Newton Community Farm
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August 2015

As I prepare the newsletter I’m trying to deal with the heat and humidity we’ve been suffering with. I can only imagine what this weather feels like to those working in the field. I will drink a cup of water as I feel profoundly grateful to the people who grow the food we eat.

Susan Tornheim 

Newsletter Editor

From the Farmer


Eating local is about, among other things, eating with the seasons. It involves attuning your cooking to what’s actually available in your foodshed as to what’s available at the grocery store. Tomatoes, for example, aren’t planted in the field until May in our area. So they aren’t going to be available to eat until July or August. If they are, it’s because they’re either imported from another bioregion or because they are being grown hydroponically or in a heated greenhouse. Eating local is as much about being aware of when it is as where something came from. It’s a practice of keeping yourself in the here and now and learning what that means for food availability.


Growing food for local consumption, on the other hand, often involves living in the future. We’re just starting to harvest our summer crops—tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and so on—but after the harvest is done, the rest of our days are spent preparing for the fall and even winter. We’re seeding our very last crops for the season in the greenhouse; transplanting fall brassicas (kale, collards, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower); harvesting and drying storage onions and garlic; and preparing enrollment forms for winter CSAs. It can at times feel strange to be preparing for November and December on a 95-degree day in July.


But this future orientation doesn’t actually run counter to the esprit de corps of eating local. It’s just another aspect of it. It’s the knowledge not just of when food is ripe, but when is the time to plant. In order to have produce to pick, we need to be planting. We start in February, seeding the fresh onions we harvest and sell in July, the storage onions we just harvested and are now drying down in the greenhouse, and the leeks that won’t be harvested until October, November, and even December. The planting, most of which for us takes the form of starting seedlings in the greenhouse, continues right on through until the end of July when we plant the last of our fall/winter crops. Some things we start only a couple of times in the spring and/or fall. Others, like lettuce, carrots, and beets, we start every couple of weeks to ensure a continued harvest throughout the season.


There’s a concomitant to this future planning in the kitchen: preserving the harvest―fermenting, freezing, canning, drying. There are many ways to ensure that you can continue to eat local even once the local season has past. A couple of years ago we discovered that Asian pears, which to me are all juice and crunch but not much in the way of flavor (sorry to any Asian pear fans out there), become one of the most amazing winter snacks when run through a dehydrator. After they have been sliced and dried, my daughter eats them every day at school until we all too soon run out.


The ubiquitous injunction to eat local demands, for those of us living in places like New England, that we learn not only when things are available, but also how to prepare for the future. We need to “get it while we can” and learn to preserve food because, honestly, there’s not that much fresh produce coming out of farms around here during the lean months of February, March, and April.


Farmers are working hard to meet the growing interest in eating local year-round. There have always been root cellars, but in recent years there’s been a big push to protect crops for winter harvest under high and low tunnels (as you’ll see this winter when you drive by our farm). This means more access to local food during nontraditional months and greater variety. All it takes is a bit of planning and split brain days in July and August when we are harvesting the bounty of summer while planting for winter.


Greg Maslowe 




Summer months on the farm are busy months; there is so much going on and so much energy. There are children of all ages exploring and learning about the farm and all that it provides, the high school interns are working in the field, and the landscape is constantly changing. The garlic is harvested and the bed prepared for the next planting, all in one day; everyone is eagerly awaiting the ripening of the tomatoes. As you look across the field the varying shades of green become speckled with the vibrant colors of tomatoes, sunflowers, zinnias, and squash blossoms. It really is quite a spectacle, and there are still several opportunities to be part of the summer buzz!


Coming up in August

Farm Sprouts (preschool and kindergarten) – offered Tuesday through Friday mornings, 10:00-11:00 a.m. Last program date, 8/21. Join us for an hour of fun and exploration, and together we will learn about farm life through stories and hands-on activities! Collect treasures, sing songs, sample farm-fresh produce and, most important, have fun outside. To register, click on Farm Sprouts.


Farmer in Training (entering grades 3–5), offered the weeks of 8/10 and 8/17. One-week sessions, Monday–Friday, 9:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m. What is actually involved in the growing of food? Join us and gain firsthand experience of the skills, tasks, and challenges of growing food organically. By the end of the week you will have a greater appreciation of the systems that operate together to get food to our table. To register, click on Farmer in Training.


A Summer Cooking Party! 8/26, 4:30–7:30 p.m.

Ambitious, adventurous kid cooks, ages 8–18, come and join us, and our friends from Kids Cooking Green, for an end-of-summer Cooking Party.


Upcoming programs for kids and families

Newton Community Farm & Kids Cooking Green

for kids in grades K-1-2

A three-week program on Tuesdays, 9/15, 9/22, and 9/29, 1:30–3:00 p.m. Come tour the farm, learn about the animals, and then cook with local farm-fresh products! This three-session offering includes the following lessons and cooking fun:


Yes, Dr. Seuss… We will cook with fresh eggs, meet a chicken up close and learn about the waddle, and find out how to care for barnyard animals. Then we will cook an egg in a basket! Kids will go home with recipes and knowledge of what life on a farm is about. To register, click cooking.



Learn about the role of bees in our food system and then cook with local honey! Kids will make and eat homemade granola (nut- free), and then make their own yogurt-granola parfait. Delicious and nutritious.


Too Many Pumpkins? Never!

We will start with a local sugar pumpkin and roast it and its seeds before using the delicious pumpkin to mix up our secret waffle recipe. Served with fruit compote and hand-whipped cream, this really is a treat.


Early Fall Farm Sprouts, Tuesday mornings, 9/15–10/20, 10:00–11:00 a.m.

A program designed for children 2.5–5 years old with a caregiver.

Join us as we learn why there are so many seeds in the fall, why leaves change color, and how we prepare the farm for the cooler weather. Help us celebrate the harvest as well as the fall favorite, the apple. During our time together we will read a story and participate in hands-on activities. Click on Early Fall Farm Sprouts to register.


Upcoming programs for adults

Gardening Social Hour (Free)

9/1, 10/6, 2:00–3:00 p.m.

This group meets once a month at Newton Community Farm to discuss, brainstorm, and support each other through our gardening ventures. Topics to be covered will be decided by the group. This event is free, but preregistration is required.


Season extension and more

September 12, 9–noon

Topics to be covered in this morning workshop include how to use hoop systems and mini greenhouses, crops that you can grow in the fall and over the winter, what to do with your compost at this time of year, and the important role of seed saving.


Food Day

Food Day is a nationwide grassroots campaign for healthy, affordable, and sustainably produced food, as well as better food policies. Be part of the celebrations and host an activity to highlight what is important to you in our local food system, what you want to celebrate or raise awareness of. For ideas on how to get involved, visit To find out about celebrations here in Newton, contact Alison at


To sign up for classes, visit our Web site for information. Preregistration is required for all of our programs.


Alison Scorer

Farm Educator/ Coordinator


Fruit Share Enrollment


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, plums, grapes, or peaches. The program costs $80 per share for eight deliveries starting August 26 through October 15. 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 Friday, August 21. To learn more about the program and to sign up, click on fruit share.


Dede Vittori


Dinner on the Farm

Thanks to all who joined us for the Dinner on the Farm. It was a lovely evening, complete with a delicious meal, old-time music, and a beautiful view from our new deck. We appreciate all the staff, volunteers, and Board members who worked hard to make it happen. If you would like to help out with future events, please contact our event coordinator/administrator, Shanel, at


Volunteer Highlight

We are including in our monthly newsletter a new feature celebrating a farm volunteer for his or her work in support of the farm.


This month the farm celebrates Susan Tornheim, our newsletter editor. Susan is the one who makes our popular newsletter possible. Since 2009 she has reliably shepherded each issue from the initial schedule to distribution, ensuring that it is informative, entertaining, and well-written. Susan has lived in Newton for over 40 years where she and her husband Keith raised their two daughters. In addition to a career in writing and editing, she is a textile artist working with fiber, particularly felting with wool; she shows her creations around the Boston area, and at Sign of the Dove, an artists’ cooperative.


Thank you, Susan, for your dedication, efficiency, and professionalism in spearheading this monthly effort!



Since my refrigerator and my mind are occupied by zucchini, lots of them, here are several good recipes. They are on Shared Harvest, the farm's list of recipes contributed by cooking enthusiasts. Zucchini Fritatta looks really enticing and easy to me. Zucchini-Pea Soup is a perfect cold starter for dinner on a really hot day. Make it early so it has time to chill. Eggplant will be appearing in CSA shares in August, so here is a classic recipe: Ratatouille. Happy cooking and eating!


Susan Tornheim


Farm Stand

Farm stand hours: Tuesday through Friday, 1:30–6, and Saturday, 9:30–1.


Farmer's Market

The Saturday market is located on Elm Street in West Newton and runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.


Volunteer Hours on the Farm

Volunteer hours: Wednesdays and Thursdays, two sessions: 8–10 a.m. and 10:30–12:30 p.m. Saturdays, one session: 10:30–12:30.


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