New Entry’s 5th Annual Farm Tour: They Came, They Saw, They Stayed for Some Appetizers

Rechhat, one of New Entry's earliest farmer-trainees (left), shows off his plot at Whitegate Farm.

New Entry opened its training farms to the public during their 5th Annual Open Farms Tour August 2nd.  Guests visited with four New Entry graduates at four farms in Dracut, to learn about what motives New Entry farmers, discuss soil conditions, market outlets, pests, irrigation and everything else that affects the day-to-day life of our farmers.  Visitors included CSA members, future potential farmers, neighbors and other supporters of New Entry farmers.

Visitors began the tour with a trip to White Gate farm, to visit Rechhat Proum (2004 graduate, originally from Cambodia).  Rechhat has farmed at Whitegate since 1999.  As Richhat proudly displayed his harvest-ready bitter melon, garlic chive, and Asian cucumber, guests inquired as to how much time he spends in the fields.  His response?  “Oh, I cannot start to count the hours!  Farming is a lot of hard work.”  In addition to selling produce into the World PEAS CSA, Rechhat and his wife sell their produce to local Asian grocery stores, and to local farmers markets.

Next, guests visited farmer DC Denison (2011 graduate) at the Smith Farm site (about 1 mile from Whitegate Farm). In addition to their farm work, DC and his wife Gretchen open their Cambridge home each Wednesday to host a World PEAS CSA distribution.  Also, as World PEAS shareholders, they receive a weekly box of World PEAS fruits and vegetables.  DC reflected on what it means to be involved with New Entry at so many different levels – “We spend many hours in the field carefully cultivating our kale crop. We harvest it and deliver it to the CSA packing and distribution site in downtown Lowell. The next day, the World PEAS delivery truck stops at our house to drop off the CSA boxes for distribution to shareholders in our community.  Our friends and neighbors arrive to pick up their shares. As shareholders, we get to enjoy a share as well.  Gretchen and I open the box… and there is our kale! “

Tim Carroll talks about his experiences as a first-year farmer at Smith Farm, one of our incubator farm sites.

Next, visitors got a first-hand glimpse into the life of Tim Carroll (2012 graduate), who farms with his family at a nearby site, also at Smith Farm.  First, Tim greeted visitors at the Smith Farm wash station, to walk visitors through his meticulous post-harvest handling process.  According to Tim “nobody likes to see grass in their baby salad greens.  Everything gets washed twice, then spun, then bagged.  Thank goodness I have kids to help out!”  Guests then followed Tim to his field where he emphasized the need for weed control.  “As you can see, my weed control systems are not ideal.   Even though several hours per week are committed to weed extraction, we still have trouble keeping up with it. Some areas have more weed that crop… but the ongoing battle continues!”

Guests finished the tour with a visit to Ogonowski Fields, to meet with Joann Robichad (2011 graduate), and her partner Kamal.  Guests viewed Joann’s crops of Swiss chard, arugula, basil, tomatoes, and baby salad greens.  In addition to selling her crops into the World PEAS CSA, Joann operates her own CSA, in which she delivers shares to her customers.

Before leaving the farm for the evening, guests were treated to delicious appetizers made by the teens from United Teen Equality Center, using produce grown by New Entry farmers.

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Pest management workshop for refugees at Lutheran Social Services

On Wednesday, Farmland Coordinator Becca Weaver left the office to venture out to New Lands Farm, run by Lutheran Social Services (LSS), to teach their program participants about pest management.  The workshop participants were refugees and two translators were present to interpret the lesson into Nepalese and Swahili.  The program at New Lands Farm has expanded in recent years and on Wednesday there were over 30 participants who came to learn to identify common New England vegetable pests and about the best control methods to protect their delicious vegetables.  These talented growers, now armed with row cover and Surround, are more prepared for the challenges of agriculture in Massachusetts.

(See more pictures on our Facebook page)

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A new video about New Entry, and Adisson and Seona driving a tractor

Have a look at this this excellent video Molly Bedell made about New Entry!

As he talks about planning for the growing season, New Entry farmer Adisson Toussaint has a line in this video that pretty much sums up why we have a Farm Business Planning Class:

“It’s easy to think about what you’re going to do, but it’s sometimes difficult to put on paper.”

Adisson has moved onto his own land, and is at the point of mulling tractor options. He and another movin’-on-up New Entry farmer, Seona Ban Ngufer, recently got some tractor operation lessons from Tim Laird at The Food Project. There’s nothing like seeing our farmers take their business to the next level. This is why we do what we do!

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You need expert panelists? We’ve got expert panelists

See the videos below, where Jennifer Hashley (New Entry’s Director) and Ethan Grundberg (up until recently,  our Technical Assistance and Incubator Farms Coordinator, now Farm Manager at Allandale Farm) make up 100% of the expert panel at a Northeastern University open classrooms session on food systems:

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The season begins!

New Entry’s staff often say that we all wear more than one hat. When we had a greenhouse propagation field training – our first field training of the year – scheduled to happen when there would be no Technical Assistance Coordinator around to run it, Becca Weaver stepped up, although it fell well outside of the job description for a Farmland Matching Coordinator. With a little bit of coaching from outgoing TA Coordinator Ethan Grundberg (now farm manager at Allandale Farm), as expected, she nailed it.

Now that our new TA Coordinator, Matt Kochka, has started, he’ll be running the rest of the season’s field trainings. Matt comes to us from Farm Aid, and before that, ReVision Urban Farm in Boston, where he was the farm manager. He knows his stuff.

The next field training is Irrigation and Water, on May 3, 5-7pm – as always, in Dracut, Mass. For more information, contact Matt at 978-654-6745 or

Here are a few more pictures of the greenhouse workshop. (The discerning eye will notice our new soil blocker in action!)

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Meet Our CSA Coordinator

Matthew Himmel

Matthew Himmel - standing, as usual, in a sea of CSA boxes.

Our Marketing Manager, Matthew Himmel, has had more to do with the phenomenal growth of New Entry’s World PEAS CSA than anyone. He’ll be leaving the project this year (for business school!), and New Entry is looking for someone to fill his very big shoes. For those who might not realize just what a big deal World PEAS has become, check out Adrien Bisson’s recent interview with Matthew.

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New Entry is Hiring!

Help New Entry Grow!Now Hiring

New Entry is looking for qualified candidates to join our energetic team that works to create new farmers, cultivate local produce, and conserve endangered farmland.  We are looking to fill two positions based in Lowell, MA to grow our programs.  Position descriptions and the application process is detailed below.

Please help spread the word!

CSA and Food Access Coordinator

Help make a difference for farmers, customers and  low-income communities by leading our CSA operations! Sadly, we will say “goodbye” to our existing CSA Coordinator (Matthew Himmel) who is moving on to another job and (hopefully!) to return to school. As a result, we are seeking a highly organized individual with proven leadership skills to coordinate our 475-member CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program.  responsibilities include: aassisting farmers in developing individual farmer production schedules; conducting outreach programs to reach potential customers and community volunteers; managing customer sales receipts and payments to farmers; managing staff and community volunteers; developing systems for produce quality assessment and farmer feedback; and expanding New Entry’s food access programs. A Bachelor’s degree is required, and a Master’s Degree is preferred. The candidate must have prior experience in supervising/ managing a produce operation or agricultural business . This is a permanent full-time position at our offices in Lowell and farms in Dracut, MA (4 miles from downtown Lowell).  Click here for the full job description.

Assistant CSA Coordinator

Help local farmers connect directly to customers by supervising our CSA operations! We are seeking a detail-oriented, organized, high-energy candidate to supervise quality control and produce packing operations for our 475-member CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program.  Responsibilities include supervising a team to pack CSA shares, working with farmers to assure quality control of produce delivered, picking up produce from nearby farms, delivering produce to distribution points around the Boston area, and assisting in coordinating production schedules and processing farmer payments. A Bachelor’s degree and experience in produce handling and quality assessment is preferred. This is a seasonal, full-time position from May through November based at our farms in Dracut, MA (4 miles from downtown Lowell).  Click here for the full job description.
TO APPLY: Interested applicants may download an application and submit with a resume and cover letter.

EMAIL: – Human Resources
Please cc: with your application materials.  Individuals of diverse backgrounds and cultures are encouraged to apply.

(978) 937-5824

Community Teamwork, Inc.
Human Resources Office
155 Merrimack St.
Lowell, MA 01852

For any questions related to these positions, please email Project Director, Jennifer Hashley or Program and Finance Coordinator, Kimberley Fitch.

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A Little Help From Our Friends (at B.U.)

New Entry’s three incubator farm sites underwent a makeover this year at the hands of Boston University’s FYSOP Volunteer Program. Groups of 15 incoming freshmen spent five hours on August 31st, September 1st, and September 2nd getting to know some of the New Entry farmers and working on a number of projects at Richardson’s Dairy, Smith Farm, and Ogonowski Fields. The energetic groups helped clean out our hoop houses, weed the annual grasses that were taking over the pick-your-own herb garden, organize the farmers’ storage sheds, and harvest produce in the farmers’ fields. Volunteers seemed to be both tired and full of a sense of accomplishment at the end of each day and the farmers were very appreciative for the extra hands (hands that happened to be protected by work gloves generously donated by Magid Glove & Safety). Thanks to all of the hard-working volunteers and we look forward to seeing the FYSOP folks again next year!
– Ethan

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New Entry and the MPPU on NPR!

The Mobile Poultry Processing Unit was recently featured on Radio Boston! Read and listen here:

Moved to try these chickens out for yourself? You can preorder from the next batch (with pickups in Dracut on Oct. 3 and Medford/Somerville on Oct. 5) here. If you want to try it out before buying, you can find our chickens at Bondir restaurant in Cambridge. If you decide to buy one, you’ll be in good company! Email if you have any questions about the chickens.
Moved to try your hand at processing chickens? Step right up! You can volunteer for our next processing day-slash-workshop here. Whether you’re thinking about raising birds of your own or you just want a better sense of where your food comes from, it’s sure to be an experience to write home about.

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Things have been happening out at the farms – fields plowed, crops planted, a new hoophouse skinned – but none quite as adorable as the newest tenants at Ogonowski Memorial Fields: our chickens! At just under two and three weeks, our two batches of chickens are still in their cute phase. Enjoy them now – and, if you’re one of the many people who has been wondering where you can find local, pasture-raised chicken, email if you’re interested in buying the finished product later this year. You can also click here to participate in the remaining poultry workshops.
Without further ado, here they are:

Here they are shortly after first arriving.

These chicks, an Italian red broiler strain (“redbros” for short), came a week ahead of the faster-growing Cornish Cross chicks.

We kept them separate for a couple of days so the Cornish Cross could get adjusted. Both batches will finish at the same time, on July 11 – 8 weeks for the Cornish, 9 weeks for the redbros.

The two breeds get along famously, at least for chickens, and it didn’t take them long to spread out and make use of their expanded brooder. This is about how they looked when we held our Brooding Workshop on May 24.
And now a few of the greatest hits, adorableness-wise:

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