Newton Community Farm
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June 2014

The weather is teasing us with warmth and then blowing colder air at us. But despite the teasing, here we are, going into June and the CSA season. And as Greg explains, we will have a new opportunity to buy local food in July when the new farmers’ market opens in West Newton on Saturdays.

Susan Tornheim 

Newsletter Editor

From the Farmer


After a very long, cold winter and then a cold, wet spring, things weren’t looking great for the farming season to get off to a good start. In March and April, while we sat looking at a field too wet to plant, I thought we’d have to delay the start of the CSA and farm stand. In April and May as we watched crops just sit there, seemingly refusing to grow in the cold soil, I thought we’d have to delay the CSA and farm stand. But here we are in May, and everything is growing like crazy. The farm stand has been open for a month, and the CSA season is opening on time. It’s hard to believe, but here we are with lots of crops ready for harvest.


Spring is a time of green, and for eating greens. They’re the first crops ready for harvest and help us detoxify our bodies after a long winter of eating meats, dairy, and storage crops. Many of the spring greens contain chemicals that help cleanse our livers. It’s also refreshing to eat a light meal on a hot June evening.


One of my favorite spring greens is sorrel. This green, while not well known to many, has a wonderful sour flavor. In fact, eating a leaf of sorrel is very much like taking a bite of a lemon. Most of the people buying it come from Russia and use it to make what they call green borscht. Anna’s Kitchen in Newton Centre often buys sorrel from us for just this dish.


There are lots of new things at the farm this season. Most obvious is the renovation of the barn, which is nearing completion. The view from the deck is wonderful! I encourage you to check it out next time you’re here. We have some new residents: a male bunny and a bunch of new chicks. We have added about a dozen new fruit trees including apples, pears, Asian pears, and peaches. We’ll be planting a section of the Learning Garden with a variety of flowers so that we can have bouquets at the farm stand and farmers’ market.



And speaking of the farmers’ market, we have a new one of those as well! We’re very excited that the Friday market, which always struggled, has been moved to Elm Street in West Newton and will take place on Saturdays from 10 to 2. This could be a great new market for Newton, and we’re delighted to be part of it. The market opens the Saturday after the Fourth of July and runs through the end of October. Please join us there and support this new market.


TshirtWe also have a wonderful new NCF T-shirt and reusable shopping bag featuring farm artwork by professional artist, local resident, and CSA sharer Julia Talcott. You can wear the shirt to show your support of the farm and use the bags as we try to move Newton to a plastic-bag-free community. Both are available at the farm stand and at the farmers’ market.


Our volunteer hours have changed slightly for 2014. While they still take place every Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday, there’s a break in the middle of the Wednesday and Thursday hours so that the farm staff can take a morning break. There’s so much to do on a farm that it feels like you can never stop. But it’s important that we do. In fact, it makes us more productive if we take a little time to rest and recharge instead of just trying to power through long days without a break. So if you’re planning on coming to the volunteer hours on a Wednesday or a Thursday, please be sure to check out the new hours in this newsletter or on our Web site. You’re welcome to join us for the break, but we will be strict in enforcing a no-work period from 10 to 10:30.


As crazy as it seems after the spring we’ve had, one of our goals this season is to have tomatoes by the end of June or the beginning of July at the latest! To achieve our goal we’ve planted an extra-early heirloom variety of tomato (Stupice, from what is now the Czech Republic) in one of our high tunnels. We’re hoping that the extra heat from being “under plastic” will be enough to get fruit to ripen in record time. I’m not sure we’ll achieve this goal, but it’s fun to have challenges, especially ones that result in local tomatoes before the Fourth of July!


It’s incredible to me that the season is already upon us, but here it is! I look forward to seeing many of you in the field in the coming months―and hopefully many of you at the farmers’ market this summer.


Greg Maslowe 



Seedling Sale

seedling sale

This year’s seedling sale was a HUGE success! The weather changed from stormy to beautiful just in time for the sale to begin. We sold out of many varieties within the first hour of the sale on Saturday. Special thanks to all of the amazing volunteers. Whether you posted and picked up lawn signs, hammered stakes, moved seedlings, wrote sales tickets, set up, cleaned up, collected the money, and everything in between, know that your work is greatly appreciated. This event could not have happened without everyone doing their part.

seedling sale


Sooo many adults and kids were using cell phones to copy the info from the seedling cards, a phenomenon new to 2014!

seedling sale


Save the Date

Dinner on the Farm

Tuesday, July 15

Our annual Dinner on the Farm will be held on Tuesday, July 15. The menu is being developed and, once complete, will be posted on the Web site along with a link to purchase tickets. Stay tuned for more information.


Fall Festival

Sunday, September 28


Interested in helping to plan these events? E-mail Mara at


Mara Gorden



This past month, with the combination of warmer weather and rains, the farm, as well as local gardens, has sprung to life. There has been much excitement about finally being able to visit and plant at the Meeting House Child Care Center in Newton Centre where the children and I planted radishes and peas. At Explore and More Learning in Newton Corner the children and I planted a lettuce mix as well as radishes. At the Teen Center located at the West Suburban YMCA, the new raised beds, installed last fall, have been planted for the first time. Peas, beets, and carrots as well as the mandatory radishes (I can assure you there will not be a shortage of radishes in Newton this year) were planted, and the first crop is eagerly anticipated. While the teens may have needed a little extra coaxing to venture outside, once out many expressed surprise at how simple the planting of seeds actually is and how enjoyable and relaxing working in the garden can be. Having said that, I do think it will still be some time before I lose my official Teen Center title of “Crazy Farm Lady”!


Back in the fall the fifth grade at Countryside Elementary School planted one of their raised beds with mixed greens. The hope had been to harvest it last year before Thanksgiving, but that never occurred, and even back in April there was not a lot happening. To be honest, I had given up hope and assumed the greens had fallen victim to the long harsh winter. How wrong I was! On May 21 the same fifth graders harvested enough greens for the whole school! The following day, with the help of Whitsons Food Service, a mixed green salad (green mustard, red mustard pac choi, and tatsoi) with a light dressing was offered to all who wanted to try, and the majority did!! There were some thumbs down, but many reported they were pleasantly surprised and that it was “not that bad.” There were even those who wanted thirds and maybe fourths. They now eagerly await the peas, carrots, lettuce, and beets that were planted back in April, hoping they will get to enjoy them before school is out for the summer. I do not exaggerate when I say that the children were genuinely excited and enthusiastic at being able to sample something that had been grown at their school.

seedling sale

On the farm, Farm Sprouts have been busy investigating butterflies, soil, and worms as well as welcoming the latest batch of chicks. Local gardeners have continued to enjoy our popular gardening series as well as Plots in Pots for those working with smaller spaces.


So what is in store for June?


Adult Programs

The Mid-Season Bounty and Thinking Ahead

Saturday June 21, 9 a.m.–noon

The third class in the gardening series is also available as an individual class. Topics covered in this session include weeding, harvesting, and tips on how to dry and store your harvest.


Family and Youth Summer Programs

Farm Sprouts -- children in preschool and entering kindergarten

Meets weekly, choose your day. Tues., Wed., Thurs., or Fri., 10–11 a.m., 6/17–8/29


Little Diggers -- Students entering grades 1 and 2

Monday–Friday, 9–12:30, 7/7–7/11 and 8/4–8/8

1-week sessions


Farmer in Training -- Students entering grades 3–5

Mon.–Fri., 9–12:30 p.m., 7/7–8/25

1-week sessions


Socially Aware Young Farmers (SAY-F) -- Students entering grades 6–9

Mon.–Fri., 9–12:30 p.m., 7/14-7/18 and 7/21-7/25

1-week sessions


For more information and registration details on any of the programs mentioned, please see our education page. Please remember that preregistration is required for all of our programs.


Alison (Wilson) Scorer

Education Coordinator


Thanks to Local Restaurants

Newton Community Farm would like to recognize three local restaurants that served our produce at various times this past year. NCF distributes almost all of our produce through the Community Supported Agriculture program, our on-site farm stand, one of Newton’s Farmers’ Market (Saturdays in 2014), and weekly donations to food pantries during the growing season. However, thanks to the use of our hoophouses, NCF has been able to extend the growing season and grow more produce, so periodically there is an opportunity to sell to local restaurants that choose to use locally grown ingredients. We thank the following restaurants for supporting the farm by serving our delicious, fresh produce.


Lumière, 1293 Washington St., Newton, MA; 617-244-9199.

Lumière offers a simple and sophisticated menu and strives to buy ingredients from local farms and food producers. Lumière again hosted NCF’s fall fundraising dinner last year and used vegetables from our farm in the delicious menu.


Farmstead Table, 71 Union St., Newton, MA; 617-928-6000.

This restaurant offers a contemporary and fresh farm-to-table menu, blending French technique and new world innovation in a classic American country kitchen. The culinary team believes that fresh and pure ingredients don’t need too much tinkering and can speak for themselves.


Sweet Basil, 942 Great Plain Ave., Needham, MA; 781-444-9600. Sweet Basil offers a variety of flavorful and robust Italian dishes, with an emphasis on using ingredients from local farms. The atmosphere is cozy, quaint, and friendly.


The Bigger Picture: Massachusetts 2nd Annual Urban Farming Conference

lettucesNewton Community Farm was represented at the Massachusetts 2nd Annual Urban Farming Conference on March 8 at Northeastern University. The theme this year was “Cultivating Lands, Nourishing Communities, Building Businesses.” The main purpose of the event was to offer a forum for farmers, commercial buyers, policy makers, investors, and all other stakeholders to discuss current practices and overcome barriers to setting up sustainable, thriving, urban agricultural systems. The main goals were to report on current Massachusetts urban farming issues and projects; address infrastructure gaps in the urban farming industry; and serve as a resource on cutting-edge models for healthy, sustainable practice. This sold-out conference was sponsored by three organizations focused on promoting and increasing urban agriculture in this area: the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, the Urban Farming Institute, and City Growers.


cherry tomatoesGreg Maslowe, NCF’s farm manager, was on a panel for a workshop focused on season extension techniques. Greg has been quite successful in cultivating and growing produce in the late fall and early spring in the farm’s hoophouses (click NCF’s season extension video). NCF is recognized within the Boston urban agricultural community as a successful working model of a small-scale farm using intensive growing practices, season-extension strategies, and multiple distribution channels within the local community to ensure financial viability.


There is a growing effort in Massachusetts to provide more locally grown, fresh, healthy food to residents, which means continuing to foster a strong agricultural industry within the state, including urban areas. Urban farming can improve our urban food systems, contribute to climate change adaptation strategies, provide economic opportunities for sustainable jobs, and build stronger communities. The conference helped advance the conversation about the benefits of urban farming through speeches and workshops on overarching topics such as building resilient cities (climate adaptation and urban farming), developing land policies to support urban agriculture, and developing a just and local food economy. There were many workshops (see workshop list) focused on structuring a sustainable business and agricultural model for an urban farm, covering topics such as commercial success strategies, marketing, legal advice, financing, pest management, composting, crop planning, raising chickens, and bee-keeping.


NCF is proud to be part of this growing movement for sustainable food systems, and we are grateful for the support from all of you in our community who contribute to the farm’s success.


Dede Vittori



Sorrel is appearing at this time of year and, as Greg says above, it has an interesting sour, lemony taste. Schav, or green borscht, is a Russian or Russian Jewish traditional soup, and the recipe below comes from Jewish Cooking for Pleasure by Molly Lyons Bar-David.


When I began writing the Recipes section in April 2009, I decided to use only recipes that I or trusted friends had made and really liked. This month you get to try the recipe below and, I hope, tell me about the result. You can reach me at



Sorrel Summer Soup

¾ oz. parsley, chopped

1 lb. sorrel leaves, chopped

8 cups soup stock

2 Tb. lemon juice

3 Tb. sugar

¼–½ tsp. celery salt

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 cup sour cream, low fat okay

3 hard-boiled eggs, for garnish


Cook the parsley and sorrel in the stock for 30–45 minutes. Add the lemon juice, sugar, celery salt, salt, and pepper. Remove from heat. When cold, stir in the sour cream. Serve chilled with a garnish of sliced hard-boiled eggs.


Susan Tornheim


Farmers' Market

Location: Elm Street, West Newton


Time: Saturdays, 10–2, starting the Saturday after July 4 and running through the end of October


Farm Stand

Farm stand hours for June: Tuesday through Friday, 2–6; Saturday, 9:30–1. Please check our Web site, and Facebook page for updates.


Volunteer Hours

Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8 a.m.–10 a.m., and again from 10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.; Saturdays from 10 a.m.–noon, May through October.


Please contact us if you have any questions about this newsletter or ideas for future issues, or if you want to be added to our mailing list. Just e-mail Susan Tornheim at For more information about the farm, e-mail our farm manager, Greg, at or check out our Web page at (or click on the image at the top of the page).
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Newton Community Farm
303 Nahanton Street
Newton, Massachusetts 02459