FRESH START: Starting a farm from scratch may seem a thing of the past. But for Molly DellaRoman, it’s the future.
The native of the Finger Lakes region in New York was named the new farm manager at Moose Hill Farm in Sharon, owned by the Trustees of Reservations, and is in charge of pumping new agricultural life into a property that hasn’t been farmed for more than 50 years.
Moose Hill is also the newest component of the land conservation group’s Community Supported Agriculture program, which sells shares of a farm’s harvest in advance of the growing season.
“I’ve always been an environmentalist, and the way we grow our food is one of the biggest ways we can affect our environment,” said DellaRoman, 35, who lives on the farm.
Crops to be planted this year include lettuce, tomatoes, cabbage, carrots, peppers, onions, summer squash, and spinach. In addition, Community Supported Agriculture members can take part in flower shares, and a winter share.
As with its other CSA sites, the Trustees of Reservations is supporting local hunger-relief groups. For the first season, 3 percent of the program’s proceeds — or roughly $1 per share each week — will be used to supply area food pantries with at least 1,000 pounds of fresh produce, according to the group’s announcement on the Moose Hill program.
Next year, the farm will raise piglets from Powisset Farm in Dover, and by the third year, organizers hope to add beef cows, DellaRoman said.
She learned to farm while working at Powisset, another Trustees of Reservations holding, and the Natick Community Organic Farm. DellaRoman spent last year volunteering on organic farms in the Pacific Northwest through the Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms.
DellaRoman, who earned a master’s degree from Cornell University in biological and environmental engineering, said, “I’m a scientist at heart, and farming is one big science experiment — you try new things and see what works.”
There is already a buzz in Sharon about the farm off Moose Hill Street, she said, with local residents seeing activity there for the first time in decades, stopping by to ask what’s going on, “and getting excited there’s something happening,” DellaRoman said.
Starting in the 1930s, Moose Hill Farm was home to a 60-head herd of Guernsey milk cows, and was an active dairy until 1960. Preparations for its return to farming have included irrigation ditches being dug, a greenhouse getting built, and compost and lime put down to prepare for spring planting.
“It’s been crazy, but in a good way,” she said. “There’s literally something new happening all the time, a new idea, a new opportunity. It’s fun, starting from scratch.”
For information on buying a share at the farm, and to find out about volunteering opportunities, visit Moose Hill’s page at www.thetrustees.org, or call 781-784-0567, ext. 7035.
AIMING FOR SUCCESS: Nine Randolph High School students were visited recently by Steve Gregory, a safety for the New England Patriots, and his wife, Rosanne, who stopped by the Randolph Stars program to help the students kick off a new social venture that recently received a $1,000 grant to get it going.
The visit and mentoring are part of the United Way of Massachusetts Bay/Merrimack Valley’s Youth Venture program, which provided the start-up grant for their social venture, an after-school club for middle-school students called Youths Striving for Success.
Randolph Stars was launched in 2008 to keep at-risk ninth-graders in school. Its first group of students reached graduation age in June with 100 percent still in the program. Officials said 96 percent graduated in four years, and the rest are on track to graduate this year.
The students in the program are Keshard Chery, Ralph Decamp, Lawrence Monteiro, Melissa Adilas, Maxene Joseph, Emmanuel Cazeau, Edwina Edward, Abigail Morris, and Troy Osgood.
APPLAUSE FOR ARTIST: A painting called “Rush” by Liza Houston of Stoughton received the top honor in an online exhibition, “Legendary Landscapes: Real or Imagined,” held by the Newport Art Museum in Rhode Island.
The work, an acrylic on canvas that was voted “best in show” by visitors to the website, will go on display at the museum’s art school, the Coleman Center for Creative Studies, sometime this year, officials said. “Rush” is featured on the online exhibition page at www.newportartmuseum.org.
HONORING GOOD WORKS: James and Theresa Orcutt of Easton were honored by the Congregation of Holy Cross, US Province of Priests and Brothers, with its annual Spirit of Holy Cross Award, given to lay collaborators who serve the Catholic order.
The Orcutts are on staff at the Holy Cross Retreat House in Easton, and are also founders of My Brother’s Keeper. They started volunteering at Holy Cross Retreat House in 1986, and in 1999 joined the leadership team that coordinates retreat programs. They manage the house with the Rev. Joseph Callahan and Deacon Dan Sullivan.
In 1988, the Orcutts began delivering furniture to families in need in Taunton and Brockton, working out of the basement of their home. Two years later, they incorporated their Catholic ministry under the name “My Brother’s Keeper,” which is now based on Holy Cross land adjacent to Stonehill College.