Great Healthy Yard at Bedford Garden Club

Diane Lewis is the founder of the Great Healthy Yard Project. It’s a book, a website, and a campaign, all focused on helping everyone understand the impact toxic pesticides have on our soil and water and identifying safe and healthy alternatives.

Diane will be hosted by the Bedford Garden Club on November 19 at 7pm where she’ll speak about the urgent need to protect our drinking water. She’ll also have copies of her book. Wine & cheese reception to follow!

November 19th at 7pm at the Bedford Garden Club

KVIS Forum: What is Health?

KatonahInspired_HealthForum_flyer_10-08-14_PRINT (1)On Monday, November 10th, from 7pm-9pm at Katonah Village Library, join is at KVIS’ “What is Health?” Forum featuring a panel of local health experts discussing Holistic Health, Preventative and more.

And be sure to stop by the B 2020 table, to learn all about The Great Healthy Yard Project and what we can do our own backyards to protect the health of our local drinking water.

Energize Bedford Tabling Event

Market TablingBedford 2020 will be showcasing our landmark Energize Bedford program at the John Jay Homestead Farmer Market. Visit our table — and learn how to save on home heating costs, and make your home extra warm and comfortable this winter!

Katonah Sidewalk Celebration

Sidewalk SamuraiOn Sunday, October 19th, Bedford 2020 is joining forces with the Katonah Museum of Art, KVIS—The Katonah Village Improvement Society, and the Katonah Chamber of Commerce as we all celebrate the opening of a new sidewalk connecting the village to the Museum.

This event has literally been years in the making as all community organizations have waited with patient hope for this new sidewalk to be made. Now you can explore even more of Katonah on foot, or even invite friends to visit by train and walk over to meet you at the museum!

Former and current Town Supervisors, Lee Roberts and Chris Burdick, wil be on hand to lead the ceremonies. The schedule of events looks like this:

  • 10:30am: Family Mask Making, Katonah Commuter Lot #1
    11:45am: Parade from Town to the Museum
    Noon – 5pm: Activities at KMA (and don’t forget to stop by the Bedford 2020 table!)

Planting For Fall

CarrotsNow’s a great time to plant something wonderful to enjoy in the fall. In Bedford, early summer crops have finished, leaving open space in the garden for a new crop. Interestingly, fall gardening is often easier since there are less pests and problems in cooler weather.

Here are some tips on planting veggies for fall:

  • Cool down soil for a few days by shading and moistening.
  • In choosing what to plant, allow time for plants to grow and mature before the first frost comes. Select seeds and plants by counting back from the anticipated first frost date (in Westchester that’s October 20th to 30th).  Add a bit of extra time because days will be getting shorter and cooler as fall plants mature.
  • Some suggestions for late-July and early-August planting in Bedford include: arugula, beets, carrots, kale, scallions and swiss chard.

Happy fall planting this weekend! Check back with us in a few weeks for recipe ideas for your September and October harvest.

Hilltop Hanover Farm

HilltopHanover_optRight in Bedford’s back yard sits a gorgeous working farm and agricultural center, open to the public for hiking and picnicking, offering classes and seminars, and featuring amazing produce through its CSA shares, farm stand market, and U-pick hours. No, we’re not talking about that place in Pocantico Hills (though that’s a mighty nice farm, too) — we’re talking about Hilltop Hanover Farm, just 10 minutes to the west in Yorktown Heights.

Once a dairy farm that can date itself back to the 17th century, Hilltop Hanover is now a hub of activity devoted to serving as a sustainable food producer and a training center for small-scale farmers and aspirants.

Beyond that, Hilltop models all sorts of sustainable activity and learning, including rainwater harvesting and green-roof technology.

If that makes Hilltop Hanover sound like a serious place, sort of like an outdoor library, push that notion aside. The farm is bursting with fun and activity and, on any given day, it’s a riot of noisy animals and people playing around and enjoying the bucolic idyll. In the next week alone, you can browse the farm, meet the animals, take a cheese-making class, learn canning techniques, work with wool, and even join a couples cooking class.

For these events and plenty more information, visit Hilltop Hanover Farm’s website. Better yet, just pop over to see it for yourself. The farm is open from 10am to 4pm, Tuesdays through Saturdays.

Don’t forget to tell them: Bedford 2020 sent you!

PS: If you go over to Hilltop this week or next, you’ll probably find fennel at the farm stand — it’s featured in their CSA offering for the week. Check out our Cold Fennel Soup recipe here.

Cold Fennel Soup

Cold-Fennel-SoupOne of the best parts of summer is cold soup. No, not soup that’s *gone* cold. We’re talking about soup that’s fresh, right from the garden (or farmers market), and made to cool you down when the heat of summer is at its peak.

The best known cold soup is probably gazpacho, but many fruits and vegetables lend themselves to chilly treatment. This week’s recipe stars fennel, which you should be seeing in the markets and which is featured in Hilltop Hanover Farm’s CSA basket this week. (You can read our profile of Hilltop Hanover here.)

We found this recipe from our always-reliable kitchen friend, Mark Bittman. (Okay, he’s not really our friend, but we like to think he’s looking over our shoulder with words of encouragement and approving glances.)

You’ll need fennel (of course), and also an onion and some butter. And, for liquid, either stock or water. We made this with water and it didn’t diminish the depth of flavor at all. Finally, for looks as well as a flavor boost, the recipe suggests a chopped herb for garnish; in this case, chervil.

Preparation

Sauté 1 1/2 pounds trimmed and chopped fennel and 1 peeled and chopped onion in 2 tablespoons butter to soften, about 5 minutes. Add 5 cups stock or water; boil, cover, lower the heat and simmer until fennel is tender, about 15 minutes. Cool slightly, purée, strain and refrigerate. Garnish: Chopped chervil.

Yum!

Asparagus Pesto

Pesto IngredientsThere are two keys to eating healthy, fresh food at home with minimal effort. The first is to shop for fewer items, more frequently, so that you’re not either throwing away fresh produce you didn’t prepare soon enough or simply opting for canned, processed food that will sit on a shelf forever.

The second key is to turn those fresh ingredients into something handy that can sit in the fridge for a few weeks and be added to simple preparations to give them intense flavor and appeal. This asparagus pesto is perfect for just that.

Make a quart of this and it’ll keep for up to two weeks (though you may go through it a lot sooner!) It’ll go great on a sandwich, or as a sauce for meat or fish, or works beautifully in a classic dish: on pasta. At TABLE, the asparagus pesto finds its way onto a goat cheese sandwich with fresh greens, as well in a chicken salad made with fresh herbs and yogurt. And the peak season for this pesto is right now — while asparagus is in peak season.

 

Asparagus pesto, 1 quart yield

  • 2 bunches asparagus
  • 2 cups olive oil
  • 1 cup Parmesan
  • 1/8th cup capers
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 anchovy fillet
  • 1/2 bunch parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste

1. Chop asparagus into small pieces

2. Grate Parmesan

3. Chop garlic

4. Chop parsley

Add all ingredients into the food processor, and blend. Add the olive oil last, and taste before adding salt and pepper to finish. Stays fresh in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Yes, it really is THAT simple.

The Dirt On Soil

Getting started on a veggie garden this Mother’s Day weekend? Whether you’re planting a full bed or a single container, don’t forget that good soil is job one! Read on for soil preparation tips including what to “feed” your soil, info on soil here in Bedford, and even how to take your soil’s temperature!

Dig-in: Start by digging the soil and turning it well to loosen it up. This can be done with a digging fork or a rototiller but be careful not to over rototill as that can cause problems with drainage. As you turn the soil, loosen clumps of dirt and remove stones and gravel.

Add compost: Soil structure is essential. The most important thing you can add to your garden is organic compost. Spreading a 3” layer of good compost will add microorganisms and nutrients to your garden along with encouraging earthworms and the growth of good bacteria. They will do most of the work in your garden to break down the minerals and natural chemicals in your soil and allow the plants to take them up through their roots.

What kind of soil do I have? If you want to improve your soil and make it more suitable for your vegetable garden, you first have to figure out what you’re dealing with. Is your soil sandy or clay-based? Is it too acidic or too alkaline? The way to answer these questions is to test your soil. There are do-it-yourself tests you can purchase at garden stores. If your soil is too acidic, you need to add alkaline material, such as ground limestone. For soil that is too alkaline, you need to add something that is acidic.

Is my soil ready? To know when to plant, you can actually take your soil’s temperature! Soil — not air — temperature is the trigger for seed germination. Different soil temperatures bring different results. Most cool-loving garden vegetables — such as lettuces, spinach, radishes and arugula – germinate when the soil reaches an average 45 degrees.  Seeds for warm-loving plants – such as tomatoes, squash, beans, peppers and eggplant — wait until typical temperatures are 55 F. You can purchase an inexpensive metal probe thermometer at most garden stores.

What to plant now: We’ve already tested the soil in Bedford. It’s generally acidic and ready for cool-loving seeds and plants! For this Mother’s Day weekend, why not plant some fast-growing lettuce mixes, endive or spinach. You’ll be enjoying the fruits (or the in this case delicious leaves) of your labor by the end of the month!

 

Spring Vegetable Salad

The most satisfying dishes are often those which begin with the best ingredients and then treat them simply, with tender loving care.  This salad harmonizes those tender, wonderful first offerings of the gardens in our area in a seemingly simple yet elegant explosion of flavor and texture.  You’ll see, for example, asparagus in this salad, from Gaia’s Breath farm.  Asparagus is just arriving, so you know spring is here!

Veg Salad Photo

Jennifer and James Vellano, of Maison-PrivĂ©, put this salad together to represent the very best of local farms, so you’ll see those farms named in the recipe.  We’d love it if you sought all these farmers out at your local farmers markets (in Mount Kisco or Gossett’s Nursery) but you can of course find excellent ingredients locally from the sources of your choice.

You’ll also note that James and Jennifer bring an extraordinary level of attention and technique to how they prepare this dish.  We encourage you to channel your inner Thomas Keller and follow these directions to the letter (including preparing your egg yolks with a Sous Vide machine!) but we’re pretty sure you’re going to love it no matter how careful you are.

Here’s an idea: prepare it your way, then visit the Maison-PrivĂ© tasting room sometime soon, and have Jennifer and James make it for you — compare and contrast!

So, here’s what you’ll need:

Early Spring Vegetable Salad (yields 6)

  • Amawalk Farm Carrots, 1 bunch
  • Riverbank Farm Potatoes, 10-12 small pieces
  • Gaia’s Breath Farm Asparagus, 1 bunch
  • Spring Garlic, 2 pieces
  • Abilis Microgreens, trimmed by hand
  • John Boy’s Farm Eggs, 6 yolks
  • Horseradish, freshly grated, 1/4 teaspoon
  • Lemon Infused Oil
  • Champagne Vinegar
  • Alder Smoked Salt
  • Cracked Black Pepper

For the Vegetables:

Peel and trim the carrots, toss in olive oil, salt, pepper and grill until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Boil the potatoes until tender (but not mushy) with the skins on.

Once cooked, remove and place in ice water for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, dry them off and split them in half.  Rub gently with olive oil, salt and pepper, and grill.

Separate the tips of the asparagus from the stems.  Place the tips in salted, boiling water for 1 minute and then drop into ice water.  

For the Vinaigrette:

Place the stems of the asparagus and the spring garlic into salted, boiling water for 5 minutes and then drop into ice water.

After the stems and garlic are chilled, remove from the ice and place in a blender. Add 1 teaspoon dijon mustard, 1/4 teaspoon horseradish, 1 cup lemon infused oil and 1/3 cup champagne vinegar. 

Blend well, add salt and pepper to taste.  Thin with water if necessary.

Here’s a Fancy Bit:

Jennifer and James Sous Vide their egg yolks.  This produces an extraordinary yolk which, once you’ve had it, you’ll never stop thinking about it.  And, in fact, Sous Vide machines are increasingly common in home kitchens.  This salad is still spectacular with a poached egg, but if you want to know the Vellano’s Sous Vide preparation, here it is:

Set up the Sous Vide Machine to 64 degrees Celsius.  Once the temperature has been reached, place a shallow metal pan over the water and fill with olive oil (the pan should be half-way submerged in the water.  Drop the egg yolks (carefully) into the olive oil.  After one hour, gently remove the yolks with a slotted spoon and place on top of the salad.  Season with salt and pepper.

Assemble the salad with the grilled carrots, potatoes, asparagus tips and Abilis Microgreens.  Dress lightly with the asparagus vinaigrette.