Newton Community Farm
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September 2015

I am deep in tomatoes, so I’m invoking the “Two for the pot and one for me” practice. This means that I dice two-thirds of the tomatoes and freeze them in amounts equivalent to 15-ounce cans and 35-ounce cans for cooking this fall and winter. The other third I use now, sliced and marinated with garlic and basil, or in salads, or in other dishes. Happy tomato time!

Susan Tornheim 

Newsletter Editor

From the Farmer


I’ve been reading, as time allows this summer, a collection of essays by Wendell Berry, a poet and farmer in Port Royal, Kentucky. His prose writings are often political in nature, reflecting on the state of agriculture, and culture in general, and are frequently unflinching. A couple of weeks ago I came across a particularly biting passage in his essay “Think Little.” The gist of his message is to get off our duffs and start doing what we say we’re concerned with. We say we’re concerned with the proliferation of trash; then go ahead and organize your community to do something about it, but in the meantime, pick up some trash. If we’re concerned about the degradation of the environment, then go ahead and join the Sierra Club and write letters, but in the meantime let’s turn off our lights and air conditioners, let’s take shorter showers. We are all, Berry writes, in one way or another, environmental parasites, and “the remedies are not always obvious, though they certainly will always be difficult. They require a new kind of life.”1


Berry’s words remind me of President Carter appearing on TV in a sweater and asking the nation to turn down the heat in their homes. Not a message that, in general, went over very well. It’s much easier for all of us to talk the environmental talk than to walk the environmental walk. And our leaders don’t help. More often than telling us to turn down the heat, we’re presented with technological solutions. Remember how computers were going to create paperless offices? Agriculture suffers this same fate. The current “solution” to soil erosion is “no till” agriculture. Unfortunately, the way this is practiced is by spraying fields of genetically modified crops with herbicides. That might stop soil erosion, but I think there’s reason to wonder whether this really constitutes a “solution.”


Environmental writing of this kind can be, well, a bit depressing― depressing both because of its accusatory nature, and because the problems can seem so overwhelming. But sometimes you find sparks of hopefulness, little things that can unfreeze you and remind you that your choices can and do make a difference. I came across one of these gems in Berry’s essay, right after his conclusion that talking a good line without being changed is not only hypocritical, it makes us an agent of destruction (ouch!). He goes on to say, “I can think of no better form of personal involvement in the cure of the environment than that of gardening.”2


Berry lists a whole host of reasons for this conclusion: improving a piece of the Earth (assuming you garden organically); producing food and so decreasing dependence on corporations as well as transportation; reducing trash; and increasing the sheer pleasure of eating. He points out, lest the reader think that this is just a quaint notion without any real value, that it is possible to produce most of the vegetables eaten by a family of four in a 40' x 60' garden. At a time when arable land worldwide is actually disappearing, this may prove quite significant.


I was surprised and pleased to read these pages in Berry’s essay. I have often, over the last nine years at NCF, told people that part of our goal is to put ourselves out of business. That is, in so far as we promote home gardening, we are working to make people not only less dependent on grocery stores, but even on market gardens like ourselves. Admittedly, this is somewhat tongue in cheek. We have many home gardeners who still participate in our CSA or shop at our farm stand or the farmers’ market. Most people, even if they have a garden, aren’t going to produce all the vegetables they eat. But it was exciting to see a nationally renowned author advocating for gardening as one of the most significant actions a person can take to address the “environmental crisis.”


Perhaps the most important reason why gardening can help change the world, according to Berry, is because spending time growing food brings about a fundamental change in the way we think about the world. Gardening teaches us about dependence and interdependence: our dependence on soil and weather, and on an interdependent web of lives and processes and energies “that, though we can destroy…we can neither fully understand nor fully control.”3 Gardening humbles us while enriching us. And hopefully, as it makes us aware of all this dependence and interdependence, it makes us better citizens of the world as we begin to walk the walk.


1 Wendell Berry, “Think Little,” A Continuous Harmony: Essays Cultural and Agricultural. Berkeley: Counterpoint, 201, p. 78.

2 Ibid. p. 79.

3 Ibid. p. 81.


Greg Maslowe 



Fall Festival

Join us on Sunday, September 20, from 11:00 to 3:00 as we welcome you to enjoy your local farm with an afternoon of family activities. There will be music by Honky Tonk Masquerade, a sing-a-long led by Julia of Music Together, pumpkin decorating, and face painting. Your family can play corn hole together or take a family photo at our fall-themed photo booth. Enjoy our fresh produce cooked to order by Fresh City, apples from our own orchard, local grilled corn, and delicious treats provided by our community bakers. Enter our pie-baking contest for a chance to win a Whole Foods gift card (drop your pie off by noon), or buy a raffle ticket to get one of those gift cards. It’s a perfect way to welcome the fall season!


If you would like to help make this event a success, you can volunteer to help at the event, provide baked goods for the bake sale, or host a lawn sign on your front yard (e-mail Shanel at Let’s hear it for the community of Newton Community Farm!


Stephanie Cogen



Summer programs began back in June. I blinked, and summer programs ended, or at least that is how it feels. Over the past few months, Farm Sprouts, Little Diggers, Farmers in Training, and Socially Aware Young Farmers have all had fun, made new friends, connected with old friends, and learned so much about the magical place that is Newton Community Farm.


We have explored, dug for worms, and conducted our own taste tests of the different tomatoes grown at the farm. We have made birdhouse gourds, dyed T-shirts with our very own natural dyes, designed board games, and put on puppet shows to teach others about the farm. We have mounded potatoes, planted, weeded, trellised, cleared pathways, mulched, harvested, washed produce, and run our own farm stand. We have enjoyed freshly made snacks such as salsa, kale chips, cucumber smoothies, sautéed Swiss chard, glazed cinnamon carrots, and eggs in a basket, and we have probably consumed more sugar snap peas than the entire CSA! Primarily, though, we have learned about some of the ways the natural world provides for us, and just what it takes to grow food in a sustainable way.


Thank you to all the families who joined us, and special thanks to our wonderful teachers, Danielle, Kathleen, and Rosie. So now we look ahead to a new season, and with it a range of programs for families, youngsters, and adults.


Upcoming programs for kids and families

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. Had fun in our summer Farm Sprouts program? Then come and join us for our early fall session. 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. Explore the farm, read a story, and participate in crafts and other hands-on activities.


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.

Looking for a unique activity for Tuesday afternoons? 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.


Farm Sprout Special

Monday, 10/5, 10:00–11:00 a.m.

Join us as we celebrate all things pumpkin with our friends at the Newton Senior Center. Through hands-on activities we will compare the different types of squash, look for seeds, complete a simple craft project, share some short stories and, most important, welcome seniors to share in the Farm Sprout fun. Click on special to register.


Upcoming programs for adults

Season extension and more

Saturday, 9/12, 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. Click Season Extension to sign up.


Fermentation 101: The Political, Biological, & Symbolic Culture of Kraut, Thursday, 9/24, 7:00–9:00 p.m.

We are very excited to welcome Jeremy Ogusky, a passionate fermenting evangelist and active member of Boston Ferments, public health practitioner, and studio potter, in our upcoming workshop. Interested in making sauerkraut and kimchi? Did you know the same principles apply to fermenting all kinds of vegetables and even grains? Come learn to ferment, and you’ll go home ready to explore and create living foods. This comprehensive class will cover everything you need to start fermenting: ingredients, philosophy, preparation, and a community of fermentation enthusiasts!


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


Barn Community Space


The finishing touches to Newton Community Farm’s barn renovation are complete! Our “new” barn was renovated with an eye to retaining the original barn structure, and it captures the look and feel of a traditional New England barn. We are excited to be able to bring the community to NCF to use this space as a place to learn, gather, and connect.


NCF will use the barn for educational programs, community events, and offerings such as book talks, lectures, cooking classes, music, and other performances. Our inaugural public event took place last spring when the barn was home to two performances by the Newton Nomadic Theater of the Beauty Queen of Leenane. If you have ideas or suggestions regarding community events you would like to see held at the barn, please let us know.


The barn is also available for birthday parties and private event rentals. The main barn space can accommodate 65 people with an additional 42 on the attached porch. There is a full teaching/test kitchen suitable for cooking classes or a staging area for your caterer.


For further information about renting the barn, please click the Barn Rental tab at the Newton Community Farm Web site.


Howard Barnstone


Volunteer Highlight

This month the farm celebrates LJ Cohen, a critical volunteer for the farm in the online space. Lisa was an important adviser in our recent Web site redevelopment, acting as a coach to the other volunteers and a liaison to our external development partner. She has given her time to help shape the farm’s Web presence from the beginning and manages hosting and troubleshooting duties. She lives in Newton with her family and two dogs and has recently taken major steps in her second career as a science fiction author. You can learn more about LJ at her Web site,, and through her blog,


Thank you, LJ, for your tireless work, your lovely attitude, and your commitment to the farm!


Craig Greiner



Since we’re in Tomato Season, I’m cribbing a great basic recipe from Greg, Marinated Tomatoes. Eggplants are also ripe, so here again, from a 2009 newsletter, is an Eggplant Parmesan recipe that I like.


Greg’s Marinated Tomatoes

4 tomatoes, sliced

3 Tb. minced basil

3 Tb. minced parsley

1–2 cloves garlic, minced

6 Tb. olive oil

2 Tb. balsamic vinegar




Put sliced tomatoes in a bowl. Combine rest of ingredients. Toss with tomatoes and let marinate for an hour or more.


Eggplant Parmesan

(from Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen, new revised edition, 1992)

About 8 servings


2 medium eggplants (about 7 inches long)

3/4 cup milk (more, as needed)

2 cups fine bread crumbs or wheat germ (or mix them)

1 tsp. basil

½ tsp. oregano

½ tsp. thyme

1 batch tomato sauce (use bottled sauce or see recipe below)

1 lb. mozzarella cheese, grated

About ½ cup Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking tray and a 9x13-inch pan.


Cut the eggplants into rounds ½ inch thick. Put the milk in a shallow bowl. Mix bread crumbs or wheat germ with herbs on a plate. Dip each eggplant slice in the milk on both sides, then coat it well with the crumbs. Put the slices on the baking tray and the pan and bake about 20 to 30 minutes till tender. Remove from oven and pile the slices gently on the baking tray.


Without cleaning the 9x13-inch pan, ladle some tomato sauce into the bottom. Add a layer of eggplant slices and cover with more sauce. Sprinkle mozzarella over the sauce, then repeat the layering until you run out of something or have no more room. Sprinkle the top with Parmesan.


Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes or until heated through and bubbly around the edges. Remove from oven and let it sit about 10 minutes before serving.


Italian Tomato Sauce

(also from Moosewood Cookbook)

(makes enough for 6–8 servings)

1–2 Tb. olive oil

2 cups chopped onion

1 medium bell pepper, diced

2 tsp. basil

1 tsp. oregano

1 tsp. thyme

1 tsp. salt

2 Tb. dry red wine

28 oz. diced tomatoes

1 6-oz. can tomato paste

1 Tb. honey

Lots of black pepper

4–6 large cloves of garlic, minced

½ cup minced parsley


Heat the olive oil in a large, deep pan. Add onion, bell pepper, herbs, and salt and sauté over medium heat till the onion is very soft (8 to 10 minutes). Add tomatoes, tomato paste, honey, and black pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook, partly covered, for 20 to 30 minutes. Add garlic and simmer about 10 minutes more. At this point the sauce can sit, if needed, for several hours, or it can be refrigerated for up to a week or frozen. Heat gently before serving, and add the parsley at the last minute.


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.


Farmer Dan and his wife will be having a baby in the latter half of September, which may mean that we have to cancel some of our Saturday volunteer sessions. Please check our Web site or Facebook before coming to volunteer on Saturdays in the second half of September. We will announce if the sessions are cancelled.


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