Thursday, October 1, 2015

Harvest Party Recap!

by Beth Brown-Lucas

Captain Jack loved meeting everyone
We could not have asked for better weather for our Harvest Party this past Sunday! It was a beautiful sunny day with temperatures in the upper 70s and there was not even a chance of rain. Our party kicked off at noon with a Mix & Mingle and snacks.

Folks started arriving right at noon, excited to tour the farm and meet their fellow CSA members. Captain Jack was ready, making sure he greeted everybody as they arrived. We had delicious light snacks prepared and everyone raved about the Caramelized Poblano Chile & Onion Dip and Roasted Beet & White Bean Dip made by Farmer Andrea. Everybody mingled & chatted while enjoying NessAlla Kombucha and cold press Kickapoo coffee. We had a few activities planned, and kids tried their best to guess the seeds in the “Name that Seed” game or ringing a pumpkin in the Pumpkin Ring Toss.
In the pepper field

At about 1:00 Farmer Richard began loading the wagons for the farm tour. A few families were already on the wagons in anticipation of starting the tour! We loaded up 4 wagons and made our way down the road. Kids & adults were excited to catch a glimpse of the strawberry field and the rhubarb-we had a great view of the fields below. As we continued on our way to the sweet potatoes, we were also able to see the parsley, daikon and leeks.

The sweet potato digging begins

When we arrived at the sweet potatoes, we were all anxious to get off the wagons and into the field! Richard & Andrea led groups of children in digging the first of the sweet potatoes. Before long everyone was pulling sweet potatoes out of the dirt, and there were plenty to go around. Farmer Richard explained how to tell when a sweet potato is ready to harvest, and how the crew has to cut the vines back by hand when harvesting them. Jose Ramon, Alvaro and Rogelio helped cut the vines & dig the potatoes while our guests helped pull up bunches of sweet potatoes. One party attendee found one of the biggest sweet potatoes anyone had ever seen! It was over 2 feet long!

Now that's a giant sweet potato!
After we finished digging sweet potatoes, our wagon caravan made its way to the next stop- peppers, tomatoes, tomatillos and eggplants. Kids were so excited to pick the mini-sweet peppers and eat to their hearts’ content. Everyone wandered through the rows picking Orange Ukraine peppers, tomatillos, eggplant and some tomatoes. We made sure to tell everyone which peppers were the hot peppers, although a few brave souls tried eating raw jalapeƱos and lived to tell the tale! We were asked lots of great questions, like “How do you know when an eggplant is ready to harvest?”, “Why are the peppers planted on that reflective stuff?”  and “Do you have extra bags?” Our expert farmers and crew were happy to answer questions and help everyone pick and carry lots of great treats back to the wagons.

Picking the perfect pumpkin!
From there we headed to the main attraction-the pumpkin field! Andrea & Richard helped people find the Cinnamon Girl pie pumpkins and we see a lot of pies and pumpkin soup being made soon. Others wanted the big pumpkins for carving and a few took armloads of pumpkins back from the field. Andrea searched high and low for her special pumpkin carved with her name until somebody called out that they found a pumpkin with “AJ” written on it. Captain Jack’s special pumpkin was never found even though Richard made it very easy this year and just carved “Dog” into the pumpkin.  He wasn’t too disappointed that nobody brought his pumpkin back for him though. After everyone had picked their pumpkins, we loaded up the wagons and prepared to head back for the pig roast. A few adventurous partygoers took a tour of the effigy mounds with Richard while the rest of us made our way back to enjoy the food.

The food was plentiful!

Everyone worked up a good appetite with all the field work, and the pig roast was accompanied by an abundance of side dishes, salads and desserts. So many people commented on how wonderful the food was and went back for second and third plates just so they could sample everything! It’s safe to say that nobody went home hungry.
Thanks for coming to our party!

At the end of the day, it was a very successful Harvest Party. Many people commented that it was a perfect day to visit the farm and that they loved the chance to see where their food is grown and meet their farmers. It was wonderful to meet so many new people, and see long time friends of the farm. A big thank you to all the Harmony Valley crew who volunteered to help with set-up, drive tractors and clean up after the party ended. Thanks to all who attended the party and made it such a fun day. We were so happy to be able to share the day with you and had so much fun showing you the farm and talking with you. We hope to see you next year!

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