. “The turkey peach salad, blueberry wheatberry salad, pesto potato salad and corn-on-the-cob will be back.”

The 16 dishes on the menu include some vegan and gluten-free items. They include roasted pork Kapusta, ratatouille, ginger miso chicken and apple salad, kimchee, fruit salad and ice cream.

The meal begins at 4:30 p.m., with appetizers that are shared as people wait in line for the buffet items. Beyond the food, there will be music and entertainment. Also, there will be a “free market” of donated produce that people can shop for and take home.

After dinner, diners can head to the Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center for a pay-what-you-can Harvest Supper dance party (from $5 to $25) from 7 to 10 p.m.

A core group of organizers are helping to get all the logistics and structures of the meal in place, with up to 100 volunteers on the day of the event. “We ask that you support the meal’s zero-landfill goal by bringing your own plate, utensils and napkins with you, then take them home to wash,” says a statement put out by organizers. If you don’t have them, the dinner will have compostable supplies on hand.

Although the food and the labor to put the meal together has all been donated, there are costs to providing a meal for 800 people or more, including signs, nametags, portable toilet rentals, insurance and other costs. There will be collection jars at the supper. Donations will offset the costs, with the extra going to support the Franklin County Hunger Task Force. Donations may be sent in by check to: Stone Soup Cafe c/o All Souls Church, P.O. Box 542, Greenfield MA 01302. Please write “Free Harvest Supper” in the memo line of the check.


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