Eva Sommaripa

2014 Alumnae Achievement Awards

Eva SommaripaEva Sommaripa ’63
Organic Farmer, Champion of Sustainable Living

Eva Sommaripa '63 has been a pioneer in the food world as a purveyor of healthy organic greens and an early leader of sustainable lifestyles. Her organic herb garden, aptly named Eva’s Garden, has been supplying New England chefs with fresh herbs and greens for more than 40 years. Since the start of her garden, Sommaripa has served as an exemplar for the local food movement – long before it became trendy. In fact, she does not follow trends; she creates them.

Throughout the past 40 years, Sommaripa has transformed a backyard herb garden into a 2.5-acre intensive organic garden specializing in culinary herbs, greens, and edible and cut flowers, including many rare and exotic varieties. She also uses the uncultivated fields and forests nearby to forage for wild produce. It has been said that she has taught chefs that an herb doesn’t have to be something green, just for garnish; it can be the main event. As a result, her garden has been described as a “Shangri-La of flavor.”

Sommaripa is also a champion of organic and sustainable living. Long before organic foods became popular, and even before the USDA issued organic certifications, Sommaripa was already growing herbs without pesticides or chemicals. Before sustainability became a concern to the general population, Sommaripa was working with a local coffee-roasting company to utilize their leftover burlap and coffee chaff for mulch and weed control at her farm. If you really want to learn about sustainable living, many experts say “start with Eva.”

Sommaripa was an Art Major at Wellesley College and then studied Ceramics at the Rhode Island School of Design.