Newton Community Farm
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July 2016

With the start of the CSA, my refrigerator has been stuffed with vegetables. The abundance of veggies leads to salad for lunch, dinner, and snacks. I also have a new cookbook that I am exploring, and you’ll find one of its very tasty recipes detailed below. Happy cooking and eating!


Susan Tornheim 

Newsletter Editor

From the Farmer

farm_pano_hi_rez_8_15.JPGThis is going to be short and sweet, as I have pushed the deadlines beyond the breaking point getting my article submitted for this month’s newsletter. At a recent CSA distribution I had a sharer say to me that she remembered when my kids were six. That made me pause, because my son just celebrated his sixteenth birthday! I’ve been working here, growing food for and with many of you, for a decade now. My children have grown up here—I think that this is really the only home my daughter truly remembers (she was three when we moved into the farmhouse). I have spent a significant portion of my adult life working this land. It all gives me pause. And appreciation.


Things have changed greatly in the last ten years. The sleepy corner of Winchester and Nahanton streets in now busy and traffic-y and has a stoplight! Our barn, condemned by the fire department when I started, is now beautifully restored and renovated into an educational and community space. Farm sales have quintupled. And educational programming? Well, I recently found a letter from the neighbor of our first Board president asking if it would be okay for her high-school-age daughter to volunteer here. We now have a high school intern program with over 20 students a year. And if you come here in July or August, you’ll see the farm buzzing with activity as anywhere from 15 to 30 younger students each week learn about where their food comes from and how their actions can make this world a better place.


Just a few days ago my wife and I were sitting outside the farmhouse and were struck—as we have been many times over the last ten years—by just how lucky we are to have wound up here. This is truly an incredible place. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be part of this wonderful growth and transformation, and grateful to the many, many amazing volunteers, board members, supporters, and customers who have made it all possible. Happy summer.


Greg Maslowe 




Summer is officially here, and the fun has already begun. Farm Sprouts (age 2.5–entering K, with a caregiver) have found swallowtail caterpillars and have munched peas, carrots, and strawberries straight from the field. Delicious! We have dug, gotten soil between our toes, and dodged the irrigation sprinklers. Beginning July 11 our weeklong programs for older kids begin, and they too can join the fun.


Did you know?
Butterfly versus moth?? Over the last few weeks I have learned that one way you can tell a moth from a butterfly is how their wings lie when they rest. If the wings are up together in a vertical position, you are most likely looking at a butterfly. If the wings lie flat, it is a moth.


From the mouths of babes
Last month I visited our friends at the Meetinghouse Child Care Center in Newton Centre. We spent our time together talking about what plants need to grow. We identified water, sun, and nutrients as well as space and air. As we got ready to check in on the plants we had planted in April, Emmy (age four) put her hand up. “Miss Alison, plants also need love to help them grow.” So true!


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


Alison Scorer

Farm Educator/Coordinator


Dinner on the Farm 2016

Join us for our annual Dinner on the Farm and enjoy a beautiful evening with fantastic food, a gorgeous view of our fields, and the company of others who share your love of your local community farm. Once again Board Member and Chef Jon Orren has created a delicious and inventive menu and will prepare the meal with help from Newton South students, using our farm’s produce. And new this year, Chad and Sharon Burns of Farmstead Table will be treating us to dessert from the Farmstead Table kitchen.


Tuesday, July 19, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friends of the Farm, $75; all others, $85. Registration closes on July 14. Your ticket will cover the cost of the dinner and an additional contribution to the NCF education programs. Please register here. We could use your help setting up, assisting during the event, or cleaning up. Sign up here.


Renewable Energy at the Farm

We currently have a small group of knowledgeable people working on researching and exploring ways to bring solar power to our barn roof. If you are interested in helping with this project, please e-mail Stephanie at


Mr. Bulger Lays an Egg!

dove_egg_7_16.jpg“What’s that bird doing in there?!” visitors to the farm ask as they walk by the chicken coop. Strutting among the brown and speckled black-and-white hens in the chicken enclosure is a wannabe chicken: a very white dove.


In the June 2015 newsletter Farmer Greg reported how Mr. Bulger, as they started calling it, joined the hens in the late summer of 2014, deciding their home was its home. The chickens thought otherwise at the time, pecking and whacking the dove when they got a chance. Mr. Bulger didn’t budge. Two years later, Mr. Bulger is still cohabiting with the chickens.


In these tumultuous, often divisive times, it is tempting to think of the white-dove-who-moved-in-with-the-chickens as a symbol of something. On June 22, the dove became yet more henlike. Mr. Bulger laid an egg!


Field-Work Volunteers:

Sign Up for Work Shifts in July and August

As Newton Community Farm has grown enormously in the past ten years, we are beginning to reassess how to incorporate volunteers into our field work. Greg, our farm manager, and Charlie, our assistant grower, can plan and assign tasks better if they have an idea of how many field-work volunteers will show up for each work session. So this season we will experiment with a new system: asking field-work volunteers to sign up online for shifts in July and August. At many other local farms, this is standard practice and seems to be an effective way to ensure that volunteers have meaningful work to do while at the farm.


July and August are the farm’s busiest months. It’s a time when tomatoes and peppers are harvested in multiple crates, and it’s also a time when you might find volunteers, high school interns, and students in the farm’s educational programs working and learning together with the farmers and teachers in the field. Starting on July 6 through August 31, please sign up in advance for field-work shifts at the following link:


And please REMEMBER to check our Facebook page before you come, to ensure that the work session is not cancelled due to weather or operational needs.


Please see our Web site at under About/Field Crew Volunteers for more information on work and age requirements and what to expect during field-work sessions. Links to the signup sheet and our Facebook page can also be found there.


We welcome your input into this signup plan, so feel free to send your ideas and comments to Lisa Schumann, NCF volunteer coordinator, at At the end of the growing season, we will encourage your feedback on how this system worked for you this year. And to all our volunteers: Thanks for helping us make the farm the vibrant and growing place it is and has been for these past ten years!


Food for Thought: 30–40 Percent of Food Is Wasted

A major focus these days for food systems leaders (at local, regional, national, and international levels) is the issue of food waste. According to approximations based on research, this issue involves big numbers:

Value of wasted food = $500 billion to $1 trillion

Amount of food wasted = 30–40 percent

Number of people in the world who go hungry each day = 800 million


As many research studies show, the impact of food waste on natural resources, climate change, and hunger is enormous. For example, more water is used to grow food that is later thrown away than is wasted in any other way by any country on Earth. Large expanses of biodiverse land are altered to grow food that is thrown away. If you measured the energy required to grow, harvest, process, and transport wasted food as if it were within one country, it would be the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases. And despite the abundance of food, hunger is a reality for many in the world including in developed countries like the U.S. where 49 million people, including 16 million children, regularly deal with food insecurity.


Many food leaders believe that this issue can be solved. The many organizations and people working to minimize food waste include the U.N., U.S. Department of Agriculture, many universities including Harvard, chefs and farmers and their professional associations, companies that provide school lunches, food retailers, fisherman, and food distributors. Research and action plans involve all stages of production, processing, retailing, and consumption.Gleaners_poster_7_16.JPG  For example, chefs are collaborating to share best practices such as serving smaller portions and developing recipes to use food remnants (good for soups, stews, and casseroles). The Harvard Law School Food and Policy Clinic is researching and advocating for changes in expiration date laws that result in waste of edible food such as milk. Gleaning groups are forming and operating to harvest leftover crops on farms and backyards for donation of fresh produce to food pantries. Food producers and distributors are piloting enhanced technologies such as moisture-resistant bags and energy-efficient refrigeration systems to lengthen the shelf life of food. Retailers such as The Daily Table in Dorchester are creating systems to recover and distribute affordable food that might otherwise have gone to waste.


For more information, check out the many Web sites about this topic on the Internet. In particular, go to the Web site for the book Food Foolish, which focuses on this topic, or the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which is working closely with the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce food waste. In the spirit of “Think global, act local,” Newton Community Farm is also paying attention to the issue of food waste. Stay tuned for more on this topic in the August newsletter.


Dede Vittori


Volunteer Spotlight: Jenn Martin

“There would be no farm newsletter without Jenn Martin,” says Susan Tornheim, the newsletter’s editor. When Susan is done collecting and editing all the pieces she receives from writers and the images from photographers, she sends them to Jenn. It is Jenn who transforms the Word documents into HTML, tweaks photographs and images that augment the texts, and generally performs her digital magic


jenn_martin.jpg“I sort of stumbled into this job in 2012,” Jenn says, “after I got a CSA share. I checked a box when I sent in my form, and someone contacted me not long after.” Jenn soon became indispensable to the newsletter team. Susan says of her, “As the technical editor, she places the text in the online newsletter template, resizes the photos I send her, and inserts them into the text. The template is not easy to use, but Jenn has the computer savvy to figure out how to get the beautiful result you see.” If you’d like to see more of those newsletters Jenn and Susan have worked together to produce, Jenn has just added a newsletter archive to our Web site. Check it out under the “News and Events” section!


Jenn, who lives in Waban with her husband and two children ages six and eight, is the director of development at One Can Help, a Newton-based organization devoted to helping children and their parents involved in the juvenile justice system throughout Middlesex County. And if you’ve had a kindergartner playing Newton soccer in the past few years, chances are you have met Jenn, as the lead Newton Kindergarten Soccer coordinator, with her clipboard at the field.


“I originally joined Newton Community Farm’s CSA,” she says, “because I wanted my children to understand where food comes from and how to eat seasonally.” As Jenn was growing up in rural Indiana, her family had a large vegetable garden. Now, at their home in Waban, Jenn and her family have what Jenn terms a “huge driveway garden,” where they grow plants, like tomatoes, that grow well in containers. In 2014 their driveway garden yielded 400 cucumbers. Containers are not, sadly, a good place to grow her favorite vegetable, zucchini. But those containers in Jenn’s driveway fulfill an additional purpose, one that is linked to the farm’s mission; her garden has helped to foster a love of vegetables in neighboring children and friends after they discover just how tasty a freshly picked tomato, still warm from the sun, is. And during the Year-of-the-Cucumber her daughter discovered at Cucumber #390 that, actually, cucumbers are delicious.


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



The very tasty recipe below is from a wonderful cookbook I’ve been exploring. All the ingredients are familiar except for za’atar, a Middle East spice mixture of hyssop or thyme, sesame seeds, and ground sumac. It’s available at Armenian markets in Coolidge Square in Watertown.


Parsley & Barley Salad

(from Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi; serves 4)


Scant ¼ cup pearl barley

5 oz. feta cheese

5½ Tbs. olive oil

1 tsp. za’atar

½ tsp. coriander seeds, lightly toasted and crushed

¼ tsp. ground cumin

3 oz. parsley, leaves and fine stems

4 scallions, finely chopped (1/3 cup)

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1/3 cup cashews, lightly toasted and coarsely crushed

1 green pepper, seeded and cut into small dice

½ tsp. ground allspice

2 Tb. lemon juice

Salt and pepper


Put the barley in a small pot, cover with lots of water, and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes till tender but with a bite. Pour into a fine sieve, shake to remove all water, and transfer to a large bowl.


Break the feta into rough pieces, about ¾ inch in size, and mix in a small bowl with 1½ Tb. of olive oil, the za’atar, coriander seeds, and cumin. Gently mix and leave to marinate while you make the rest of the salad.


Chop the parsley finely and put in a bowl with the scallions, garlic, nuts, green pepper, allspice, lemon juice, the rest of the olive oil, and the cooked barley. Mix well together and add salt and pepper to taste. To serve, divide the salad among four plates and top with the marinated feta.


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. Farmstand_7_16.JPG

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.


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