Newton Community Farm
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August 2016

I feel wilted by this long stretch of humid high temperatures, so I am in awe of Greg, Charlie, and all the interns and volunteers who work in the field under a brassy dome of heat. Because of their hard work the farm somehow melds golden sun, life-giving well water, and nutrients from the soil into a bouquet of edible colors and tastes that nourish us.


Susan Tornheim 

Newsletter Editor

From the Farmer

Have you been to the farm lately on a weekday morning? It’s a pretty astonishing sight. We have anywhere from 15 to 40 young people, ranging in age from 3 to 18, on the farm on any given day. Plus parents, teachers, adult volunteers. The farm is literally hopping with activity. Every day. All summer long.


I used to think that hitting $100,000 in produce sales from our one-acre field was pretty awesome. And it is. But a couple weeks ago, watching all these young people exploring, harvesting, discovering, collecting eggs, and generally having a great time in the blistering heat simply because they were at the farm, I had a kind of moment of clarity. This is it. This is what makes Newton Community Farm so special and so important. It’s the people, not the productivity, that is the surest sign of our success.


Right around the same time I had lunch at the farm with a friend who had started a farm in Belmont the same year we began NCF. Years before she had worked for Chris Yoder, a farmer in Dover who had farmed with Jerry Angino right here in a previous incarnation of the farm. She knew something about Jerry and the Angino family, and she asked me what I thought he’d think if he visited the farm today. I looked at all the kids in the field and said that I thought he’d love it. That he’d love how productive it was, but even more, that I thought he’d love seeing so many young people engaged with the farm.


This place, this piece of land, has a long history of engaging young people with work and with the earth. Jerry Angino, I have been told, was the first “guidance councilor” in the U.S. (or perhaps Massachusetts?). Others have told me that he was a truant officer (remember those?). However you choose to term what he did, I’ve heard countless stories of people whose lives he changed. He changed them by caring. By bringing them to the farm and putting them to work rather than letting them get into trouble. He, and this farm, hold a special place in the hearts of many who grew up in Newton, and looking out, every day, all summer long, at all the young people tearing around the farm, I feel confident that it will continue to do so for a new generation.


What makes this place so special? I have to admit I’m not exactly sure. I certainly have an amazing staff who care deeply about sharing their passion for sustainable agriculture. And it’s definitely beautiful. And peaceful—I often nod off around 4 p.m. as the sound of car horns lulls me to sleep. It’s all these things, but more. And that “more” is what is so hard to put my finger on. Whatever it is I’m glad to be a part of it. And I’m glad that every day we get to share this special place with so many people. If you haven’t come yet this summer, stop on by. Ask a high school student why they’re choosing to spend two weeks of the summer working under the hot sun. Or a preschooler which chicken is their favorite. Or just walk around and soak in the beauty of a place that is so productive—of food and of experiences that will last a lifetime.


Greg Maslowe 




Collecting potato beetles, mulching the blueberries, field work with Farmer Charlie, a visit from chef Chad Burns (Farmstead Table), bird watching with Peter Gilmore (Newton Conservators), trellising tomatoes, planting lettuces, and spotting the resident toad are all just a few of the things we have been up to, and that was only in July. Want to join the fun? Space is still available most weeks for Farm Sprouts, and the weeks of August 15 and August 22 for our weeklong programs. Check out Kids at the Farm: Summer 2016.


Did you know?
Fall programming is now open for registration! You don’t have to say good-bye at summer’s end to spending time enjoying all that the farm has to offer. This fall spend time with nature, be inspired by nature, and learn with nature. Visit Kids at the Farm: Fall Fun for more information. After spending time in our Little Diggers program learning about vegetables and helping with weeding, watering, and mulching, seven-year-old Sage shared an idea with the rest of his group: “I think we should make something for Farmer Greg to say thank you for everything that he has to do! And so they did.


For more information visit Kids at the Farm: Summer 2016.


Alison Scorer

Farm Educator/Coordinator


Fruit Share Enrollment Opens

Newton Community Farm is pleased to offer a weekly fruit share in conjunction with Autumn Hills Orchard in Groton, MA. Each weekly share consists of a bag of about five pounds of delicious apples, though the share may occasionally include pears or grapes. The program costs $80 per share for eight deliveries August 24 through October 13. Sharers can pick up the fruit in the barn at NCF on Wednesdays or Thursdays from 2 to 7 p.m. The completed form and check must be received at Newton Community Farm by 2 p.m. on Saturday, August 20. To learn more about the program and to sign up, click on 2016 fruit share.


Dede Vittori


Fall Festival on September 25

We’re in the heart of summer but thinking ahead to our Fall Festival. Join us on Sunday, September 25, from 11 to 3, as we welcome everyone to come and enjoy your local farm with an afternoon of fun activities for your family. There will be live music, a kids’ sing-a-long, pumpkin decorating, face painting, food, and a pie contest. Your family can play corn hole together or take a family photo at our fall-themed photo set. It’s a perfect way to welcome the fall season!


We depend on our community of volunteers to make these public events possible. Please consider volunteering for a shift, baking for our bake sale, or putting out lawn signs to make your contribution. CSA sharers may earn hours by volunteering or baking (1 batch = 1 hour). To volunteer to put out lawn signs, please e-mail Emily at Please visit our Web site for more information or to sign up to volunteer.


Dinner on the Farm

A festive group enjoyed Dinner on the Farm recently. The evening was gorgeous, the food was scrumptious, guests were convivial, and the view of the lush farm enriched the soul. You can read a lovely report about NCF’s Dinner on the Farm in Green Newton’s newsletter.



Ledgebrook Condominium and NCF

While visiting the farm, you may have noticed the residences just behind the rock wall forming the boundary of our property. These are the homes of members of Ledgebrook Condominium, which has played a very important role in Newton Community Farm’s success.


Some 12 years ago when the Angino family sought to sell the old family farm, Ledgebrook favored keeping the property as open space and supported the campaign for the city to buy the land for farming purposes. Some Newton aldermen questioned the financial viability of farming the property, so to convince the city to support the project, Ledgebrook pledged a significant financial contribution to the farm over the first five years if the city purchased it for farming.


The campaign to create the community farm was ultimately successful as a result of support throughout the city. But Ledgebrook’s backing as our only abutter was a key piece of that support. And it has continued to be an important sponsor. Ledgebrook’s board president joined the original farm Board of Directors, initiating our close working relationship. Over the years Ledgebrook’s support has gone beyond financial; we attend each other’s events, collaborate on traffic issues that affect the neighborhood, a Ledgebrook representative has sat on our board, and Ledgebrook has generously allowed NCF to house our bees and apple orchard on Ledgebrook land.


NCF has also enjoyed the support of the original owner of Ledgebrook, the Lacy family. The Lacys had a close connection with their neighbors, the Anginos, an Italian immigrant family. After NCF was formed, the Lacy family foundation generously supported reconstruction of the NCF barn, partly because of their fond memories of their neighbors, the Anginos.


The NCF board and staff appreciate Ledgebrook’s ongoing support. We thank its board for being such good advocates for the farm, and for having the vision to sponsor such a valuable resource for this community.


Ugly Produce and Food Waste

Sometimes when I get my CSA share, I ponder whether it is okay to eat the produce that is blemished or looks “different.” In a recent conversation with NCF’s farmer, Greg, he reminded me that the biggest action I can take as a consumer to minimize food waste is to eat the ugly produce from the farm, farm stands, and shops where I buy food. Ugly food is produce that is slightly blemished (such as small holes from flea beetles) and misshapen (like tomatoes that are not perfectly round and a standard size or carrots that are crooked or forked) but still tastes good and is fine to eat. Apparently a significant percentage (20 to 40 percent) of edible food is discarded in the field, in the packing house, at the distribution center, and at the grocery store because it doesn’t conform to some standard for what that item needs to look like to be attractive enough for sale. Some of the food from the farm isn’t cosmetically perfect, but it is safe to eat, tasty, fresh, and locally grown.Charlotte_and_Matt_gleaning_7_16.jpg

In addition to educating people about the value of ugly produce, Greg is paying attention to the issue of food waste and is doing several things to minimize it at Newton Community Farm. First, he carefully plans crop planting to balance having enough produce to distribute and sell but not too much that it can’t all be harvested before going bad. Greg and Charlie have a good idea of how many row feet of each crop they need to plant to achieve this goal. In cases where the farm ends up with too much, there are three options to make sure the edible food doesn’t go to waste: calling in the Boston Area Gleaners to harvest and redistribute the remaining food; donating edible produce to local food pantries and other organizations; and storing the food in our relatively new walk-in cooler for later sale/distribution. As a last resort, food remnants (trimmings, old produce, and so on) and all weeds go to the chickens for eventual conversion into food as eggs. Thanks to these intentional efforts, very little of NCF’s yield is wasted.


Dede Vittori


Volunteer Spotlight: Nicole Leigh

Look for change to come to Newton Community Farm’s Instagram account in August, thanks to Nicole Leigh. A 2012 graduate of Newton South High School, Nicole started taking analog photography classes in tenth grade and found her passion for photography. She has since been exploring the relationship between analog and digital photography through collages, performance art, and film. Instagram is a great way, Nicole thinks, to keep NCF’s community updated on what’s going on at NCF and can help to grow that community and NCF’s exposure to a broader circle. She points out that in an era in which we are increasingly bombarded with images, many of which we do not choose to see,


Instagram is a way to “incorporate holistic, authentic work” and “have some control over what enters our daily visual experiences.” Beginning in August, Nicole will be expanding on NCF’s Instagram foundation, curating images for our account that come from our educators and farmers as well as from Margaret Mallory, the farm’s photographer, and Nicole herself. As Craig Greiner, NCF’s communications chair, says, “Nicole brings an artist’s eye to Instagram, and we hope that with her help we can bring the beauty of the farm to the Newton community and beyond.”


Nicole stresses that Instagram is also a conversation, a “two-way street,” and she would love for people from our community to send her photos of their own. She urges people to send in images of photos of food they have prepared with farm produce together with a brief caption about their meal, and pictures of themselves volunteering at the farm. Please send those photos to Follow Nicole’s work on our Instagram account at @newtoncommunityfarm and check out Nicole’s own work at or @cole.leigh.


If you would like to get involved in our education program or any other aspect of Newton Community Farm, please e-mail Lisa, our Volunteers Chair, at



I remind you periodically about the treasures that are to be found in Shared Harvest, the farm’s wiki, or list of shared recipes. As we see more and more eggplant, tomatoes, and peppers making their appearance, you may want to make some ratatouille, which is a recipe on Shared Harvest. While you are there, look around at all the other enticing dishes that call for produce from the farm.


Susan Tornheim


Farm Stand

Tuesdays through Fridays, 1:30–6, and Saturdays, 9:30–1:00. Please check our Web site and/or Facebook page for updates, including what's for sale.


Farmers' Market

The farm sells its produce at the Newton Saturday market, which is located on Elm Street in West Newton. It runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the summer and fall. NCF will not be at the 8/13 market.


Volunteer Hours on the Farm

Hours: Wednesdays and Thursdays, two sessions, 8:00–10:00 a.m. and 10:30–12:30; Saturdays, 10:30–12:30. Please sign up online.

Please be sure to check our Facebook page before coming in case of last-minute cancellations. Please also read the information on our Web site about volunteer field work so you know what to expect.


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Newton Community Farm
303 Nahanton Street
Newton, Massachusetts 02459