CSA: Sign up for the season ahead!

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) helps local farms and ensures a fresh and diverse supply of local food for your family all growing season long.

How it Works

CSA members pre-purchase a “farm share” and then literally share in the farm’s harvest for the growing season (usually June to October or November).  This financial support, early in the season, enables a farmer to better plan what and how many crops to grow and make other commitments for the season ahead.  

Glynwood has recently facilitated a coalition of more than 60 farms to put together a searchable database of CSAs. Click here to find out what CSAs are near you. Continue reading to learn about Hilltop Hanover’s unique, market-style CSA in Yorktown.

Hilltop Hanover Farm’s CSA

In nearby Yorktown, Hilltop Hanover Farm and Environmental Center offers a summer CSA. One unique element of Hilltop Hanover’s 120 member CSA is the fact it runs market style.

“So a lot of CSAs, you come, you pick up a pre-made bag of food. Ours is set up almost as if you’re walking into a farm stand and you’re just picking and purchasing produce, with it nicely displayed and laid out. So that on the chalkboard it’ll say something like ‘Pick up a bunch of radish, a head of lettuce, two cucumbers, a half pound of eggplants’, and the consumer comes through the farmstand and picks up their vegetables,” explains Marianna Fishman, Hilltop Hanover farmer and coordinator of adult programs, adding that customers enjoy the experience of being able to have this extra element of choice. Hilltop Hanover also uniquely provides half shares for smaller families who don’t need such an immense amount of produce each week.

CSAs are perfect for people willing to experiment with new foods and cooking.

“You need to be somebody willing to be adventurous with your palate and experiment in cooking and trying new things, because we don’t want this produce we’ve worked so hard to grow to go right into the trash” said Marianna. 

Most members enjoy the exposure to new produce and the high quality of food so much that they return as members year after year.

“I think it becomes addicting to get well priced, local organic food. Once you pick up items from a farm that was harvested that day, and you see grocery store produce for what it really is–something that was shipped across the country or maybe from another country. It doesn’t have nearly the nutritional value, it doesn’t taste the same,” says Marianna.  “It’s empowering to be able to drive a couple miles and not just support a local farm, but also get produce that has a much higher nutritional quality than something you’d get in a grocery store.”

To learn more about the Hilltop Hanover CSA click here.

Other Farms offering CSAs

Hilltop Hanover is not the only CSA around! Click here for a searchable directory created by Hudson Valley CSA Coalition and find a CSA that works for you!

Meatless Monday Partner – Northern Westchester Hospital

Week 6

Partner Northern Westchester Hospital: Northwell Health

 

Meatless Monday Partner – Ladle of Love

Chef, food and lifestyle writer, and business owner Leslie Lampert has been pursuing her love for locally produced food for over 30 years. Her take-out soup shop, Ladle of Love, has a seasonally-driven menu featuring fresh ingredients from neighborhood farms. These hearty soups are a satisfying and delicious choice for a meatless meal!

“We practice Meatless Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday…every day of the week, because we offer very many vegetarian and vegan dishes every day,” said Lampert.

While the menu changes daily, you can be sure to find some meatless dishes at Ladle of Love.

“Every day we feature Harvest Celebration, Chunky Vegetable, and Tuscan Tomato, all three of which are vegan. We also rotate a lot of specials, many of which are meatless. Fan favorites include quinoa vegetarian chili, vegan potato leek soup, and curry vegetable stew,” she said.

Beyond supporting local farmers and growers, Leslie is active with several charitable initiatives around Westchester. As the Culinary Team at the Boys & Girls Club of Northern Westchester,

Lade of Love provides over 1,000 children hot meals per week. Leslie also works with Bedford 2020, as one of the pilot business for the green business project. She also sits on the business board, and provided food through Ladle of Love for the Climate Summit on February 3rd!

“I’ve worked with Bedford 2020 since the beginning, because I am very conscientious about the energy and carbon footprint of my businesses,” said Leslie. “I’m a big supporter of the organization, and I love the people who run it—I love everyone there.”

Stop by today to thank Leslie for her support and have a delicious meal! Be sure to try to Bedford 2020 Beans & Greens Soup—a vegan, gluten free dish featuring winter greens, kidney beans, chickpeas, housemate vegetable broth, and herbs.

Ladle of Love is located at 11B South Moger Avenue in Mount Kisco. It is open 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Saturdays, and closed Sundays.

Cafe of Love, also owned by Lampert, is located at 38 East Main St, Mount Kisco and open Tuesday – Sunday.

 

 

 

Meatless Monday Partner: Truck

 

Photo from NY Times

Located at a former truck stop for travelers on Route 22, TRUCK is a casual, lively restaurant in Bedford, NY. The eclectic menu features everything from organic carrot cake twinkies to chile marinaded wild shrimp, and is largely inspired by the cuisine Northern New Mexico, where owner Nancy Roper grew up.

Beans, a staple of New Mexican cuisine, are a versatile protein which make meatless eating at TRUCK very easy.

“We have a ‘Bean of the Week’ promotion which we really push. We always have organic, New York State grown organic black beans, but every week we feature a different bean because they’re full of protein, and they’re really good for you. We want people to eat more beans!” said Roper.

Roper emphasized great variety of shapes, textures, and tastes within the Beans of the Week.

“The Royal Corona is a fan favorite–it has a following, just because it’s so big. Ayocote Morado is a brown, medium sized bean, very tasty. It has a little bit of a thicker skin, so it’s a lot of fun to eat. There’s also a little tiny bean called Pinquito. It’s very cute and flavorful, with interesting definition in the skin. There really hasn’t been a dud of the bean—they’ve all been popular.”

TRUCK also provides locally-grown vegetables all year round.

“We’re in the heart the season of rutabagas, root vegetables, parsnips, and purple top turnips from places such as Riverbank Farm in Connecticut and Sun Sprout farm in New York,” said Roper.

TRUCK buys produce from Cabbage Hill Farm in Mt. Kisco

TRUCK even sources as close as Cabbage Hill farm in Mount Kicso, which provides year-ground lettuce, Bok Choy, and microgreens from its greenhouse.

Visit TRUCK during the campaign to check out the Bean of the Week, locally grown produce, and to try the Bedford 2020 Roasted Vegetable Blue Corn Enchilada, featuring seasonal vegetables, Monterey Jack cheese, mild chile sauce, and pico de gallo!

TRUCK is located at 381 Old Post Road in Bedford, NY, and open the following hours:

  • Lunch: Tues – Fri   11:30am-3:30pm
  • Dinner: Tues – Thu 5:30pm-9:30pm
  • Dinner: Friday 5:30pm-10:30pm
  • Dinner: Sat – 5:00pm-10:30pm
  • Sunday: 4:30pm-9pm
  • CLOSED Monday (so get on board Meatless Monday at Truck any other day!)

Click here to visit our Meatless Monday archive.

Meatless Monday Partner: Reading Room

An interview with Peter Menzies

A popular gourmet market and cafe in Katonah, the Reading Room provides a selection of books, freshly baked goods, prepared foods, and to health related products in a cozy environmental full of locals. For years, owner Peter Menzies has embraced meatless eating both at home and in store.

“My family and I have participated in Meatless Monday before–not perfectly, but we tried. The main reason we did it was environmental. I am astonished by the amount of resources a pound of beef sucks up—between the water and feed, it’s just an inefficient protein.”

While Reading Room serves some meat products, its most popular items are meatless.

“Our top 3 menu items are avocado toast, kale salad, and egg sandwiches. Avocado toast is by far our most popular product—it sells four times better than the kale salad. So it’s completely intentional the Reading Room menu has lots of meatless options–we know our audience, and people don’t want heavy meat-laden items,” Menzeis said.

Meatless options are likely so popular due to health, as well as environment concerns.

“The majority of our customers are health conscious; they care very much about what they eat. Some have dietary restrictions, but for the most part they’re looking for something that’s healthy and easy. People are also aware of the environmental impact of their food, and making conscious decisions to eat differently with the environment in mind.”

The Reading Room is located at 19 Edgemont Road in Katonah, and open from morning to late afternoon every day of the week. Stop by during the campaign and you can try the Bedford 2020 Kale Salad—a hearty salad with kale, vegetables, spiced nuts and parmesan!

See more posts about Meatless Monday with Bedford 2020: Week 1 Recipes and Resources.

Sharing is caring!

Now that it’s the peak of the growing season, you probably have excess produce that your household can’t finish. Now is the perfect time to donate your excess produce to people who are not fortunate enough to have constant access to fresh produce! Homegrown crops are so uniquely nutritious and delicious, and you don’t want them going to waste.

Crop donations (and any food) can be dropped off at the Community Center of Northern Westchester, located at 84 Bedford Rd, Katonah, NY. Food donations are accepted at the rear entrance Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, or Saturday from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.

As part of the “Harvest Community” program, homegrown crops can also be brought to the Antioch Baptist Church of Bedford Hills, NY. The Church is located at 3 Church St, Bedford Hills, NY 10507. Please drop off before 2 pm on Saturdays or call to come another day.

Harvest Community is also looking for volunteers to transport produce from farmers markets back to the Church, and bag and sort produce. To learn more about drop offs or volunteering, please call 914-241-0189. 

Winter is Coming: Planting for Fall & Beyond

by Lori Fontanes

I know it’s hard to imagine when the mercury is still hitting 90 and the tomatoes are going strong but the end of summer is actually the perfect time to think about winter and even next season.  With the hardest work in your vegetable garden mostly over, just a little more effort can pay off in fall salads and a head start on next year’s bounty, too.

GOING FOR SECONDS: PLANTING FALL CROPS

Compared to spring, timing the planting of seeds and seedlings for a late autumn harvest can be tricky.  If you start too soon and the heat persists, your cool-loving radishes and lettuces won’t thrive and may bolt if it gets too hot.  Start too late and you may get pea vines but no pods before snow and frost kick in.

But now that winter in Westchester County often holds off until December, if you start cool weather seeds in August or September and make sure they’re well-watered and located in shadier spots, you should be able to get a second round of cool season crops.  Follow the seed packet guidelines to decide which plants are suitable and which month to start; choose heat-tolerant varieties for best results.  If, despite your efforts, the plants seem to find the heat or light too intense, you can also try suspending pieces of agricultural shade cloth over them.  (See Supplies, below.)

At the other end of the thermometer, once the heat dies back and before a hard frost, you could consider cold frames or crop covers to eke out a few more weeks or even months.  Crop covers won’t be effective in extreme conditions but you can keep the cold frames on the ground all winter.  If using frames, it’s best to position them where you want them and plant directly into the frame.  (You can cover already growing plants with cold frames, too, but you need to take into consideration the footprint of usable space.) Once in place, start by leaving the cold frame’s lid open all the way then lowering as daytime temperatures also drop.  Just make sure to monitor the weather as the plants can over-heat or fungal issues can emerge if the lid is too low on unexpectedly hot days.  I also use a weather app with notifications to make sure I get frost warnings in time to cover my delicate seedlings or pick those last tomatoes.

THE CURIOUS LIFE OF A GARLIC BULB

Of the dozens of crops I’ve grown in my backyard, there’s only one with a peculiarly long, fall-to-summer lifecycle: cultivated garlic (Allium sativum L.).  Seed garlic cloves are planted just prior to winter, then rest without rotting in frozen soil and slowly awaken during the longer, warmer days of spring.  As you may notice with your ornamental alliums or even onion grass, garlic gets going early and sends up those first green leaves as soon as the snows melt.  A few months later, you’ll be able to harvest the scapes and around July, the bulbs.  It’s a really long journey but since you don’t have to baby them like many other veggies, it’s not a lot of work and worth the wait.  Their biggest requirements are healthy, fertile soil (they’re heavy feeders) and time.  So, order yours soon as some varieties sell out quickly.  If you miss out this year, you can place your order next summer for fall 2018 shipping and planting for a summer 2019 harvest.

OVER-WINTER IS COMING

There’s one more way to maximize cool crop yields that doesn’t involve two plantings or waiting eight months to eat– that’s right, just ignore winter and keep growing straight through. Growers in our part of the country and even further north use greenhouses and high tunnels but you don’t have to get quite that farm-geeky (unless you want to!).  A few cold frames or maybe a small polytunnel can also protect your cold crops during the worst of winter.  Not all cool weather plants will make it but if you keep both seedlings and soil covered, you stand a chance with mâche or cruciferous crops such as kale and broccoli.  Plant mâche seeds in the fall and this super-slow grower will putter along until ready for harvest in March or April.  Plant crucifer seedlings (your local nursery will have suitable varieties in September or October) and if properly coddled (and with a little luck), they won’t go to seed in March but will continue their interrupted growth into spring and summer. 

In recent years, our winter temperatures and snowfall have been extraordinarily variable so it’s difficult to know exactly what to expect with your edible experiments.  The number one key to success is to cover the soil and protect it from the drying effects of cold and wind.  In addition to crop covers and cold frames, I also use straw bales as windbreaks and insulation. You can pack the outside of the cold frames with the bales and use broken-down straw from the previous season as part of the growing medium within the frame.  Some people even surround their raised beds with bricks or stones to capture a bit more of that winter sun.  And, then, before you and your plants know it, spring greens will be right around the corner.

FALL PLANTING CHECKLIST:

  • Cold-hardy seedlings and seeds for autumn
  • Cold frames or crop covers including shade cloth
  • Weather app on your smartphone
  • Loose straw and straw bales for soil and plant nourishment and protection

COOL SEASON & OVER-WINTER PLANT IDEAS:

  • Garlic bulbs for next summer harvest
  • Mâche seeds and broccoli seedlings (can overwinter if pampered)
  • Peas, radishes, lettuces, spinach, kale, short variety carrots

FURTHER READING:

Coleman, Eliot. Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Around. Chelsea Green Pub., 1999.

Engeland, Ron L. Growing Great Garlic: the Definitive Guide for Organic Gardeners and Small Farmers. Filaree Productions, 1994.

SUPPLIES:

Straw bales–ask the seller to make sure they’re okay for edible gardens. Try Benny’s Feed Barn in Bedford Hills.  Remember you want straw, not hay.

Crop covers and other suppliesTerritorial Seed Company, Growers Supply

Shade cloth– Gardeners Supply Company

Writer/backyard farmer Lori Fontanes reports for Acres USA and other agricultural publications and speaks about food, environmental and wellness issues in Westchester County.  She also serves on the City of Rye Conservation Commission/Advisory Committee and Rye Sustainability Committee.  Follow her on Twitter @LoriFontanes.

Local lemon miso dressing

Check out this light, versatile dressing from Adam Strahl of Local

 

LOCAL’s no-oil Lemon Miso dressing

1 cup organic lemon juice

1 cup sweet white miso

1 cup water

1/2 cup agave nectar

 

Whisk the ingredients together and then enjoy over greens, noodles, or roasted vegetables! Covered and chilled, the dressing can keep for up to 2 weeks.

Local brings affordable, sustainable food to Chappaqua

A cafe and ice cream shop serving both affordable and environmentally friendly food, Local of Chappaqua is not to be missed.

“We’re not in a city, we don’t have tremendous variety of restaurants with organic foods, so I deliberately didn’t want to be too foodie about things–I wanted it to serve simple, nutritious food in an interesting space by fun, good people who care. I want it to be a place where people can bring their kids and family, and I don’t want it to be too expensive—I want it to be accessible,” says owner Adam Strahl. 

As the restaurant name suggests, Strahl tries to serve organic and locally sourced food.

“In season around 80 to 90 percent of our menu is organic. Not everything on the menu is locally produced and organic—the local food supply can be unreliable, and if I didn’t expand my sourcing in the winter we’d only be able to serve parsnips and onions. However, the important things like meats, dairy products, ice cream, and salad greens are always organic. There is also produce which I always source locally—ingredients that we use in smaller quantities, such as butternut squash, tomatoes, peaches, and watermelon.”

Strahl emphasized that there are many health  and environmental benefits that come from eating local, organic food, and didn’t want people to have to sacrifice that when going out.

“If you shop organic and eat consciously, you don’t want to have to go out and say ‘If I go out I’ll have to eat something that I’m really not happy eating.’ Going out is an experience—it’s about having fun, trying new things, being in new environments, and socializing, so I don’t want people to have to sacrifice that—they shouldn’t have to make a concession.”

The name ‘Local’ also suggests more than locally sourced food—Strahl wants to make Local a place Chappaqua locals frequent.

“Local, as a name, is also like a place in town that all the locals go to. ‘The local’ generally applies to a bar, but I want it to be the local food place, a place where you can go and get an ice cream or get organic coffees and teas or get a salad or a little cup of soup—normal, everyday stuff. That’s why we serve the menu all day long–whatever you feel like eating, you can have at any time.”

The bones of the menu remain the same, but the specials and the soups and things change to reflect the seasons and what’s available.

Right now, Strahl recommends the gazpacho. 

“The gazpacho is unbelievable, it’s really of the moment, with everything that’s in season and ripe right now. So that sort of personifies everything at the moment. We also have a watermelon salad with spinach, cheese, organic watermelon, I think that’s a really great summertime dish–nice, sweet and salty.”

LOCAL is located at 75 S Greely Avenue, Chappaqua, NY, and is open 10-8 Tuesdays through Saturdays, and 10-3 on Sundays and Mondays. Stop by today!

Check out a delicious lemon miso dressing from Adam Strahl to bring a slice of Local to your own kitchen

Mimi Edelman on the Westchester Grower’s Alliance

A unique support system for Westchester farmers, the Westchester Grower’s Alliance was established five years ago by Katonah farmer Mimi Edelman. Today, Edelman serves as president along with vice president Doug DeCandia and secretary/treasurer Deb Taft.

“We create a sense of support—if one of us do well, we all do well. We strengthen and empower each other,” said Edelman.

Along with support for fellow farmers, the Alliance works on issues of local food in the area. It has partnered with local organizations such as Harvest Community as well as county legislators to work on farming and food related issues.

The alliance is now on the verge of becoming a 501(c)(3) recognized nonprofit, hoping this transition will allow it to become more engaged in policy change and education of the community. With this development, Edelman also hopes to change the makeup of the organization.

“We are now developing our board–talking to individuals who come from diverse backgrounds and bring unique skill sets. Not necessarily farmers—we’re also looking for people who come from an environmental law perspective, or an agricultural, economic perspective,” she said.

This increased exposure to the community is especially essential at a time when the farming population is dwindling in Westchester.

“We are losing young farmers. There’s no infrastructure, no financial support, no land. So when you’re starting a farm, you can’t even expect to break even for 3-5 years. That’s realistic–you’re building up the soil, you’re building up your crop list, and you’re living hand to mouth. The farmers started migrating about 3 years ago–the new farmers, they started going north, to the upper Hudson Valley. They were able to get cheaper land, longer land leases,” said Edelman.

Speaking of the dwindling farming population in Westchester is a personal subject to Edelman, who has been forced to leave her land of eight years after the passing of her landowner.

“It’s a very bittersweet departure,” she said. “As a farmer I want to live in the community I feed, and that’s very difficult for me. Agriculture is one of the lowest incomes on the spectrum of professions, yet I feel it’s the most important–it connects people to the land, and it offers them food that is enlivened and full of the benefits, whether it be color, texture, nutrition.”

Edelman hopes expanding the support system of the Westchester Grower’s alliance will help attract and maintain Westchester farmers.

“There’s a romantic part of farming, and there’s the reality of foraging through fourth day of a heat wave. So it’s gotta be in your blood, it’s gotta be in your DNA. And if you have a support system around you, you might have a better chance than if you’re out there alone in your field.”

Despite all the challenges, Mimi has remained devoted to farming and plans on continuing it in her new land, on the North Fork.

“If you’re passionate about something, when you love something, it gives you that perseverance, if it’s something that doesn’t resonate with you in your heart and your soul it’s just going to feel like a chore.”

Social media and a website for the Westchester Grower’s Alliance is coming soon. Click here to read more about getting to know your local farmers and supporting their life-sustaining work!