When I first began working for Weaver’s Orchard in 2010, Ed Weaver dropped an exciting but daunting assignment on my desk that fall: applying for a United States Department of Agriculture Direct Farm Sales Grant. I knew that grant applications involved more than just checking boxes off an application and mailing it back in – they require writing a proposal, usually for a new project or initiative with clear plans and goals, and then waiting to see how much – if any – funding would be allotted to our program.
After some brainstorming, we decided to host cooking classes focusing on using in-season produce. We received the grant funding for 2011 to start the program, and continued to receive funding for different aspects of the program for each year that we applied through 2014. Over the years we made some adjustments, such as having weekly classes, offering them on a different day from Read ‘n’ Pick Storytime and moving them to our stone barn to allow for more seating and better weather protection. In 2014 we were even able to receive enough funding to have the classes professionally filmed!
However, with the recent cuts in the Pennsylvania state budget, the Direct Farm Sales Grant is no longer available in Pennsylvania. In 2015 we tried to find some creative ways to cover our costs for the cooking classes, but still couldn’t fully make up the difference in funding. Many hours of labor are tied up in each week’s class, especially as our staff helps prepare many of the samples for our growing audience. Since we want to continue offering this great initiative, we will have to implement a small fee, with three options:
The rate will be $5 per class if you wish to pay-as-you-go.
If you plan to attend 5 classes, you can purchase a “punch card” for $20 – attend 5, get one free, which brings your cost to $4 per class.
If you think you’ll attend nearly every class, you can purchase a season pass for $40 – 11 classes for the price of 8, or $3.64 per class.
We have an exciting line-up this year with many of your favorite presenters returning, including two classes each from Nan Reinert, Phoebe Canakis, Ed Deren and Brandon Hertzler. I’ll be joining Brandon for one of those classes, sharing more French-inspired recipes and incorporating Conebella Farm Cheese. Browse the schedule we have to-date on the website and plan to join us this June!