The Harvest of the Month Pilot Program for Business and Community is in full swing since it launched in March 2019. Two of our participating sites, 2J’s Fresh Market in Great Falls and Helena Food Share, are blazing the Harvest of the Month trail for Montana’s grocery stores and food banks. These sites are assisting in the development and evaluation of the current program by utilizing program materials, conducting evaluations, and providing feedback. This information will help us refine the program and its materials for a state-wide launch in December 2019!

Chef Micah Eller at Helena Food Share

Helena Food Share has been holding cooking and tasting demonstrations using the Charlie Cart gifted to them by the City of Helena. Almost immediately after registering for the pilot program, Helena Food Share staff jumped in with both feet by partnering with local chefs to serve local foods on their Blackfoot Brew Day event for board members and donors, who loved their samples of lentil tacos and lentil chocolate cake. Helena Food Share have recently joined forces with East Helena Food/Culture Hub to hold a Spring Salad Demo this April featuring Montana grown purple barley.

Helena Food Share’s delicious Purple Barley and Garbanzo Bean Salad

“We are so excited to be a part of this program,” says Jami Kirksey, our Harvest of the Month team lead at Helena Food Share, “it pairs so nicely with our Charlie Cart demos, our Nutrition Initiative, and the direction we are trying to head as a food pantry – reducing the donuts and offering healthier, local options for our customers.”

2J’s Fresh Market. Courtesy of Johnathan Hurley

Just 90 miles south of Helena in Great Falls, 2J’s Fresh Market have been holding their own cooking and tasting demonstrations, including one featuring Montana-raised beef this April. Johnathan Hurley, the produce manager at 2J’s at the Harvest of the Month team lead, was kind enough to give members of the Farm to Cafeteria Network a tour of 2J’s Fresh Market. Members were delighted to see Johnathan’s design work, including “local is delicious” signs, Harvest of the Month self tags, and his brain child: a stunning producer map of 2J’s local vendors.

Stay tuned to see more stories from our Harvest of the Month pilot sites as they fine tune the program for grocery stores and food banks statewide!

2J’s Fresh Market. Courtesy of Johnathan Hurley