Grow Education “Faces of Food” in New Bedford: Lori Silveira
Meet Ashley Brister, Farm Director at Sharing the Harvest Community Farm, a Program of YMCA Southcoast in Dartmouth.
Sharing the Harvest is a nonprofit, volunteer driven community farm that was established in 2006 as a grassroots response to hunger at the local level. The farm’s mission is to alleviate hunger, promote volunteerism, and provide agricultural education on the South coast of Massachusetts.
What’s your favorite way to spend a day off?
Spending time with friends and family on the beach or on the water, followed by a delicious homemade meal.
How do you like to be active?
My job is very physical and that is part of the reason why I enjoy it; but aside from gardening and farming, I enjoy running, rowing and swimming.
What’s your favorite dish from your culture?
I consider my cultural roots very much New England based, with extended family who grew up on Cape Cod and in Maine going back to the Mayflower. My mom and grandmother always made fish chowder on Christmas Eve. They usually used Cod or Haddock with potatoes in a simple milk broth base. This served with a crab quiche was the perfect meal before a bigger feast on Christmas Day.
What culture’s cuisine and cooking traditions interest you most?
I discovered the Japanese art of homemade ramen this winter during quarantine. When I grew up I associated ramen with those quick cups you just poured hot water over and were full of sodium. Traditional ramen, in contrast, can take a couple of days to make properly. A good bone broth, tare, fresh noodles and of course toppings of fresh vegetables and a perfectly soft-boiled egg are the key components of Japanese ramen.
What do you wish you learned about food when you were in 3rd grade?
I wish I had learned more about how fruits and vegetables were grown. We had a big flower garden growing up, but I didn’t eat vegetables right out of the garden until I was in my late teens/early twenties. The contrast of eating something directly out of the garden versus a vegetable that has been shipped from a great distance gives you a new appreciation of flavor and the work it takes to grow food.
What’s something you’ve learned about food that you found interesting or useful?
I have discovered that I love fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, pickled beets and other roots, etc. I have found that when I can incorporate these foods into my daily diet, I have less digestive issues and feel more energized by my meals.