August 7, 2008, Richardson Farm – Dracut, MA. New Entry Sustainable Farming Project had their annual farm tour from 5-8pm yesterday evening. Despite the rain and dreary weather, about 45 people came decked out in rain gear to learn more about New Entry, our farmers, and their food.
This is the first year the farm tour was opened to the public, as it was mainly for CSA members in the past. Visitors from the University of Vermont, Boston University, Dracut Agricultural Commission, neighboring towns, prospective students for the farmer training course, as well as CSA members shared the damp evening with the New Entry staff and even got to taste some of the fresh produce.
McKenzie, the Technical Assistance Coordinator, started the tour. In the top right picture, she’s holding up sweet potato greens. Most were fascinated by the fact that the African farmers grow these for the greens specifically, and not at all for the tubers. Nikki, one of the farmers of New Entry, says that she completely sells out of her sweet potato greens even before she plants them!
McKenzie leads the group to Nikki’s plot. Here’s a sample of maize Nikki grows. It reaches height beyond 8 ft!
Guests walk through Noueth’s and Oen’s plots, learning about Cambodian crops and the water spinach that is such a staple to their diets.
UTEC (United Teen Equality Center) introduces themselves and gives an introduction to the food they made with the produce from some of our New Entry Farmers. The teens who work for this organization are usually at-risk youth, and can choose to get involved in different capacities. Here, they are involved in the culinary program for teens. Last night they featured gazpacho, tabbouli, long beans, and other apps.
Afterwards, the tour group hopped in a van to go to Smith Farm, two miles away where some more of our farmers have planted their crops:
Here is Addison. An immigrant from Haiti, Addison shares with the group his biggest challenge in farming, having the time to farm while working a full time job. Most days, he works sun-up to sun-down to keep up with the growing season. Fortunately, his two high school daughters love to help and get involved.
The evening was only supposed to last until 7pm, but ended after dark. What started out as a simple tour on locally-grown foods turned out to be a cultural-educational event right here in Dracut, MA. Guests walked through, sampled, and learned about African, Cambodian, and Puerto Rican crops–an enriching experience to say the least!
We had a wonderful time, hopefully you can join us next year!