Food Rescue and Sharing Organizations

Community Center of Northern Westchester

Accepting donations when open. Website
84 Bedford Road, Katonah
Phone: 914 232 6572
TUESDAY-FRIDAY 10-4:00

 

The Mount Kisco InterFaith Food Pantry

How to Help
The United Methodist Church of Mount Kisco, 300 East Main Street (at the corner of Smith Avenue)
Phone: 914-610-5187
Tuesday – 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.; Wednesday – 9:30 – 11:00 a.m.

 

Sharing Works and Harvest Community Project

Distributing fresh produce 1st/2nd Saturday in August thru the last Saturday in October.  at Antioch Baptist Church, Bedford Hills

Contact Wendy Webb-Weber about how to donate produce and for more information. Or contact Antioch Baptist Church, Rev. Merle D. McJunkin, Pastor- Telephone: 914-241-0189 or via Email.

 

Please email Bedford 2020 if you would like to share information about other local food rescue and sharing organizations here.

Sweet Potato Egg Bake

A Sweet Potato Egg Bake will work perfectly with local eggs and leftover sweet potatoes mixed up as a mash with bacon, cheese an herbs (mash recipe below). Put the mash in a ramekin and top with an egg. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes. Great way to avoid wasting those delicious leftover sweet potatoes.

Black Green Friday

Pound Ridge Organics has set up an Ask the Chef Thanksgiving Leftover Hotline Friday November 24, 2017, to assist the Bedford 2020 community with creative meal planning with your holiday leftovers! Phone lines will be open from 10:00-4:00 (914) 764-3006 or email off-hours – they will respond to every inquiry in a timely manner.

 Visit Baker Bettie for more Thanksgiving leftover ideas.
Click here for more information about Pound Ridge Organics and their delicious local eggs.

 

Pound Ridge Organics

Photo credit ©Elaine Lloyd for Pound Ridge Organics This is one of Donna’s favorite photos taken at Pound Ridge Organics Co-Op outside the hen house/nursery. “These are a rare breed indeed ‘French Black Copper Marans’. They have feathered feet that look like slippers and the hens lay dark chocolate brown eggs. They are super sweet birds and good layers. This will fascinate you — the chicks in the photo were six weeks old. If they were industrial birds – they would be heading to slaughter. This photo is a perfect example of the problem with the poultry industry. At 4 – 6 weeks (slaughter age on CAFOs) heritage birds are still tiny little babies that can fit in the palm of your hand.”

Pound Ridge Organics Co-Op provides everything from 100% pastured meats, organic local produce, pies and desserts – to bees wax candles and locally produced eco-friendly laundry detergent. However, their “number one product” is eggs, which are 100% heritage, organic, animal welfare approved and certified humane.

Healthy Heritage Chickens

Owner Donna Simons currently runs the only hatchery in the northeast specializing in standard breed chickens. While caring for heritage birds requires much more patience and input from the farmer, many believe it’s worth it since it results in birds that are active, healthy, proportional, spry and live long productive lives – and they produce great eggs!

These heritage birds are drastically different from the chickens most commonly used by commercial farms. Chickens from C.A.F.O.s (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) experience unnaturally rapid growth rate and disproportional size, reaching adult weight in only six weeks, while heritage chickens take four times as long. Furthermore, Simons refuses to use artificial light and heat in the barns to increase winter egg production, like commercial operations do, because it is disruptive to the bird’s natural molting process and reduces the amount of eggs each hen will produce over her lifetime.

“People are fearful about what’s in their food and daunted by the misleading labels on egg cartons, like: ‘cage free’, ‘free range’, ‘natural’ and ‘fed a vegetarian diet’. The latter is the most absurd since chickens are not vegetarians – they are omnivores. During my classes off site and on my farm, I teach how to decipher labels and how to shop. Of all the roles I play, I think that’s the most important one.” – Donna Simons

Good Eggs

Simons’ patient processes, vast outdoor living space for natural foraging, and a nutritious, diverse, organic diet (that includes Simons’s home-made immune boosting probiotic supplements), create eggs that have deep yellow yolks and exceptional taste. “Pound Ridge Organics eggs get incredible reviews,” said Simons. “Folks come up from Manhattan to buy my eggs and say they’re better than anything they’ve tasted at Union Square Market.” I’m not surprised because of what goes into them.”

Pound Ridge Organics eggs were given an ‘A’ rating from the California based consumer group, BuyingPoultry.com and is one of only thirty-two farms in NYS included in the ASPCA ‘Shop with Your Heart’ program.

Chicken Connection

By raising chickens with patience, Simons has cultivated deeply personal relationships with her chickens and has learned much about their social habits. Because the hens are not slaughtered when they stop laying eggs, the older birds are around to teach the younger ones things like where to hide, how to bathe and what to eat.

Simons has also picked up some chicken vocabulary and claims, “I do speak chicken, by the way.” According to Simons, “Adult birds make a high-pitched chirping sound to inform the younger birds that there is something they should eat. Their language is so sophisticated that they actually have different calls to warn others about ground predators as opposed to predators from the sky.” She goes on to explain, “My alpha male even has a five-syllable name for me. It’s fascinating to hear and witness — they have an incredible vocabulary.”

Human Connection

Simons emphasizes that her mission does not end with food and ethical animal husbandry, but human welfare as well. “Everyone along the food chain, especially the farmers, should be treated humanely, have safe working conditions, and be paid fairly for their product so they can support their families,” says Simons. She strongly believes that all of her work on her farm and through the organizations she works with interconnects and the benefits can be experienced in the food she provides the community. “Ethically produced food has immense benefits for humans, animals and the environment and needless to say, contains more nutrients and tastes better.”

Shop Local!

To purchase Simon’s beautiful eggs through her co-op, contact poundridgeorganics@icloud.com and visit her website, www.poundridgeorganics.com

Pound Ridge Organics has set up a complimentary ‘Ask The Chef’ hotline this Friday November 24th to assist the Bedford 2020 community with creative meal planning using all of your Thanksgiving leftovers. Phone lines will be open from 10:00-4:00 (914) 764-3006 or email off-hours to PoundRidgeOrganics@iCloud.com – they will respond to every inquiry in a timely manner.

Donna Simons, Owner, Pound Ridge Organics

More About Pound Ridge Organics and Donna Simons

Simons has been recognized for her work in animal welfare—Pound Ridge Organics is the first and only farm in Westchester to receive Animal Welfare Approval, the highest environmental and ethical standard possible for livestock. She is a frequent presenter at conferences that focus on clean food, animal welfare, and environmental preservation including: NOFA, Northeast Organic Farming Association, Farm Forward, Isabella Freedman Environmental Center, and Slow Food.

Simons also serves as chairman of Slow Food Metro North, the Westchester/Putnam and Fairfield Counties branch of Slow Food USA, which focuses on education and programming related to food practices that are ‘Good, Clean and Fair.’

For more information on ethical farming practices and a healthy local food system, Donna recommends you visit:

Falling For You… Leaves are a Great Resource

Stop!

Why rake or use noisy, air polluting leaf blowers to get rid of leaves when you don’t have to? Why spend money on mulch and fertilizer when you can make your own out of those same leaves?

Chop!

When chopped up by your lawnmower, or by a designated leaf-mulching mower, leaves will fertilize the soil as they break down.

Any lawnmower can do the job. It is recommended that you cut the lawn no shorter than 3 inches, and just mow over your leaf-filled yard a few times during the season.

Soil!

If you just can’t stand the look of mulched leaves, or feel that your leaf-mulch cover is too thick on your lawn, then you can add mulched leaves into garden beds, flower beds, or around trees by raking them – or by using a bag on your mower to collect them.

Want to reclaim an area of your yard with poor soil? Cover it with leaves and let them sit all winter. By the spring the bottom of the leaf pile will be converted into rich soil, and you can use the middle and top layers as mulch, or dig that great material into garden beds as a soil amendment.

Less Leaf Blowing!

While you are leaving your leaves on your lawn, you are also cutting down on the use and gas powered leaf blowers, a huge health hazard and noise polluting nuisance.  Click here to see the new Town of Bedford flyer about leaf blowers.

For more information visit Leave Leaves Alone where you can learn more about leaf mulching and the damaging impact leaf blowers have on our health and our community.

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

Hilltop Hanover CSA

Looking to try some new produce with exceptional taste and nutritional value? Marianna Fishman, Hilltop Hanover farmer and coordinator of adult programs, promises joining a CSA will provide you with these experiences and more.

 

A CSA, short for “Community Supported Agriculture” is a program which allows customers who pay upfront for a farmer’s whole season in exchange for receiving fresh produce weekly. Most CSAs run from June to October or November. 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,” said Marianna, 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.”

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!