The Whitlock

At the end of Katonah Avenue lies a restaurant filled with rich history, delicious food, and a sustainable promise. Two years after opening, the Whitlock continues to create a neighborhood community—from serving guests on a sun-lit patio to gathering family and friends on a night out.

 

The Whitlock prides itself on “utilizing fresh ingredients and supporting local farms,” which include everything from Captain Lawrence Brewing Company in Elmsford, NY to Hilltop Hanover Farm in Yorktown Heights, NY to Longfords Own Make Ice Cream in Rye, NY. I had the privilege of speaking to half of the husband-wife team who runs the restaurant, Christina Safarowick.

 

One of the focuses of the neighborhood bistro is bringing a hyper-local experience to the community, which “immediately impacts our surroundings by supporting local business.” That means working and collaborating with a lot of vendors throughout Westchester. Even in the colder months, the Whitlock utilizes ingredients grown in the area. Christina explains, “many farms have now instituted greenhouses where they are able to push into the winter and still provide for us.” Because of this, the menu “definitely changes and is by availability.” For ingredients like meat and seafood, the Safarowicks prefer to buy from smaller businesses in the area, like their meat vendor who lives in Somers.

But, how does ordering for a hyper-local restaurant actually work? Christina explains that “in the beginning we created relationships by going to the farmers’ markets.” After establishing these friendly relationships, “the farms send an email to us at the beginning of the week letting us know what they have, and we’ll simply reply saying ‘we’ll take x, y, and z,’ and it’s there the very next day for us to use.”

 

After asking Christina about current local items on the menu, she excitedly mentioned a roasted sunchoke appetizer and their “heirloom tomato and burrata panzanella salad that uses local tomatoes.” Additionally, they do specials every night—”that’s where you’ll get the produce that came in that week.”

 

You can check out the Whitlock Tuesday through Sunday at 17 Katonah Avenue in Katonah, NY!

 

 

A Year of Meatless Monday Recipes Feature Local, Seasonal Food

One year ago Bedford 2020 was in the midst of a Meatless Monday campaign to raise awareness about the connection between food and climate change. Even though that campaign has ended, we are happy to hear that many people continue to participate, and we are still hearing about its influence.

Bedford 2020 encouraged people to reduce their weekly meat consumption over a 12-week period because plant-based eating has a lower carbon footprint than eating meat. After the campaign, we reported the results back to the community – participating households, by skipping meat one day a week, saved the carbon equivalent of driving 56,113 less car miles! With these results, many people learned that eating less meat could be an important tool to combat climate change.

During the campaign, restaurant and business partners put up posters, promoted Meatless Monday on their social media platforms, and created additional vegetarian menu items. Similarly, Pound Ridge Organics signed on as a partner, and has continued their Meatless Monday efforts well beyond the 12-week campaign.

60 Meatless Monday Local Food Recipes

From the time of its inception in 2009, Pound Ridge Organics, a certified humane farm, organic food co-op and market, has encouraged members to go meatless one day a week. Pound Ridge Organics owner, farmer and chef Donna Simons signed her farm on as a Meatless Monday partner at the Bedford 2020 Climate Action Summit in 2018. Donna agreed not only to continue to encourage her readers to go meatless at least one day a week, but also committed to distributing weekly seasonally-inspired meatless recipes featuring locally sourced ingredients that she would make available in her market. 

Over sixty recipes later, Pound Ridge Organics’ robust readership is not only reducing their meat consumption (at least) one day a week, but also thinking seasonally and locally. Donna says “I feel an even greater connection with my Co-Op members and subscribers by helping them to break out of their comfort zone, try new and unfamiliar ingredients, and feel at ease and empowered in their own kitchens.” She says “preparing food should be as enjoyable as eating it” and she tries to impart that spirit in her weekly recipes.

Some recipes from her Donna’s winter collection include: Roasted Portobello Mushrooms Stuffed With Crispy Goat Cheese, Smoked Trout With Green Apple Horseradish Cream, Potato Apple Soup, and Lithuanian Borscht Soup.

Buying Local Food in Winter

While Meatless Mondays is just one way to reduce one’s carbon “foodprint” – it is a good first step to understanding the complexities of the food-climate connection.

© Donna Simons – Pound Ridge Organics

The next step, also promoted by Donna’s recipes, is to eat local food as much as possible. From avoiding the deleterious effects of industrial-sized livestock operations (CAFOs) to cutting down on “food miles” our food travels from farm to plate, eating local can reduce your carbon footprint.

Go Local for Fruits, Vegetables and Grains

Donna encourages, “local seasonal ingredients are tastier than those that sit on a semi-truck traveling 3,000 miles (organic or not).” Local food produced on sustainable small farms has a smaller carbon footprint, it is more nutritious, and your purchases support our local food system and economy.

This time of year in addition to local meat, eggs and cheese, you may find at your local farm market:

  • Squash, potatoes, various root vegetables, and apples from the fall harvest
  • Greenhouse grown salad greens, spinach, pea shoots, mushrooms
  • Seafood and shellfish
  • Breads and baked goods
  • Honey, preserves, salsas and sauces, and local cider and wine

Go Local for “Better Meat – Less Often

© Donna Simons – Pound Ridge Organics

Eating local and sustainably raised meat goes a long way to reducing your carbon footprint as well.  When you do choose to eat animals and animal products, buy local, grass-fed meat, local eggs and cheese, and sustainably and ethically raised poultry – and buy only what you will consume.

Donna Simons is also the leader of Slow Food Metro North, a chapter of the international Slow Food Movement. She proffers, “100% pastured meat from small, organic, local, high welfare farms will be more expensive than mass produced feed-lot meat, so I always recommend buying better meat and consuming it less often as a way to be kinder to our wallets, bodies and the environment.”

Try your local farm market, farm stand, or check out Pound Ridge Organics!

Learn For Yourself

Pound Ridge Organics Teaching Kitchen will begin offering classes in just a few weeks. April’s theme is ‘Starting From The Ground Up’ and will focus on the relationship between food and the earth as well as facilitating foundation kitchen skills for the beginner as well as experienced cooks. April’s sessions will include: Making Your Own Indoor Worm Composters; Knife Care & Skills; Basics Of Broths & Stocks; Feed Lot VS Pastured Meats; How To Make Home-Made Beverages And Cocktail Mixers and a Special Earth Day Tribute with a very special guest.

The schedule will be posted on  the website: Pound Ridge Organics, where you can also subscribe to the Pound Ridge Organics newsletter. You can learn more by following Pound Ridge Organics on Instagram and Facebook

Grow Your Own

Read about how one beginner gardener has ventured to grow food indoors this winter.

Cabbage Hill Farm

As Mark Bittman explained at the Bedford 2020 Food Forum, if you want to do something about climate change, “eat less meat, and eat better meat.”  What Bittman meant by better meat – organic, local, sustainably and humanely raised, hormone and antibiotic free – is exactly what the Cabbage Hill Farm Foundation’s mission is all about.

Cabbage Hill Farm Foundation, a nonprofit located on a hillside near Mount Kisco, is a well-known NOFA-pledged organic farm committed to sustainable agriculture, raising rare historic and heritage livestock, and aquaponics.

The farm land is forever preserved by a conservation easement donated to Westchester Land Trust by Nancy and Jerry Kohlberg. The conservation easement enables agriculture to continue on 70 acres, protects environmental features on the land, and ensures the property will not be further subdivided.

Buy local, seek out sustainable, check out Cabbage Hill products! Sustainable, local agriculture results in a smaller carbon footprint, less pollution, supports sustainable food systems, and also produces delicious food.

Where to Find Products

John Jay Homestead Farm Market

Farm Market

You will find Cabbage Hill Farm organic and sustainably raised produce and meats, including beef, pork,lamb, poultry and fish, every Saturday through October at the John Jay Homestead Farm Market from 10am-2pm.

Local Purveyors

Click here for the restaurants, markets and institutions, including at Truck, 273 kitchen, and Mount Kisco Seafood, where you will also find Cabbage Hill Farm products. On the same page you will find a bonus list of 10 reasons to buy local food.

Cabbage Hill Meat Box Subscription (no-commmitment)

Cabbage Hill Farm will continue to sell their meats and fish through their weekly winter no-commitment meat box. Just sign up to get their email at the beginning of each week describing what will be included in that week’s box. If you would like to purchase the box, all you have to do is respond via email and pickup on Saturday between 10am-12pm. The box contains an assortment of Cabbage Hill Farm beef, pork, lamb, and occasionally smoked trout. The price usually ranges from $75-$90 and they also have an assortment of produce available at pickup. To sign up for the meat box or for more information about the meat box, contact Cabbage Hill Farm here.

Local Food is all Around!

Farmers are growing fruits and vegetables, keeping bees, raising livestock, and tapping maple trees all around us.  Bedford 2020 has compiled a map of nearby farms and where they sell their produce to encourage you to buy local food!

Why buy local food? Buying local food supports the existence of local agriculture and supports our local economy. Food from these small farms is often better for the environment than food that travels long distances from giant agricultural operations. Food that is fresh and in season is good for you.  Finally, there is something amazing about the holistic experience of buying food directly from the farm or the farmer who grew it for you. So, buy local food!

Local Farm Map and List of Where to Buy Their Produce. The map and list below are color coded to help you understand where to buy produce from these farms:

Blue indicates you can buy at the farm because these farms that either sell their produce at a farm stand at or near the farm, through a CSA,* or offer U-Pick on the farm.
Brown indicates farms that distribute off-site to local establishments like restaurants or food markets.**
Green is for farmers markets that bring local farmers and artisans to a central location once a week to sell their produce and products.

If you have more accurate information that what we have here, please let us know and we will update this before we print it and create the interactive version on our website.

title-localfarms

Farms with Local
Farm Stands & CSAs

Amato Farm
121 Route 100, Katonah. Farm stand. AmatoFarm.com

E.B.’s Golden Harvest
Yorktown Heights. CSA, local markets. (914) 962-5666

Fable Farm
1311 Kitchawan Road, Ossining, CSA; Open to the public summer and fall Sat. and Sun. 9am-4pm. FableFoods.com

Farmer and the Fish
100 Titicus Road, North Salem. CSA, Farm stand: daily 10am–8pm, Sun. 10am–4:30pm. FarmerAndTheFish.com

Glynwood Farm
Cold Spring (not shown on map). CSA, Farm store: Tue. & Fri. 3pm–6pm, Sat. 9am–1pm, May–Oct. Glynwood.org

Harvest Moon Farm and Orchard
130 Hardscrabble Rd., North Salem. CSA, farm store: daily, 8am–6pm. HarvestMoonFarmandOrchard.com

Hemlock Hill Farm
500 Croton Ave., Cortlandt Manor. Local restaurants, Farm Store: daily 9am–5:30pm, Sun. 9am–2pm, year round. HemlockHillFarm.com

Hilltop Hanover Farm
1271 Hanover St., Yorktown Heights. CSA, U-Pick, Farm Stand: Sat. 10am–4pm. Farm stand: Fri. 1pm–6pm, Sat. 10am–4pm, June–Nov. HilltopHanoverFarm.org

John Boy’s Farm Outpost
John Boy’s farm is located up in Cambridge, NY, but he sells his products, local meats, and produce at The Outpost at 1 Court Rd. in Bedford Village.

Long Haul Farm
Garrison. CSA. LongHaulFarm

Meadows Farm
329 Underhill Ave., Yorktown Heights. Farm stand: daily 9am–6pm, Sun. 9am–5pm, May–Oct. MeadowsFarmMarket.com

Mill Pond Farm
121 Stone Hill Rd., Pound Ridge. Farm stand: daily.

Pound Ridge Organics
Route 124., Pound Ridge. Micro Farm, Organic Food CoOp; Member pick up Saturdays 12-2 (times may vary). Open year ’round. To join or visit call 914-764-3006 Pound Ridge Organics 

Rochambeau Farm
214 W. Patent Rd., Mt. Kisco. Farm stand: Thu. & Fri. 9am–6pm, Sat. 9am–5pm, Sun. 10am–4pm., seasonal. RochambeauFarmNY.com

Ryder Farm
400 Starr Ridge Rd., Brewster. Local markets, CSA, farm stand. RyderFarmOrganic.com

Salinger’s Orchard
230 Guinea Road, Brewster. Farm stand: 9am–5:30pm daily. SalingersOrchard.com

Snow Hill Farm
North Salem. Local markets, CSA. SnowHillOrganicFarm.com

Stone Barns
Pocantico Hills (not shown on map). CSA, Farm Stand: Sun. 10am–4pm, seasonal. StoneBarnesCenter.org

Stuart’s Fruit Farm
62 Granite Springs Rd., Granite Springs. U-Pick in fall, Farm stand: 9am–6pm daily. StuartsFarm.com

Thompson’s Cider Mill
335 Blinn Rd., Croton-on-Hudson. Farm store: Sat. & Sun. 10am–5:30pm, Sept.–Nov. ThompsonsCiderMill.com

Three Feathers Farm
371 Smith Ridge Rd., South Salem. Gossett Brothers Farmers Market, Farm stand: daily 7am–6pm. ThreeFeathersFarm

White Oak Farm
680 Croton Lake Rd., Yorktown Heights. Farm store: daily. WhiteOakFarm1.com

Wilkens Fruit and Fir Farm
1335 White Hill Rd., Yorktown. U-Pick: 10am–4:30pm. Farm market: 10am–5pm, Sept.–Dec. WilkensFarm.com

Farms that Sell and
Distribute Off-Site

Amawalk Farm
Katonah. Supplies John Jay Homestead Farmers Market. amawalkfarm.org

Amba Farms
Bedford Hills. Supplies Bedford Hills Farmers Market. AmbaFarms.com

Cabbage Hill Farm
Mt. Kisco. Supplies John Jay Homestead Farmers Market. CabbageHillFarm.org

I & Me Farms
Bedford Hills. Supplies area restaurants.

JD Farms
North Salem. Supplies John Jay Homestead Farmers Market. JDFarms.com

Kitchawan Farm
Yorktown.

Mobius Fields
Katonah. Supplies John Jay Homestead Farmers Market. MobiusFields.com

Muscoot Farm
Katonah. MuscootFarm.org

Sugar Hill Farm
Bedford Hills. WestchesterLandTrust.org

Sundial Farm
Ossining.

title-farmersmarkets

John Jay Homestead Farmers Market
400 Jay St., Katonah. Sat. 9am–1pm, June–Nov. JohnJayHomestead.org

Muscoot Farmers Market 
51 Route 100, Katonah. Sun 10am–3pm, June–Oct. MuscootFarm.org

Chappaqua Farmers Market
Sat. 8:30am–1pm, year round. ChappaquaFarmersMarket

Croton-on-Hudson Farmers Market
1 Croton Point Ave. Sun. 9:00am–2pm, May-Nov. DowntoEarthMarkets/Croton

Gossett Brothers Farmers Market
1202 Route 35, South Salem. Sat. 9am–1pm, year round. GossettBrothers

Hudson Valley Regional Farmers Market
Brewster. Sun. 10am–2pm, year round. HudsonValleyRegional

Ossining Farmers Market 
140 Main St., Ossining. Sat 8:30am–1pm, June–Dec 27. DowntoEarthMarkets/Ossining

Pleasantville Farmers Market 
Summer: Memorial Plaza, Pleasantville. Sat. 8:30am–1pm, April–Nov. Winter:  Pleasantville Middle School Cafeteria, 40 Romer Avenue, 9am-1pm. PleasantvilleFarmersMarket.org

Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow (TaSH) Farmers Market 
Patriot’s Park, Sleepy Hollow. Sun. 8:30am–2pm, June–Nov 19. TashFarmersMarket.org

We hope this map encourages you to get out there and meet your local farmers, frequent some farm stands,  check out the local farmers’ markets, and buy local food!

 *CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture in which people sign up to buy a share of the farm’s harvest over a specific period of time in the future so that farmers may better plan for the season ahead.

**We have not listed local restaurants and establishments that sell produce from these farms on this map, but on the website version of this map/list we will provide links to farm websites so that you may look into where they distribute their produce.

Snow Hill Farm

Down a gravel driveway lined with trees through the green iron gate lie the beautiful hills of Snow Hill Farm in North Salem, NY. This picturesque setting is home to certified Black Angus cattle, chickens, Dorset sheep, Berkshire pigs, beehives, and two Maremma sheepherding dogs, along with several beautiful produce gardens. If you care about healthy, sustainably grown food, this farm is exactly the kind of place where you want your food to be grown! Snow Hill Farm is certified organic by both NOFA-NY and NOFA-CT. Not only does the farm raise healthy livestock, but it also produces delicious and organic produce available for sale in our area. 

Snow Hill Farm also partners with InterGenerate and Camp Morty to supply them with certified organic produce. Camp Morty hosts children from homeless shelters, in foster care, or on public assistance at a traditional summer camp experience. Each week both organizations pick up produce grown in the Snow Hill Farm gardens. Camp Morty recently used Snow Hill Farm zucchinis in a recipe to teach their campers a great way to enjoy vegetables.

Because they are certified organic, Snow Hill farm uses interesting techniques in its gardens to address insects without using pesticides or chemicals. We asked their farmer for a tip for our readers and she said, to prevent crickets from eating pepper plants, the farm cuts the bottoms out of plastic cups and place them over immature plant stems. Once the stems grow thick enough, the crickets will leave them alone.

If you are interested in products from Snow Hill Farm, you can sign up for their monthly newsletter and weekly emails to be notified about what produce, eggs, or proteins are available. The farm products are prepared at many local restaurants including Bedford Post Inn and Vox. You can purchase their products at The Market at Union Hall and Hayfields.

Intergenerate

 In Westchester County approximately 58,000 kids are food insecure. This means that they do not have reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable nutritious food. Food insecurity is even an issue in our own backyard- at Mt. Kisco Elementary School, 75% of the students are on the free or reduced lunch program.

The folks at a local nonprofit, InterGenerate, are working to do something about this. InterGenerate is an organization that creates environmental and social sustainability around shared concerns for food security.

At Arc of Westchester in Mt Kisco InterGenerate volunteers have started a co-op model garden where families each are assigned one day of the week where they work in the garden – weeding and watering and sharing the effort – and then each get some of the crops produced. As Susan Rubin, one of InterGenerate’s leaders, said, “We share equally in the work and in the harvest. Our goal is to grow enough food so that we’ve got plenty for participants and plenty left over for the community.  This model makes it easy for those who are brand new to gardening and for busy people who are unable to commit full time to a garden bed.” 

This program helps teach beginners how to garden and helps families build skills. Because it costs a lot to eat fresh local produce, this co-op system provides the participating families with healthy produce and also provides crops for the Neighbors Link community market.

There are two similar programs that InterGenerate helps manage. The co-op chickens at the John Jay Homestead are shared between 21 families- they share the workload and the eggs that the chickens produce. The Mt. Kisco Elementary School Garden is also a co-op garden managed by InterGenerate.

These programs work to establish a new food system and provide healthy and fresh food to those in need, while also having the families involved in and educated about its importance. If you want to get involved, check out InterGenerate’s website and instagram or email Dr. Susan Rubin at drsusanrubin@gmail.com or Mey Marple at marplegirl@me.com.

Truck Restaurant

Anyone who has driven by Truck in the evenings can attest to the completely full parking lots, something that does not even do justice to the true popularity of this local restaurant. Walking through the doors you are greeted by the tangling vines creating a miniature jungle winding along the steps, before you enter into the boisterous room and catching a glimpse of the many cakes and desserts temptingly on display. 

But while the ambiance and the subtle decor is delightful, it is the food made with fresh ingredients straight from the garden and local farms that has people coming back.  

We had a chance to catch up with Nancy Roper, the owner and founder of Truck to learn some of the secrets that help make the place run and flourish. Truck Restaurant purchases their ingredients from local farms including Sunsprout, Cabbage Hill, Fort Hill Farm, Riverbank, Blue Slope, Happy Acres, Beltane, along with three different places for farm fresh eggs. They also have smaller farms where they purchase more select and seasonable items such as rhubarb, yellow watermelon, or raspberries. Another source of their produce is Hudson Valley Harvest, a network that helps collect and distribute products from local farms to increase access to local food.

They also have a local garden behind the restaurant with different beds of veggies and herbs. Some of the beds are enclosed with bamboo teepees made by Truck’s carpenter from a local bamboo field. 

Everything Nancy grows in her home garden and at the Truck garden is used in the restaurant. From the different beds overflowing with basil and cilantro and a colorful assortment of herbs and vegetables, to the bright orange and blue flowers popping out from the teepees, it is clear that the ingredients used are top notch. The giant squash blossoms and ruby tomatoes are just so temptingly waiting to be picked. And the tip she swears by that makes her two gardens flourish- compost! She put it simply saying, “when the soil is healthy, plants are healthy, the good bugs and birds are healthy.” Their great composting makes for the delicious food that comes out in their kitchen. And if you want to try the local veggie tacos at home, check out the recipe courtesy of Truck Restaurant.

Like Nancy says, composting is key. If you want to start composting join our community compost program and get some tips for composting at home on our Get the Dirt on Compost page.

 

John Jay Farm Market’s Early Season Surprises

John Jay Homestead Farm Market has plenty of early season surprises for all to discover! It may seem unlikely, for most, to find locally grown, organic food this early on in the season. Fortunately enough the John Jay Homestead Farm Market has a large variety of local vendors to supply plenty of new and delicious options for your table early this season. This year the Market was opened on May 12th and operates every Saturday from 10am to 2pm.

The John Jay Homestead Farm Market’s early opening is a great opportunity for customers. In the early season community members are able to speak with participating growers and producers, and learn more about what products to expect to see later on. There is no need to wait though! There are currently plenty of items available at the market to spice up any home cooked meal. A few of these foods include microgreens, apples, mushrooms and root veggies, not to mention fiddleheads, rhubarb and ramps. The last three items are highly sought after and have a small window of harvest, so go grab some while they’re still around.

Ramps (which are sometimes called wild leeks or spring onions) taste stronger than leeks, which generally have a mild onion taste.

 

 

Buying from a farmers market not only gets you better quality food, but also supports our local food system. Supporting local agriculture enables customers to source their own food,  which causes a positive ecological, economical and social impact. In fact, “Shopping with an exclusive network of farms and food artisans rather than large industrial farms customers are helping to fix the environmental damage done by the Big Agricultural companies,” says Vanessa Pahucki, the manager of the John Jay Farmers Market. Another great aspect of  small family farms is that they effectively put money back into the local economy through employment opportunities and spending at local shops for farming needs. Sustainably raised food tastes better too!

There is plenty to be excited about this coming year at the John Jay Homestead Farm Market! Vanessa Pahucki tells us that, “We now have a wine bar sponsored by Pizza Luca available,” and that, “Customers can enjoy picnics while eating lunch with an accompanying glass of wine and live music in the background, making John Jay Homestead a true destination on Saturdays.” There are also two new farms joining the market this year, Woven Hill and Gaia’s Breath. Don’t forget,  the John Jay Homestead Farm Market will be open until October 27th, so there is still plenty of time to make it a weekly habit!

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!

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: