Celebrating the bounty of the harvest season took on a special meaning Sunday when North Olympic Land Trust donated 50 Harvest Farm Shares to the Olympic Medical Center to distribute to nurses and other staff on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic that has seen caseloads rising across the Peninsula.
“What better way to celebrate the harvest season than to share the bounty of our local farms and farmland with folks who every day are taking care of our community,” Tom Sanford, Land Trust executive director, said. “We can’t thank the Olympic Medical Center enough for everything they do, especially over the past 18 months.”
Olympic Medical Center Board of Commissioners Jean Hordyk, Jim Leskinovitch, and Thom Hightower, director of support services Julie Black, and Gay Lynn Iseri, executive assistant to the CEO and Board of Commissioners, were on hand to assist Sanford and Land Trust Board of Directors President Karen Westwood in delivering the Harvest Farm Shares to Olympic Memorial Hospital.
The specially designed Harvest Farm Share canvas tote bags were filled with 18 locally produced items, from fresh carrots, onions, kale, and Asian pears, to rosemary salt and herbal tea—all from farms in Sequim and Port Angeles.
“I’m just speechless,” said Hordyk. “This is just wonderful, to give the people who have been working so hard something that is really special.”
Harvest Farm Shares was initiated in 2020 when the Land Trust’s popular annual Harvest Dinner was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. Instead of celebrating with a meal featuring local produce and prepared by local chefs, the Land Trust created the Harvest Farm Share: a one-of-a-kind bag featuring local produce purchased from farmers who were experiencing economic hardship due to the pandemic. The fundraising effort was so successful, the Land Trust decided to repeat it this year.
“Harvest is as much about gathering a bounty as it is about sharing that bounty,” Alex Wilson, Land Trust development director said. “We had a unique opportunity to work directly with local farmers and producers to buy the freshest products to share with our Land Trust community, and we realized we could do better. With the gracious help of our donors, we were able to procure extra products to make additional Farm Shares to give to a community organization that inspires us. Olympic Medical Center was a natural choice: while folks in our community are divided over COVID, OMC remains united in caring for all of us. We are grateful for all OMC staff, not just because of the work they are doing, but because of the example they are setting for our community.”
Leskinovitch said that the gift was particularly meaningful because it brought together groups who all benefited from the effort.
“The Land Trust helped us and we all help the farmers who produced this wonderful food that will uplift our workers,” Lekinovitch said. “This is a great uplift to our workers at OMC.”