Harvest returns record yield

Celebration supports fresh food for all

Jeannette and Brad Crain (from left), Chris and Shawnda Schnurbusch(cq), Chris Gilreath and Jene Huffman-Gilreath and Landon and Ashley Lee help represent Arvest in support of Cobblestone Farms at the Fall Harvest Celebration on Oct. 20 at the Barn at the Springs in Springdale.
(NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
Jeannette and Brad Crain (from left), Chris and Shawnda Schnurbusch(cq), Chris Gilreath and Jene Huffman-Gilreath and Landon and Ashley Lee help represent Arvest in support of Cobblestone Farms at the Fall Harvest Celebration on Oct. 20 at the Barn at the Springs in Springdale. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)

Cobblestone Farms backers celebrated another bountiful year for the nonprofit organization at the Fall Harvest Celebration on Oct. 20 at the Barn at the Springs in Springdale.

The benefit that included a farm-to-table menu, auction and line and square dancing (!) to wrap things up helped the group raise some $100,000, which translates to 50,000 meals of fresh food. Tasha Tandy, Walmart vice president merchandising -- breakfast, baking and bread, provided the evening's keynote remarks.

"At Cobblestone, we grow fresh food for our neighbors in need," Kelton Hays, executive director, told those gathered. "On our 25-acre farm in Fayetteville, we grow various fresh fruits and veggies and raise livestock. We practice regenerative agriculture because we know that the better we take care of the land, the better food it will produce for our community.

"We get this food to community members through collaborations with food pantries, food banks and other hunger relief programs. This isn't just about filling bellies; it's about offering nutritious, fresh food that brings about better health, better learning and a better life. But it's more than that--it's about dignity."

The group will distribute some 40,000 pounds of fresh vegetables and protein this year. Sights are set on distributing 100,000 pounds annually by 2027 and 1 million pounds by 2034 through expanding to multiple farms and gardens across the region, according to Kristin Aschoff, board president.

Cobblestone works closely with the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank to reach many in need, but has many other distribution channels, Hays tells me.

"We also work with community organizations like Potter's House and Community Clinic to distribute food directly to their program participants," Hays said. "Some of this food is distributed for free and some is sold via SNAP and the Double your Dollar program. We also run a small sales program open to anyone in the community. We call this our 'CSA' (Community Supported Agriculture). Through this program, community members can sign up for weekly veggies with or without a protein add-on. We also run a monthly protein subscription sales program. These are small programs that are primarily used to get community members engaged in our hunger relief efforts. While there is a monetary aspect, that's a secondary motivation for this program."

"Our mission at Cobblestone is simple -- create access and connect community through farm and food," Hays told guests. "We grow fresh food, yes, but the real change comes when the community jumps in, when you jump in."

The farm's livestock of pigs, sheep and broilers (meat chickens) will eventually grow to include beef, goat, turkeys and laying hens, Hays said. Seasonal vegetable production includes cucumbers, tomatoes, squash, eggplants and greens in the summer, then in the cooler seasons, root veggies (carrots, beets, turnips) and leafy greens (kale, lettuce, spinach). The farm's pear trees produced some 400 pounds this year with plans in the works to add other fruits to the farm.

Presenting sponsor of the celebration was Arvest. Other backers included Kellanova, Mercy, Godwin Retail Group, LambWeston, Nestle, Ocean Spray, Dole Food Company, Quest Nutrition, Cameron Smith Associates, B&G Foods, SunOpta and Legacy National Bank. In-kind farm friends included Ropeswing Hospitality Group; Brightwater: A Center for the Study of Food; Post Winery; Ozark Beer Company; Onyx Coffe Lab; and Tito's Handmade Vodka.

For more event photos -- nwaonline.com/photos/society.

Columnist Carin Schoppmeyer can be reached by email at [email protected].

  photo  Katrin Clubine (from left); Casey Rivard; Kristin Aschoff, Cobblestone Farms board president; and Lisa Crossett gather at the Fall Harvest Celebration. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
 
  photo  Tasha Tandy, Walmart vice president merchandising — breakfast, baking and bread, and husband Royce Tandy help support Cobblestone Farms at the Fall Harvest Celebration. Tasha provided the event's keynote remarks. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
 
  photo  Tasha Tandy, Walmart vice president merchandising — breakfast, baking and bread, and husband Royce Tandy help support Cobblestone Farms at the Fall Harvest Celebration. Tasha provided the event's keynote remarks. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
 
  photo  Will and Waltina Hanna (from left) and Diana and Kent Eikenberry, Northwest Arkansas Food Bank president and CEO, enjoy the Cobblestone Farms Fall Harvest Celebration. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
 
  photo  Ellen Gray Gregory (from left), Riley Arnold, Kaylie Shimer(cq) and Chloe Evans help welcome Cobblestone Farms supporters to the Fall Harvest Celebration on Oct. 20. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
 
  photo  Elaina(cq) Henley (from left), Gillie Brandolini(cq) and Bootsie Ackerman and Katrina Mills enjoy the Autumn Harvest Celebration on Oct. 20. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
 
  photo  Casey Kleinhenz(cq) (center) and Freddi(cq) and Marshall Shafkowitz(cq), Brightwater executive director, visit at the Cobblestone Farms Fall Harvest Celebration. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
 
  photo  Meredith Lowry (from left), Scott Irby, Emma Willis and Andrea Kleinhenz attend the Fall Harvest Celebration. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
 

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