Author Archives: Angel Park

I Heard It On the Radio

Here’s a story of sustainable food right in your backyard, along with a radio program about organic food.
We here at New Entry know Mrs. Caroline Zuk as the landlord to three of our Cambodian farmers at Saja Farm. Today I had the opportunity to talk to her briefly about the history of the farm and her passion and enthusiasm for sustainable agriculture. While Saja is a third generation farm, it is in its first year of production for the public. They grow their own produce (more traditional American crops) and buy Asian varieties wholesale from Mr. Sorn, Mr. Nil, and Mr. Emchak (graduates of the New Entry program).
Saja began as a dairy farm in 1915, with vegetables grown solely to supplement the family and not for profit. Back then everybody in the community had a source for their produce since most had their own vegetable gardens, so giving away your summer squash or tomatoes was very hard to do. Thus, it never occurred to them to turn their vegetable gardens into a business operation until recently. Whenever they kept trying to share their summer bounty with friends, they were told they should sell their sustainably-raised vegetables to the public. After much prodding, they decided to make the leap. They’ve had a remarkable response, and now they are trying as hard as they can to keep up with the demand-selling at two farmers’ markets, wholesale, and to restaurants. They are thrilled that their produce is going straight into the hands and mouths of the consumer.
Mrs. Zuk learned from a young age the importance of sustainable agriculture, and keeping the soil as healthy as possible. She recalls her grandmother always having a broom nearby to chase away those who attempted to get them to try some new quick fix for the soil. Even her aunt maintained the integrity of organic farming before it was trendy to do so. Mrs. Zuk emphasizes the importance of sustainablity in their family and their understanding that everything comes full cycle. Three generations of organic farming has maintained a rich and healthy soil, and the family is proud to offer produce that is good for the earth and the people.
If you have questions about organic farming, or love to talk and hear about it, Mrs. Zuk started a 13 week radio program on the local station (WCAP 980). It is on each Monday from 4:30 to 5:00 pm and you can listen live on the WCAP website. Last Monday, she talked all about tomatoes, how to handle them at home and recipe ideas. Next week, she plans to talk about Farmers’ Market etiquette–for the farmer and for the consumer. She will share what goes on behind the scenes before the market and the preparation involved. In the future, she hopes to be able to take questions on air.
If you have more questions, she is more than happy to answer them or talk to you more about organic farming. Beware, her energy and passion is contagious!
For more information:
www.sajafarm.com
978-454-SAJA
403 Parker Rd (Farmstand)
Dracut, MA 01826

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Mark Your Calendars!

Save the date! Sunday, September 28th will be New Entry’s Annual Harvest Festival at Richardson’s Dairy Farm. We’ll have everything needed for fun–live music, good food, great company–Don’t miss out!

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Report from New Entry’s Annual Farm Tour

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!

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Latest Scoop on New Entry

Speaking of local farming in the news, New Entry had a page in the Lowell Sun last Sunday! The article identified New Entry’s mission in bridging the gap that currently lies in creating a successful local food system here in Massachusetts. While there is much interest from consumers for local food, there aren’t enough people to produce it. New Entry seeks to help people interested in farming take the next step to learning about farming in this region, acquiring land, and selling their produce:
Back to the farm – By Kathleen Pierce, kpierce@lowellsun.com
DRACUT — Bent over in the hot morning sun, Seona Ngugor walks neat rows of kale behind Richardson’s Dairy. In workman’s boots and a flowing purple frock, the Cameroon native pulls stunning green leaves from the earth and dumps them in a wheelbarrow. View Full Story
Here is the sidebar article:
Renowned chef cooks straight from Dracut farm field – By Dennis Shaughnessey, dshaughnessey@lowellsun.com
DRACUT — Down the long dirt road toward the rear of the White Gate Farm on Marsh Hill Road, the scent of fresh vegetables cooking on hot coals wafts through the air. Green onion, garlic chive, lemongrass and fuzzy melon are among the items being cooked. View Full Story
You can also read about Chef Jody’s afternoon at White Gate Farm on her blog. Needless to say, my mouth was watering by the end. I also appreciated her fresh perspective on the Project and awe for Mr. Kim and Recchat, two of the farmers who had completed the training program with New Entry Sustainable Farming Project.

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Photos from Rialto’s Chef Jody Adams’s Visit

Recchat, Chef Jody, and Mr. Kim

Ready to Grill

The spread looks fantastic!

Thank you!

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Local Food Movement, Articles from Coast to Coast

This Washington Post article features 3 women who ride their bicycles from Washington, D.C. to Montreal to document thriving small farms, community gardens, and the growth of urban agriculture.
In Washington state, people struggle to find a way to bring self-sufficiency to low income populations.
We love local food for its taste, for supporting the local economy, and for its benefits to the environment. How about how great it is for our health? I hate to get wrapped up in all the little details of nutrition, but it is definitely a perk to eating a variety of fresh produce. I came across this article from the American Institute of Cancer Research, and thought it might be useful in getting ideas on incorporating more unprocessed foods in our diet.

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Let Me Introduce Myself, and Your CSA Abundance

Let’s back up a little. My name is Angel, and I’m interning here at New Entry for the summer. I connected with this organization through the Friedman School of Nutrition at Tufts University. This fall, I will be starting a grad program in Agriculture, Food, and Environment at Tufts with hopes to build stronger food systems here in the US.
One of my responsibilities this summer (besides learning how to blog!) is helping Matthew, our CSA coordinator. I look forward to these days, packing shares for the World Peas Cooperative for distribution in East Boston and Andover. My first memory would have to be being greeted with big smiles and warm handshakes by some of the farmers. It was a hot, humid day and they had been out since early that morning harvesting for the distribution. Despite the weather and fatigue, they couldn’t contain their pride in the crops they were offering as they talked to Matthew and signed receipts. I walked into the cooler for the first time and was overwhelmed by the wonderful smell of just-harvested green onions, cilantro, and other greens. We try to pack carefully yet efficiently so Matthew can make his drive without hitting too much traffic.
While packing, we can’t help but exclaim every time we pull back the cover of a bushel basket, or open a tote about how beautiful the vegetables look, or how fantastic they smell. Every single time, it never fails. As I place beautiful vegetables in each box, I wonder how the shareholders feel when they pick up their share. Do they feel anticipation in uncovering the contents of their box? Do they wonder what recipe they will use to feature a certain green? Do their kids get involved and get excited too? I’d like to hear from you, share with us your CSA experience.

Seona at last Friday’s Lowell Market

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A Visit from Chef Jody Adams of Rialto Restaurant

Chef Jody Adams, of Rialto Restaurant in Cambridge, MA, will be making a visit to Whitegate farm to meet with our farmers and do a Guerrilla Grilling piece next Monday, July 28. Supporter of local foods and cooking, Chef Jody has been visiting farms in Massachusetts and New Hampshire to meet with small farmers and show how food, right in our backyards, can be so deliciously prepared and enjoyed. This visit will focus on Asian produce and will feature two of our Cambodian farmers, Mr. Kim and Rechhat. We’re looking forward to the visit and will update with pictures from the event!

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Lowell Farmer’s Market

Hello there!
Last Friday was the opening day of the Lowell Farmer’s Market in JFK Square, right across from City Hall. The market opened at 3pm, with 7 vendors selling vegetables, herbs, berries and baked goods (which quickly sold out!). Mayor Bud Caulfield welcomed the market and did a cooking demonstration with Tom Shanahan of the Owl Diner.
The market will continue to expand and will feature locally produced items such as eggs, meats, dairy products, handmade jewelry, and potted herbs and plants. Support your community and stop by this Friday from 3-7pm for some live music and good times!


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Food for thought

Working in this office and with those involved in the New Entry community, it is easy to feel optimistic about the future of our food supply with people becoming more aware of the benefits of community supported agriculture. However, while walking down a city street or riding the T, I realize that there are many people that this food system can’t reach. What will it take to bring local foods to everyday people? Will the increase in popularity of CSA’s trickle down and make local, fresh foods a more affordable option than the grocery store alternative?

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