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.

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:

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. 

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!