Goldenrod Honey!

Let’s talk about Goldenrod for a second. You’ve seen it in meadows and pastures, growing on roadsides, along bike paths, and it’s even growing in the GCC Permaculture Garden. It’s everywhere! Did you know that you can EASILY infuse honey with it, making for an amazing and delicious medicinal that can help with allergies?

Goldenrod! Photo: Shannon Dry

Goldenrod has many uses. The seeds of some species were used by Native Americans for food, and the flowers also make a great tea. The flowers are also great sources of nectar for bees and butterflies. The leaves also contain a small amount of rubber that Thomas Edison once experimented with! In herbal medicine, goldenrod is used as a kidney tonic. Sore throats are said to be relieved by chewing the leaves, and toothaches relieved by chewing the roots. Goldenrod is great for late seasonal allergies!

Goldenrod Honey! Photo: Shannon Dry

Recipe: Goldenrod infused honey is not difficult to make. First, you will need a clean jar with a lid. Take the goldenrod that you’ve collected, and snip the flowers off with a pair of scissors, directly into a jar or bowl. I chose to use a bowl so that I could pick through it and remove any clumps of debris or, gasp, goldenrod spiders! Once you have a good amount of flowers packed in the jar, then you can pour honey over the top of it. If your honey is too thick or hardened to pour, you can heat it slightly in a pot of hot water. Be careful not to heat it too much or you will destroy beneficial enzymes. Be sure to cover the goldenrod in honey when pouring into the jar. Stir it lightly and remove any air pockets, and cover with your lid. The next day, give it another good stir and put the lid back on. After a few weeks, you can drain through a sieve, removing the goldenrod, or simply enjoy it with the goldenrod flowers still in the honey. It will last up to one year. Store it away from sunlight. Add it to teas or have it on your favorite baked good or by the spoonful.

The finished product. Photo: Shannon Dry

Stone Soup Cafe: Summer Update

Summer is going strong over at The Stone Soup Café! We had record attendance on July 13th with 113 people. Just Roots, the community farm in Greenfield, has been generously donating produce for our meals. We’ve also gotten gorgeous kale, bok choy, broccoli, and dandelion greens from Atlas Farm in Deefield. The second Saturday of every month, we will continue to offer pay-what-you-can acupuncture from Greenfield Community Acupuncture.  We also have a great lineup of live music planned throughout the Summer and David Fersh has become our new Music Coordinator.  You can reach him at
We were also approved for a grant from the Unitarian Universalist Fund for Social Responsibility.  We had proposed to them that we create a website for other Unitarian churches who want to create similar programs.  They were so excited about that proposal that they offered us more money to create a print manual for the same purpose.
Ari Pliskin, our cafe director, presented at the Food Bank to a room full of Franklin county hunger relief leaders interested in learning about the cafe. Everyone was also kind enough to participate in a survey during a meal which gave helpful feedback regarding  experiences at the cafe. Here are a few things that we all shared:
“flavorful, delicious, beautifully presented”
“compassion and acceptance radiate”
“From Ari’s leadership to the friendly food servers, kindness exudes.”
“music is so important for bringing people together.”
“what a wonderful community-making opportunity.”
“…food, people, peace.”
“powerful and pragmatic example of people pooling resources and co-creating bonds of community.”
Thanks to all for the great feedback! It will help our community cafe continue to thrive!

Climate Summer, a leadership development program for young adults who learn by doing, also stopped by to volunteer at the cafe. If you haven’t heard of Climate Summer, check out a great video on their website. It’s a great organization that calls for action on climate change. They travel exclusively by bicycle! Look for them all over New England this Summer!


We look forward to seeing you at Stone Soup this Summer! Stay Cool!

Edible Berries! Mushroom Logs! Beneficial Creatures!

The Juneberries, they are a bloomin’! So are currants, blueberries, and many other things over at the GCC Permaculture Garden!

Juneberries! Photo:Shannon Dry

Edible plants aren’t the only species thriving in the garden-many beneficial critters have also made the garden their home.

Earthworm! Photo:Shannon Dry

The Mushroom Logs are also settling in. Hopefully in a year or so we’ll have Shitake and White Oyster Mushrooms to share!

Mushroom Logs! Photo:Jon Shina

The culinary and tea garden is also thriving. Beebalm! Chocolate Mint! Walking Onion! It’s all just so lovely! Stop by and take a look!

Photo:Shannon Dry

Photo:Shannon Dry

The GCC Permaculture Garden is Thriving!

Although we’ve had a rainy start to our Summer in the GCC Permaculture Garden, the garden is thriving! We’ve recently added local Basil, Thyme, Rosemary, and Parsley that we snagged from the Greenfield Farmer’s Market, courtesy of the GCC Dining Commons!  The Dining Commons is also proudly serving greens harvested from the permaculture garden.

Harvested from the GCC Permaculture Garden
Lettuce being harvested for GCC Dining Commons

Carol Michelfelder with the day's harvest. Photo:Shannon Dry

Four GCC interns are helping out in the garden this Summer: Carol Michelfelder, Alex Spring, Jon Shina, and Shannon Dry. They are very happy to spend a few mornings a week with the garden.

Waiting to be harvested!

The garden isn't just thriving with plants, either. Lots of benficial critters have made their home in the garden as well. The mushroom logs are also settling in nicely. Hopefully within the next year we'll have shitake and white oyster mushrooms to share.Photo:Jon Shina

We hope you’re having a great Summer and that we’ll see you in the GCC Permaculture Garden soon!