Savoring the Seasons: Free Harvest Supper, a showcase of local food, returns to Greenfield

For The Recorder
Published: 8/8/2017 9:23:05 AM

Early in 2005, Juanita Nelson told friends about a Greenfield Farmers Market harvest dinner held 20 years before. She said, “We should do that again. I want to encourage more people to eat locally grown food.”

Nelson, who died in 2015, was someone who could say that and several dozen people would say, “Sure! Let’s make it happen!”

That was the beginning of Greenfield’s Free Harvest Supper of locally grown food. I was fortunate to help create the supper for most of its 11 years.

It takes lots of organizing in the months before August to get food from 50 local farmers and food producers, recruit and schedule over a hundred volunteers, gather stuff like tables and chairs that’s needed, plan for local musicians to perform, arrange for children’s activities, publicize it all, plan for the Really, Really Free Market, organize a composting and recycling system, and more so you can feed a local food supper to 1,000 neighbors. For 11 years, an ad hoc group of folks from the community volunteered to do just that.

Last year, we unfortunately couldn’t pull together enough folks to organize the supper. Although there was a fun community picnic on the Common instead, many of us missed the supper. And this past spring, Stone Soup Café Executive Chef Kirsten Levitt and others set out to bring it back with a unanimous, “We’ll do it!”

Thanks to those folks, the supper will return to Greenfield’s Town Common on Sunday, Aug. 13, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. It’s free, and everyone is invited.

What’s on the menu for the supper? That question can’t be answered until the day before, when farmers and volunteers deliver a huge quantity of local fruit, vegetables, meat, eggs, cheese and other foods to All Souls Church. Then, Kirsten and other cooks will turn those ingredients into the meal we’ll eat. Imagine walking up to a large farmers market, looking at all of the food, and being told, “make dinner for a thousand people!” Well, that’s what Kirsten and her crew will be doing! In past years, we’ve feasted on many kinds of salad, bread, corn on the cob, kombucha, ice cream, etc. I am eager to taste the delights created for this year’s Supper.

This year, I’m trying a new experience. Unlike past years, I’m not an organizer or volunteer. Instead, I plan to experience what it’s like to show up with friends and just enjoy. I feel a bit squirmy saying that, and friends tease me that they’ll have to hold me back from stepping in to help out. But I know that lots of other people will help make the supper a great event!

A popular dish at past suppers is the Turkey and Peach Salad created by Maggie Zaccara of Hope & Olive. It’s easy to prepare at home, thanks to the recipe Maggie shared with me several years ago.

This Week We’re Eating ...

Turkey and peach salad: By Maggie Zaccara, Hope & Olive (2005 to 2015 Free Harvest Supper head chef)

Ingredients:

2 pounds cooked and diced or pulled turkey meat

1 pound peeled and diced peaches

3 stalks of diced celery

1 diced red onion

½ C. chopped mixed herbs such as cilantro, parsley and basil. Save a bit for garnish

¼ C. cider vinegar

¼ C. mayonnaise

Salt and pepper

Instructions:

Mix all ingredients together in mixing bowl.

Serve either as a sandwich or on top of some nice salad greens. Garnish with peach slices and chopped herbs.

Serves 6

Local food advocate and community organizer Mary McClintock lives in Conway and works as a freelance writer, editor, and book indexer. Send column suggestions and recipes to: mmcclinto@yahoo.com.


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