Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bountiful Boston: Stop One

I’ve got to say Boston didn’t start out on the finest foot.  Thursday night before leaving I dropped my phone again, this time rendering the SIM card useless approximately 5 minutes after the Apple store had closed for the night.  I spent a long two hours worrying if I could pull off 4 appointments on a Friday without a phone. 
It turned out that the phone function was to become utterly secondary to GPS.  Luckily, I didn’t have to worry about either as my brilliant friends M&G managed to take humpty apart and put him back together again before I left town.  With a full signal, I headed out on my Friday flight ready to face the day. (Oh, silly...of course, it wasn't a full signal on the plane! I was in 'airplane" mode, naturally.) An added perk was my upgraded seat thanks to S (who I already adore, but now adore even more), especially since the flight was full of screaming children and uptight business men.  I had plenty of my own space to work on the plane which actually inspired me to DO work. (Usually I am overcome by magazines or sleeping on plane rides.)

The farm and lands The Food Project shares with the Trustees of Reservations

Things went slightly downhill when I picked up the rental car to head out to Beverly, MA, on the North Shore, for lunch with the Food Project.  Along with the 100+ degree temperatures, the Boston highway system overwhelmed me before I was even off airport property.  Trapped in tunnels with no apparent exit, my GPS didn't appear to be of much use.  Every few seconds, it would tell me "Turn left on Mass Ave." or "Turn right on Commonwealth." a funny, but not funny ha-ha, way the GPS was apparently guiding me via the streets *above* me, not the subterranean hell in which I was trapped.  In short, let's just say I saw a LOT of Boston and its suburbs before I finally got pointed towards Beverly.   

But, arrive, I did, and The Food Project was incredible.  As I told their outreach director, I'm really not sure if seeing them as one of my first visits will help set a standard of comparison (i.e., aim for *this*) or completely dishearten me that no one can reach this same level.  Of course, they are celebrating 20 years of running the program, so I guess that can't hurt your awesomeness factor.

The view from the Trustees of Reservations' Children's Garden down to the Food Project's Farm and Tents
I arrived at the Long Hill farm (just one of the Food Project's several farms around the Boston area) around 11AM and followed the explicitly helpful directions from their website to park in the correct location.  As I walked towards a cluster of females wearing "Food Project" t-shirts, I knew my contact was not there (he's a male...that was a good giveaway).  The girls, however, were very helpful- making phone calls to ascertain who I was, talking to me about the grounds, showing me in to the farmhouse to meet another Food Project staff member.  It was only after they adeptly managed a stranger in their midst that I found out these girls were actually the kids who work in the Food Project's summer program.  Yep, they were teenagers.  That was my first indication that the Food Project is doing some serious leadership and character building.  I would never have guessed the girls weren't even in college yet for all their poise.

17-year old Keely, 15-year old Marcus and 17-year old Emily speak to luncheon guests about the FP

I spent a 1/2 hour self-touring the grounds of the land shared by the Food Project and the Trustees of Reservations, all of which are very woodsy and New England.  Despite the heat, the humidity was rather low, keeping me from turning into a puddle of sweat.  (Although, I did sneak back to my rental and change from pants to shorts in the back seat for lack of a better location.)  Michael Iceland, the Food Project's Outreach Director, arrived soon after that and began working with the kids to set up lunch.  The meal was prepared by local Gloucester restaurant Market Restaurant who turned the Food Project's harvest into a delicious meal for their summer Community Lunch.  These lunches are a chance for supporters, Board Members and potential donors to hear from the teens involved in the Food Project firsthand.  They are also a chance for the teens to see how the produce they grow can be utilized by a chef in a restaurant setting.  It was great fun to sit down at a table shared with farmers, teens, board members and community members united over fresh, local food.  And, of course, the best part was listening and learning about the Food Project from the kids themselves.  I look forward to sharing more with you about this fabulous, dynamic organization in future posts.

Cucumber and Onion Salad with Fresh Herbs
Beets with the mintiest-mint I have ever tasted.  Yum.
Potato Salad with Shallots and Dill
Squash, Onion, Spinach and Goat Cheese Tart
My lunch table at The Food Project Community Lunch: Farmers, teen participants, community representatives and board members

Look for a full breakdown of The Food Project and their work in a coming post!


  1. well, despite all the shananigans (?) seems like it was a great time! the food looks absolutely amazing.

  2. a rough start, but turned out to be a great day! love the leadership of the teenagers and the food is awesome!