For many years grangers in Vassalboro celebrated fall’s bounty with a harvest supper featuring food items such as a pig roast, international foods, homemade bread, and seasonal pies. Since the start of 2020 in-person programming has been limited and in some cases, completely ceased. This October the East Vassalboro grange once again opens its doors and will host a Fall harvest supper. The menu will use all locally sourced ingredients, from wheat and apples to dairy, vegetables and meat all grown or raised on nearby farms.
This year’s supper is especially important since the Grange is in great need of replenishing their funds. Unable to run programming for two years, the financial reserves which go to maintaining building costs such as insurance, electricity, and water are at an all-time low. The Harvest Dinner is organized by a core group of grange members who will be harvesting, gleaning, processing, cooking, and baking foods for the next month. The Vassalboro grange is using the event to re-ignite a programming based in agriculture, rural-living, and self-sufficiency, which goes along with their mission and values for fostering a vibrant rural community and economy in central Maine.
Historically the grange was a hub for multi-generational gathering and agricultural education in addition to a community center offering dances, workshops, and events like plays and local meals. Back in June there was a Strawberry Social with a talk given by longtime grange member Holly Weidner on how to make “zero waste” or plastic-free cleaning products such as laundry soap, dish detergent, and personal care body products. Attendees snacked on homemade biscuits topped with strawberries from Full Fork Farm and whipped cream from Two Loons Farm (both in China) while Holly demonstrated alternatives to purchasing soaps that normally come in plastic containers. Recipes for folks to do the same at home were handed out at the end.
Continuing in the spirit of knowledge sharing and hands-on community gathering, leading up to the Harvest Supper will be a day of making applesauce and sauerkraut made with fruit from Lemuix’s Orchard in Vassalboro and cabbages gleaned from local gardens and farms like Mistybrook in Albion. There will be an afternoon of cider-pressing on the front lawn and a Saturday of folding savory dumplings. All food prepped in these sessions will be served during the dinner on October 22nd, an occasion that celebrates the bounty we are surrounded by this time of year. Events are open to all ages and abilities!
For anyone interested in participating please see the Grange’s October Event Calendar below. All take place at the East Vassalboro Grange Hall: 357 Main Street E. Vassalboro, ME 04935. Anyone wanting to learn more about the grange, crush their apples into cider, and meet new neighbors are encouraged to come!
Sunday, October 2: 5 pm: Philosopher’s Table. Discussion topic: Land Ethic and the expansion of an ethical community to include parts of the ecosystem.
Thursday, October 6th: 2-6 pm: Sauerkraut & applesauce making. Please bring your own sharp knife, cutting board, and a large mixing bowl if you have these items!
Saturday, October 8th: 9 am – 5 pm: Dumpling making day. We especially need hands for this day, even if you can only come for a few hours.
Sunday, October 16: 2 pm: Grange monthly community event –– Cider pressing! Bring your apples and containers to fill with cider.
Saturday, October 22: 6 pm: Harvest Dinner is served! Tickets are $20/person. Pre-ordering is required.