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A Delicious Collaboration: Grow Hartford and The Kitchen at Billings Forge!

Grow Hartford has made very real inroads in urban agriculture in the capital city. Their urban farm at the former Swift factory site, nestled in a quiet neighborhood in the North End of Hartford is producing farm fresh produce right in the city’s borders! The farm sells their beautiful yield at both the West End and North End farmers markets. It is likely that you will meet Tekowa Omara-Otunnu, Grow Hartford’s energetic Farm Manager, if you visit one of these markets. Details about the markets here-

Grow Hartford’s urban farm also offers a CSA program. (Which stands for community supported agriculture) CSA’s are a great resource for those seeking a weekly supply of freshly grown local produce during the growing months. The pricing is extremely fair, offering low income options as well. The CSA program is in full swing presently, as members are taking home generous boxes of seasonal produce weekly. Look for an opportunity to register in the late winter and into the spring for next year here.

The farm pictured earlier this summer.

The farm pictured earlier this summer.

The Kitchen at Billings Forge, a non-profit café and catering social enterprise on Broad Street partnered with Grow Hartford this year and is receiving a weekly CSA! The Kitchen strives to provide a farm to table, locally grown menu whenever possible. This summer, the Kitchen is offering a locally Hartford grown special weekly, using the CSA box’s contents. Hartford grown is as local as you can get and urban agriculture is certainly an important initiative for the Kitchen, which maintains its own raised beds outside the front door of the Broad street café, planted with herbs and vegetables, for use in The Kitchen. This project was generously paid for by a UTC green space grant. Find out more about the Kitchen here. The Kitchen has a second location at the Hartford public Library at 500 Main Street and should be noted, houses a culinary training program for individuals with barriers to employment. Their motto is “Our Food is Great Food- Our Mission Is Greater !”

Local gardens are producing big yields of Kale right now and it can be found in abundance at local farmers markets! Here is a popular, often requested recipe from Chef Becky McGuigan, from the Kitchen at Billings Forge.

Kale Power Salad

4 cups washed torn kale

½ cup dried cranberries

½ cup toasted sunflower seeds


4 T sugar

4 T rice wine vinegar

1 cup blended oil

Salt and pepper

Whisk together the dressing ingredients and let stand. Combine all ingredients into a bowl, toss with vinaigrette. Massage the kale to help it break down a bit. Serve immediately!

By Sue Hayes, The Catering Sales Manager at The Kitchen At Billings Forge

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