Newton Community Farm
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May 2016

For weeks, it seems, I’ve been marking the slow swelling of buds on trees and bushes and then the gradual unfurling of green. As I travel around the area, white and pink flowering trees embellish the streetscape, marking the slow turning of the planet.


Susan Tornheim 

Newsletter Editor

From the Farmer

Not long ago I kept being asked about last year’s mild winter and how it would affect our planting. There was lots of talk of getting off to an early start and high hopes for opening the farm stand earlier than usual. But then spring stalled out. It’s not that it didn’t come, just that it didn’t really warm up. The soil remained cool, slowing germination of direct-seeded crops as well as growth of transplanted crops. Rather than opening early, the farm stand was barely able to open in April, with our first day of sales not taking place until April 30! Greg_in_greenhouse_3_16.JPG

Thankfully, despite multiple nights at or below freezing, we didn’t lose any crops—either in the field or in the greenhouse. A few of our cold-hardy crops took a bit of damage, but nothing too bad, and they seem to be growing fine. More amazingly, by mid-April the greenhouse was already full, and we’d had to move our earliest tomatoes—intended for transplanting into the hoophouses the first week of May—into cold frames. The thought of whether the cold frames, wrapped in a layer of row cover and then a layer of plastic over that, would be enough to protect the young plants from cold damage kept me from sleeping soundly many nights. But by the end of the month it was clear that the cold frames were doing their job admirably, and we boldly (some might say brazenly) moved even more tomatoes out of the overflowing greenhouse into the cold frames.


So now the question has switched—it’s no longer “How will the mild winter affect the crops?” but rather, “How will the cold spring affect the crops?” Certainly, it feels like everything is growing more slowly than normal. But other than that, we don’t seem to be experiencing any adverse effects. In fact, there’s been a bit of a silver lining in that the cold weather has given us more time to work in the greenhouse, which is great as we’re growing more seedlings than ever for the seedling sale later this month. If it weren’t for our inability to get out and plant in the field, we’d never have had the time to start so many seedlings! And what have we been planting? All the regulars that have made our seedling sale so popular, plus a whole slew of flowers in response to their massive popularity last year.


We’ve got some exciting new developments for this year. First, we have a new assistant grower, Charlie Radoslovich. He’s the one who has been so busy in the greenhouse potting up tomatoes, basil, flowers, and more for the seedling sale. Dan will be back with us, but only for the summer, running our High School Intern Program. This is the first time we’ve had someone specifically hired to work with this program, and Dan is the perfect choice. He’s great with the students, knows the farm well, and has a passion for teaching about farming and food. My hope is that this will not only help Charlie and me get more work done over the summer but will make the High School Intern Program an even better experience for the students.


And speaking of students, we received a wonderful grant from the Charles River Neighborhood Foundation to help us launch a new scholarship program. This program will ensure that our educational offerings are accessible to everyone, regardless of their financial situation. What a wonderful gift!


Over the last couple of months I’ve read a number of books on climate change, and certainly this past winter’s lack of snow and the cold temperatures this spring make one think of climate change. But wonky weather is also just a part of farming and gardening. We have to adapt to whatever conditions we’re given—there’s not much else to do. There have been years when, at this point, the field was so wet that we were sinking up to our shins in mud. Or when it was already so warm that our early crops were bolting. A cold spring isn’t the end of the world. Things might be slow, but we’ll just find other work to do while we wait for growing conditions to improve.


As a final note, I should take back what I just said about there not being much we can do about wonky weather. One of the books I read was specifically about the role that farming can play in helping to address climate change. Soil is the largest potential carbon sink in the world. If properly cared for, soil can help absorb billions of pounds of carbon from the atmosphere. It’s a very inspiring message—the idea that the food you eat (or grow) can help save the planet. Just one more reason to support your local farm.


Greg Maslowe 




Rain or shine, we get outside, and with squeals of delight we get dirty and discover something new about the farm, nature, or where our food comes from. Nurture your child’s innate curiosity and natural sense of awe and wonder as they immerse themselves in the joys of the farm. Join our growing community and register today for one of our upcoming educational programs: Farm Sprouts for our youngest learners or Farm Club for kids in the elementary-school grades.Sprouts_7_15.jpg

Research shows that children who have a chance to grow, harvest, prepare, and eat healthy food are more likely to make healthy choices on their own. (Children, Youth and Environments Center for Community Engagement, 2011). What better reason to join us this summer? Kids at the Farm: Summer 2016 offers kids of all ages the experience of growing food on a working farm. Register now.


Alison Scorer

Farm Educator/Coordinator


10th Anniversary Seedling Sale

May 14 and 15, 12:00-3:00 p.m.


It’s almost time to get your seedlings for vegetables, herbs, flowers, and that favorite summer crop, tomatoes, for your home garden! Our greenhouse is already full of hundreds of varieties of the same seedlings that we use to grow the produce we sell. So get the varieties you know are great and support your local community farm. If you would like to send in a preorder to be picked up during the Seedling Sale, please use the Preorder Form. Preorders are due on May 9 and are only available to Friends of the Farm. If you would like to become a Friend of the Farm, use this form.


Volunteer Spots Open for Seedling Sale


Many people have volunteered, but we still need a few more to cover all the jobs on the day of the Seedling Sale. If you have a CSA share and want to do some of your work hours, or if you would just like to be part of one of NCF’s wonderful annual events, visit our sign-up sheet. We particularly need people to work during the sale, from 11:00 to 3:00 on May 14.


Assistant Grower Charlie Radoslovich


Newton Community Farm is excited to welcome Charlie Radoslovich as our new assistant grower. A former elementary school teacher with a background in gardening and landscape architecture, Charlie founded Rad Urban Farmers in Arlington to help transform residential backyards into edible landscapes. Charlie has experience with all manner of urban agriculture, from seed to sale, and is especially interested in soil science.


2016 Flower Share Program

Flowers_6_12.jpgEnroll now for 15 weeks of locally grown, beautiful flower bouquets! Enjoy fresh, seasonal flowers grown at the Natick Community Organic Farm (NCOF) and delivered to NCF on Wednesdays from June 22 to September 28. Sharers pick up flowers at the barn at Newton Community Farm from 2:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Wednesdays or Thursdays. The cost of the program is $165 per share, a great value of $11 per bouquet! Go to Flowers for more information about the program and to download the enrollment form. Forms and payment (check only) should be sent directly to Natick Community Organic Farm by June 1.


Dede Vittori


Concert with Neil Young and Newton Family Singers

Join the Newton Family Singers (NFS) for a very special concert on Saturday, May 14, at 3:30 p.m. (directly after our Seedling Sale) at Newton South High School auditorium for a show featuring the music of legendary folk rock artist Neil Young and his partners in music, Crosby, Stills & Nash and John Fogerty. In recognition of Neil Young’s environmentalism and advocacy for small farms, NFS will donate all proceeds from this concert to benefit the educational programs of Newton Community Farm. It will be a fun-filled afternoon of great music and support for our local farm. To purchase tickets online, visit Please also consider purchasing a family sponsorship for $100. Family sponsors will receive four tickets to the show and a mention in the concert program, and their donation will increase the support to the farm.


The Newton Family Singers is a 65-person intergenerational chorus celebrating family, community, and American (and sometimes Canadian) folk music.


An Evening on the Farm with Tom Ashbrook - Saturday, June 4, 7:00 p.m.

There is still time to join us in the barn at Newton Community Farm for an intimate evening of stories and conversation with Tom Ashbrook, Newton resident, farm enthusiast, and award-winning host of National Public Radio’s On Point. Tom will share stories of growing up on his family’s farm in the Midwest and discuss how that experience informs his adult life and his perspective on agriculture today. The evening will include conversation with our own farmer/scholar, Greg Maslowe, and a question-and-answer period with Mr. Ashbrook.


This event is part of Newton Community Farm’s 10th anniversary celebration, and all ticket proceeds will help fund our educational programs for students in grades K through 12. Tickets are available now and cost $100 each with all the net proceeds going to the farm. Tickets may be ordered on the Newton Community Farm Web site, but they’re limited and going fast, so please order soon to ensure a seat at this special event.


Summer Intern Program


Join Newton Community Farm’s 2016 High School Summer Intern Program! Newton Community Farm is continuing to accept applications for our high school intern program until all spots are filled. Summer internships are unpaid opportunities for high school youth to learn about organic and community farming in a fun, friendly environment. No experience is necessary, just a desire to learn and work hard! The minimum requirement for the internship is a two-week trial period (consecutive weeks), three days a week (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday) from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (short break at 10:00 a.m.) with sessions starting July 5, July 19, August 2, and August 16. Interns are also welcome to bring lunch and then eat with the farm team from 12:30 to 1 p.m. After the trial period and with the agreement of the farm manager, interns can increase their number of weeks at the farm. Eight intern spots are available each session and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis, so apply now! Go to for more information about the program and to download application forms.


More NCF Board Good-byes and Welcomes

This month we again say good-bye to two Board members and welcome two.


Craig Bouchard served as the farm’s fundraising chair from 2013 to December 2015, coming to us as a fundraiser for the Nature Conservancy, first in California and then in Massachusetts. During Craig’s tenure on the Board, he ably managed our fundraising strategy and worked on many annual appeals as well as on the farm’s capital campaign. Craig has now taken a job as development director at Mass Audubon’s Blue Hills Trailside Museum. We are grateful for all of Craig’s contributions and hope to see him often at the farm.


Doug Whitaker, Newton Community Farm’s legal chair from 2014 until 2016, is an attorney who has practiced in both New York and Boston. While on the Board he served as its adviser on legal issues. Doug lives in Newton Highlands with his family. We thank him for his time and wish him the best in the future.


Taking over for Doug as the Board’s new legal chair is Brenda Cotter. Brenda has practiced law for over 30 years, first as a partner in a large international law firm, Brown Rudnick, then as a litigation manager for Staples, Inc. and, most recently, as general counsel for Aereo, Inc. For the past 17 years, Brenda has lived in Newton Centre with her wife and two daughters. In her spare time, she is a tutor in the Newton Public Schools and a writer on various topics. She is excited to be contributing to the NCF community, and the Board is thrilled to welcome her.


Lisa Harries Schumann joined the Board in January as the volunteer committee chairperson. She is a translator from German into English and an occasional writer of travel articles, book reviews, children’s stories, and creative nonfiction. During her almost 20 years as a Newton resident in one of Newton’s oldest houses, Lisa has been involved both as a volunteer for numerous organizations in the Greater Boston area as well as a volunteer coordinator for committees in the Newton Public Schools and as a Board member at Youth pro Musica. A longtime Newton Community Farm CSA shareholder, she is committed to working for the continued vitality of Newton’s only farm.


Lisa Schumann


Volunteer Spotlight

Apples_on_tree_1_10_14.jpgAs the farm enters its 10th growing season, it seems fitting to profile a volunteer who has been active here since the beginning: Sam Fogel. A biological scientist with a longtime interest in gardening, sustainable food production, and food education, he became a director on a very early farm Board and was involved in hiring Greg Maslowe as NCF’s farmer in 2006. Subsequently, he served on the Board for many terms. Sam has taught multipart gardening classes with Greg and is a gardening expert at our Seedling Sale. Sam and his wife, Margaret, grow fruit and vegetables at their home. Sam’s favorite vegetable: “Kale, hands down!”


We can thank Sam for the apple orchard off Nahanton Street, between the farm and Ledgebrook. Sam said, “I was mysteriously smitten with a desire to grow apples. It is a very complicated process given apples’ susceptibility to bacterial and fungal attacks, hence a potential need to use lots of chemicals. I love a challenge of this type and have had to think a lot about how to achieve healthy apple production.” Sam helped fund and plan the orchard, does much of the work on it with a small group of volunteers including Margaret, trains others in its care, and has spent hours with UMass and Cornell extension agents learning about orchard management. He loves introducing grandchildren and others to the farm and educating young and old about gardening and sustainability issues.


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


What's Happening in the Barn?

The Newton South Reflections Magazine Club hosted their annual Tea Barn event at the barn on April 15. About 70 Newton South students took over the barn from 7 to 9 p.m. to enjoy a variety-style show of about 15 different acts including poetry readings, singing duets, blues music, rock and roll, and an extended improvisational act covering family, relationships, heartbreak, and everything in-between. The barn was rocking with the spirit of youth, and a good time was had by all. The evening generated funding to help publish the club’s arts-oriented Reflections magazine. Congratulations to Newton South students Sophie Galowitz, Hadas Rosen, and their team for organizing this event.




We’re getting into the Season of Greens, so here’s a recipe that I think is very tasty, Greens with Double Garlic, from a 2008 Stearns Farm Newsletter that was adapted from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman.


Susan Tornheim


Farm Stand

Hours: Saturday, 9:30-1:00

Please check our Web site and Facebook page for updates.


Farmers' Market

The farm sells its produce at the Newton Saturday market, which opens on June 18 and is located on Elm Street in West Newton. It runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the summer and fall.


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


If you want to be added to our mailing list, click on list. For more information about the farm, e-mail our farm administrator at or check out our Web site 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