Hadley Church Embraces Local Food Movement

The Daily Hampshire Gazette, May 12, 2016, by Sarah Crosby

Church members are incubating community through a farm-to-table dining experience this month.

The First Congregational Church of Hadley’s annual Strawberry and Asparagus Supper – an 85-year tradition – will be held May 21.

In past years, some local food has been featured in the meal. But coordinators said this year they are particularly committed to the cause.

“As part of our mission, we are trying to bring local awareness to abundant blessings in the Valley,” said co-coordinator Terri Smith.  “And there’s nothing more abundant here than local produce.”

Smith said that the church is rallying to support area farmers.

The menu, sourced almost entirely from Hadley, consists of asparagus from Czajkowski Plainview Farm and Boisvert Sugar Shack, baked ham, potato salad using products from Szawlawski Farms, strawberry shortcake made with biscuits from Barstow’s Longview Farm Bakery and ice cream from Flayvors of Cook Farm, milk and cream from Mapleline Farms, butter made from the milk of Hadley’s Maple Valley Creamery cows, and Esselon coffee.

Food and Fellowship

For years, the meals have joined food with fellowship. “Often farm people are thought of as opening the kitchen doors and letting the neighbors in, and that’s kind of who we are,” said the Rev. Christina R. Williams. “This is a day where we throw open our doors and say ‘We will feed you, you are welcome here.’”

Williams said she has memories of attending the supper with her grandmother when she was in her 20s. “I remember her talking about how important asparagus was to the Valley,” said Williams. “The meal infused goodness, welcome and sincere care for people who came in.”

Williams said the church is proud of its work feeding people in the community. It also participates in Cathedral in the Night, a Sunday meal for the homeless in Northampton, and Take and Eat, a program providing a homemade meal on the first Saturday of every month to shut-ins in the Hadley area.

The evening will be “just a time when we all enjoy one another, laugh together, and share our lives,” said Smith, who is organizing the event with Lisa West, also of Hadley.

“It’s just that farm feeling,” added Williams.

The Valley meal will be served at 5 p.m. and again at 6:30 p.m.

It will cost $13 for adults and $6 for children aged 6 to 12. Children under 6 will be served for free. The dinner is also featuring a discount option, offering one dollar off per person if payment by check is made to the church before the meal. Reservations can be made by calling the church at 584-4117.

Sarah Crosby can be reached at