Savoring the Seasons: Free Harvest Supper unites community

  • A family convenes on the Greenfield Town Common to enjoy their meal at this year’s Free Harvest Supper. FOR THE RECORDER/David Rainville

For The Recorder
Published: 8/15/2017 9:54:24 AM

Like my “just got home from the Free Harvest Supper” columns from previous years, I’m writing this on Sunday evening with a big grin on my face, a full belly, delighted taste buds, and a heart swelling with gratitude for our wonderful community. This year, I experienced the Free Harvest Supper as a guest who enjoyed the yummy food, visited with friends, thanked many volunteers and walked away while many cleaned up. After 11 years of helping create the supper, it felt a bit odd not do any work for this year’s. And, I feel truly grateful to all of the folks whose hard, caring work made the event a huge success.

Greenfield Chief of Police Robert Haigh was one of many volunteers who served me dinner. I was grateful, and appreciate him for all that he does for the community.

It felt especially fitting to see Kate Stevens and John Hoffman serving locally grown food at the supper. Kate and John first inspired me in 2001 to support local farmers and locally grown food. They continue to inspire me and many others.

I also saw Kirsten Levitt, this year’s coordinator of the supper, toward the end of the meal. She was very tired and truly pleased. She appreciated all of us who had helped create the supper in the past and this year’s many volunteers.

“A big piece of the planning was the former organizers who showed up and talked about the traditions that grew from the supper. I am so grateful for the inspiration and legacy that has been passed along,” Levitt said.

One such tradition is a big banner across the serving tent that said, “Peace Begins When the Hungry are Fed.” Indeed!

Maggie Zaccara, former head chef for the supper, Kirsten and I all hugged each other; thrilled to see Juanita Nelson’s legacy live on.

I sat with my friends Deb Donaldson, Cayte McDonough and Rosa Peterson. Peterson said, “This supper brings everyone together. We need this everywhere.” That’s just what Nelson said when she originally started the Free Harvest Supper!

The four of us talked about the dishes we’d enjoyed. Donaldson said, “I loved that pesto potato salad. I’m going to make it next week.”

Looking over the menu, I saw many dishes that will be easy to make. Rubbed kale salad with roasted beets and paneer, ginger miso chicken and apple salad, and honey baked carrots to name a few.

Wendy Marsden said she’ll recreate the turkey peach salad she saw at the supper and start a new tradition with her family each summer; like their Thanksgiving tradition of eating turkey and other fall seasonal foods in November.

Kate Hunter and Patty Morey Walker savored the meal and talked about their plans to start a vegetable garden now, even though it is fairly late in the season. Donaldson suggested they could plant greens and snow peas now. I think radishes would also grow quickly enough before it gets too cold.

What late season crops would you suggest they plant? What are you harvesting from your garden now?

This week we’re eating ...

Pesto Potato Salad: by Deb Donaldson, Conway (inspired by the Free Harvest Supper)




1 cup walnuts

1 cup grated Parmesan

¼ cup of Romano

2 garlic cloves

1 cup olive oil


Pack your food processor full of basil. Add the walnuts, grated Parmesan, Romano, garlic and a cup of olive oil. Blend it all until it looks like a green paste. Toss it with cut-up, steamed potatoes. Works perfectly for lunch or dinner.

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:


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