Savoring the Seasons: The power of an idea and community: The 10th annual Free Harvest Supper of locally grown food

The Recorder. August 12, 2014. By Mary McClintock.

A month ago, at the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Greenfield Farmers Market, I sat on the Greenfield Town Common with two of the market founders, Juanita Nelson and Ann Kretzenger, and talked about the first year of the market.

Juanita said, “As I recall, when we did that first market, we just were thinking of that year, we didn’t plan it to be something that continued. It’s wonderful how the market has continued, grown and is thriving today.”

We talked about how when you have an idea and turn it into reality you just never know what is going to happen.

Ann said it’s the same with the Free Harvest Supper. She remembers the first harvest supper that the Greenfield Farmers Market hosted, back when the market was in the courthouse parking lot. She was the coordinator of that first harvest supper, and she said it wasn’t free, people had to buy tickets. Ann and Juanita couldn’t remember what year that was, but my recollection is that in 2005, when Juanita proposed what became the first Free Harvest Supper, she said, “Twenty years ago, we used to have a harvest supper at the end of the Farmers Market season. We should do that again.”

When Juanita said that, she couldn’t imagine that the Free Harvest Supper would become an annual community event that in 2013 fed 1,000 people a meal prepared by local chefs with food from over 50 local farms and food producers.

When Juanita said that, she wasn’t taking into account the power of a great idea and a supportive community. Indeed, a supper that celebrates the bounty of local farms and supports the community for one night and the year ahead is a great idea. And, of all the wonderful ingredients that go into the Supper, one is most important … community coming together to celebrate and create the abundant, generous world we want to live in every day.

There’s something else to celebrate on Aug. 17. Juanita Nelson turns 91 that day. I hope you’ll stop by Juanita’s special table and wish her a happy birthday. She’ll be delighted.

10th annual Free Harvest Supper of Locally Grown Food at a Glance:

When: Sunday, Aug. 17, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Where: Greenfield Town Common (Court Square, intersection of Routes 2A and 5 & 10)

What: Free bountiful meal of locally grown food donated by local farmers and prepared by local chefs, live music, children’s activities, educational displays, and a Really, Really Free Market of locally grown food.

Why: The Free Harvest Supper has three goals:

◆ to encourage everyone to eat locally grown food;

◆ to support local agriculture; and,

◆ to raise money for Farmers Market coupons distributed by the Center for Self-Reliance Food Pantry.

Who: You, your family, your friends, your neighbors, folks you’ve never met. All are welcome.

How: Bring your own reusable place setting and napkin, including a cup to enjoy locally produced beverages and ice cream. And, bring a grocery bag to take home produce from the Really, Really Free Market.

Help out: Volunteers needed! Contact Adelle Ferreira at

Learn More: For information, visit or contact or 413-773-5029.

More than Supper:

Entertainment: Local musicians perform from 4 to 6:45 p.m., including Ras Moon (Rui A. Santos). Throughout the Supper, there will be face painting, hula hooping, and other children’s activities. For full entertainment line-up, visit

The Really, Really Free Market: From 4 to 6 p.m., bring garden and farm overflow of extra produce to share. All are welcome to take home some of the donated produce.

Farm to Table, Table to Farm

This year’s Free Harvest Supper isn’t just a Farm to Table event, it’s a Table to Farm event. Food scraps from the Supper will go to Lilian Jackman’s pigs at her Wilder Hill Farm in Conway. The Free Harvest Supper strives to be a trash-free event: paper products are composted, recyclables are recycled. In 2013, we generated less than five pounds of trash. Bring your own place setting to help achieve the trash-free goal.

Note: The World Eye Bookshop on Main Street in Greenfield will donate 10 percent of all cookbook sales in August to the Free Harvest Supper. If the World Eye raises $500 in donations through cookbook sales, they will DOUBLE their donation! For information, visit or call 413-772-2186.