Harvest of the Month

May's Harvest of the Month: Chickpeas

May's featured Harvest of the Month item is Chickpeas.

Chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans, have been enjoyed as a nutritious food source for 7,000 years. The name chickpea comes from their similarity of appearance to a chick’s beak.

Montana’s production of chickpeas is growing. In 2016, Montana farmers harvested 254,000 acres of chickpeas. Since only 1-3 chickpeas are in each pod with several pods on each plant chickpeas are not often found in home gardens.

Do you have a great chickpea recipe? Email it to us at info@helenafoodshare.org.

April's Harvest of the Month: Grains

Purple Barley? I'll take Three!

Sally works in our administrative offices and also enjoys putting on cooking demonstrations for customers as they shop in the Pantry. Using the Charlie Cart - a mobile teaching kitchen - Sally has been working to help introduce different items that are part of the Montana Harvest of the Month.

The Montana Harvest of the Month features a different Montana-sourced food every month. In April, Sally shared a recipe and gave out samples, the theme was grain and purple barley was featured. You can watch Sally's video on how to prepare barley via this link.

Sally and our other nutrition educator volunteers get a variety of reactions as they give out samples. On one occasion, Sally offered an older gentleman a sample. He gave off the vibe that he was on a mission to get his shopping done and get on with his day. He had no time to stop for samples! However, after hearing other customers’ delight as they tried  Italian Barley Salad with Sausage & Kale, he could resist no longer.

Score one for the purple barley! This particular gentleman ended up coming back for three samples and was sure to take a bag a barley home.
In Sally’s direct way of doing things, there is no rinsing of the barley and there is no soaking of the barley. It’s simple. Put it in boiling water and cook it. Another customer told Sally how she prepares her barley. She most certainly believes in soaking it first.

The Charlie Cart and the Harvest of the Month spur customers into trying something new and into sharing how they implement these Montana grown pantry staples into their diets.

May’s Harvest of the Month is chickpeas, which are a nutrient powerhouse. They are an excellent source of many nutrients including potassium, calcium, iron, vitamin B-6 and magnesium and thrive in Montana’s dry climate. To help connect customers to their food, there will be a small display of chickpea plants at various stages of growth. Customers will also have access to chickpeas during the month.

It is your generous support that provides highly nutritious, locally sourced food items to those in need.