The Harvesting History Food Collaborative closes out another successful season!
Did you know that through HHFC, Friends of Clermont has donated thousands of fresh food items to food banks in Columbia and Greene Counties since 2020?
As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic and an effort to maintain the Harvesting History Teaching Garden as a means of nourishing the community, we decided to grow vegetables, fruits, and herbs not only for our educational programs, but to feed our neighbors in need.
How it Started
Almost all of what we grow is started from seed as early as February, and germinates indoors under grow lights until the seeds grow into seedlings. After that, they get planted into the garden beds in our Teaching Garden, where we give them TLC each week. We never use pesticides, herbicides, or other harmful chemicals. When a plant reaches maturity and its fruits are ready to be harvested, we pick it and package it in a quantity that will feed a family of four.
Over the years, we have grown hundreds of varieties of vegetables ranging from Purple Viking and Magic Molly potatoes to Ho Chi Minh and Shishito peppers. We like to keep the crops exciting while still providing the classics like zucchini, green beans, and tomatoes (when wild critter park goers don't get to them before we do).
One of our favorite discoveries has been vit mache, a small green with a nutty flavor that we have seen survive extreme cold, ice, and snow. This is often our first harvested vegetable of the season. We also love the wonderful spectrum of vivid color a cob of glass gem corn displays in the fall. We have ground their delicious kernels into cornmeal and made cornbread many times in Harvesting History.
How it's Going
In 2021 and 2022 we participated in United Way of the Greater Capital Region's 518 Day. During this event, members of the community joined forces at the Teaching Garden to assist with various garden tasks like weeding, planting, and even re-mulching the garden path.
Following that event, a small volunteer garden crew formed that continues to join us weekly to tend to the garden, as well as harvest and package donations. Thanks to support from our trusty volunteers, grants from the Fresh and Healthy Food For All Initiative of Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation and National Grid, seed and seedling donations from Hudson Valley Seed Company and Long Table Harvest, and some hard work by our small staff, 2022 was our most productive season- we donated 915 food items last year!
2023 was a wet, yet bountiful season. Currently, there isn't too much to report on, as the cold and frost have rushed in, and have chased us out of the garden. With the exception of some potatoes that we're saving for the Germantown Community Cupboard's Thanksgiving boxes, we are done harvesting for the season. Now... it's time to clear those beds and start thinking about SPRING!
Yep, we donate flower bouquets too!