Harvest Dinner at Hardwick Elementary School

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Posted: October 31, 2014

by CAE Community Projects Coordinator Bethany M. Dunbar     

Hardwick Elementary School’s 2014 fall harvest dinner October 14 was a huge success by all accounts, with no less than 237 people enjoying the fruits of the schools’ efforts as a true Sustainability Academy.

It was truly a gourmet-quality meal with homemade (or should we say schoolmade) soups, breads, salads, and desserts: a feast!

It all started with trips to local farms, including the Laggis Farm in Hardwick and Terry Foster and Sheila Rowell’s farm in Walden.  Maureen Demers’ and Will Adams’  fourth-grade students along with Suzanne Bader’s first- and second-graders picked corn and potatoes for corn chowder.  The students had grown squash and potatoes themselves in garden beds all around the school and at the

First- and second-graders were excited about digging up and counting the potatoes at the school.

Hardwick Community Gardens as well.  Julie Magoon’s third-grade class not only grew a “Three Sisters” traditional Native American garden, they even ground the corn themselves to make corn bread.  Thanks to Eric and Sarah Davies-Coe for the use of the corn grinder.

Students also went to Burtt’s Apple Orchard in Cabot and picked apples for soup and for desserts.  Erica Baker’s Reach! after-school group made five and a half gallons of applesauce, and Lauren Trautman’s kindgergarten students made butter with herbs and apple crisp.  Ms. Bader’s first- and second-graders made lots and lots and lots of bread.  Those students really know how to make bread now.

Other farmers the school worked with this year so far include the Gebbies who gave maple syrup, Gibou Gardens and Riverside Farm.  Green Mountain Tech Center also gave syrup.   Val Hussey and her team made a huge quantity of corn chowder, and the elementary students, with help from their teachers, made vegetable soup, squash soup, salads and desserts.

Beth LeCours’ art students made adorable creatures as centerpieces out of garlic and egg cartons.  They also roasted pumpkin seeds, a bowl of which were ready at every table.

Art students made the centerpieces and roasted the pumpkin seeds.

Thanks, too, to Jeannine and Joe Young for donating beets and helping us find more bowls!  Sarah Behrsing and her students made the beets into salads.  And thanks to the other members of the team and other teachers and students not mentioned here by name who contributed food and helped put it all together.

Your Sustainability Team was a little nervous when we heard how many parents had sent in or called in RSVPs – 300.  Gulp!  But what a wonderful problem to have – so many people wanted to join us for dinner.  In a way it was lucky that only 237 people actually attended because we were able to donate the extra quantities of soup and bread and salad in individual serving bowls with covers to the Hardwick Area Food Pantry.  Manager Ruby Dale-Brown and the clients of the pantry were sincerely appreciative.  Their thanks appeared on the pantry’s blackboard.

Thanks to Nora Leccese, the Center for an Agricultural Economy’s Congressional Hunger Fellow, for extra help washing dishes and counting. At the CAE, we also want to recognize our supporting partners, such as the Block Family Foundation and the Boston Foundation; without you, we could not be at this incredible table!

Here’s a letter of thanks sent in by a parent, Gretchen Renaud:

I want to send a huge Thank You for making the Harvest Dinner such a huge success!  The dining room (gym) looked amazing – all of the fine

Terry Foster donated 108 pounds of potatoes, dug up by students.

details - table-clothes, decorations that the children made, homemade butter, pumpkin seeds. The presentation of the food was fabulous and the evening was very well organized! The food was delicious and to know that children from HES had a huge part in preparing it was even more exciting. I just cannot say enough about what a great time we as a family had last night.  Our son was so very excited about preparing some of the food and attending last night’s dinner. He will be talking about this for weeks!

The scavenger hunt was a great idea – a wonderful plan to help educate families and their children.  The slide-show was also a great touch; very nice to see the children working together and completing the tasks needed for the Harvest Dinner!

All of the staff’s hard work and dedication that they put into the Harvest Dinner really shined!  Our school and community are very lucky to have this program in our school. The children are learning a wealth of knowledge through this sustainable living piece. 

 Here are some of the recipes for food that went into the Harvest Dinner:

From Suzanne Bader:

No-Knead Bread

3 cups lukewarm water

1 ½ tablespoons granulated yeast

1 ½ tablespoons coarse salt

6 ½ cups flour

Place water in bowl.  Add yeast and salt to the water.  Mix in the flour. Allow to rise about 2-3 hours.  Refrigerate the dough for 3 hours or overnight.  Sprinkle the surface of the dough with flour and stretch the dough around to the bottom on all sides. Let sit for 15 minutes. Form dough into desired shape. Let rest for 40 minutes. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Dust the top and slash with a knife. Bake 20-30 minutes.  This dough can be refrigerated for up to 14 days.



A dozen teachers and volunteers helped serve and clean up afterwards.

From Joann Spear-Duffy:

Carrot Salad

4-5 carrots shredded

1/2-3/4- cup raisins

1/2 cup mayonaise

mix and let set  ,  It is better if set overnight.




Kohlrabi salad

3 medium kohlrabi, peeled , stems trimmed off and grated

1/3 purple cabbage, shredded

2 carrots shredded

1/2 red onion shredded

1/4 cup raisins

1 tbl. sugar

1 tsp salt

1tsp cider vinegar

4 tlb. chopped cilantro

1/4 cup mayonaise

Mix all together and let set to blend flavors.   Of course add or take out anything that you really can’t eat but nothing is over powerful so give it a try.

From Julie Magoon:

Julie Magoon and her students made squash soup and tomato green bean soup.

 Tomato Green Bean Soup


1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped carrots

2 teaspoons of butter

6 cups of chicken or vegetable broth

1 pound fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 garlic clover, minced

3 cups diced fresh tomatoes

¼ cup minced fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried basil

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper


In a large saucepan, saute onion and carrots in butter for 5 minutes.  Stir in the broth, beans and garlic; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and summer for 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Stir in the tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper.  Cover and simmer 5 minutes longer.  Yield: 9 servings.  Nutritional facts: One serving (one cup) equals 71 calories, 1 g fat (1 g saturated fat) 2 mg cholesterol, 779 mg sodium, 12 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 3 g protein.  Diabetic exchanges: 2 vegetable, ½ fat

Roasted squash soup


4 pounds whole butternut squash (about two medium) halved lengthwise roasted and seeds removed

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 stick)

1 medium Granny Smith apple (about eight ounces)

½ medium yellow onion

8 fresh sage leaves

2 ½ cups low sodium vegetable or chicken broth

2 ½ cups water

1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed

1/3 cup heavy cream

½ cup roasted pumpkin seeds, for garnish (optional)

Directions:  Put everything together (except pumpkin seeds) and cook it on the stove.  When vegetables are soft, put in blender in small batches.






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