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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!

Say hello to your farmer!

by Karen Simons

At Mobius Fields in Katonah, farmer Deb Taft is carefully harvesting produce whose flavors, fragrances, textures, color and nutritional benefit are at their peak. She is thinking of her farmers’ market customers while she harvests and looks forward to sharing her efforts. Saturday, at the market, you’ll find her quietly sitting behind her table, ready and willing to discuss the bountiful crops—how she grew them, how to store them, how to use them. 

At farm markets everywhere, local farmers love to talk to you about the products they are selling. Some farmers will speak to you as soon as you approach their stand, others like Deb, wait for you to ask the questions.

Next time you’re at the farm market take the time to chat with the person behind the table.

Not sure how to start?

Here are some quick tips:

  1. Ask what’s in season, and what’s coming up next. This is a great way to learn more about food seasonality and culture.  Farmers will tell you it’s best to tear up the shopping list and prepare meals made with fresh in-season ingredients. 
  2. See something you don’t recognize? Take the leap, ask what it is, how to store and prepare it. You’ll find some hidden treasures and expand your palate. 
  3. Learn about growing practices. If you want to eat foods raised without chemicals, ask farmers how the food is grown.  Not all farmers are certified organic but may have growing methods that meet or exceed organic certification standards.
  4. Get to know YOUR farmers. If you have time and are feeling chatty (and the farmers are not rushing to help customers) ask how is the growing season going?  How did you get into farming? Where are you located? Can I visit the farm?
  5. Give FEEDback! If you enjoy the food, make sure to go back and tell the farmer you purchased it from. Your positive feedback can help farmers decide what to grow in the future and if you’re lucky, you’ll reap the benefits next growing season!

There are lots of farm stands and farm markets to attend. Click here for our Northern Westchester/Lower Putnam map!

John Jay Homestead Farmer’s Market opens, featuring exciting new vendors


The John Jay farmer’s market opened on Saturday, June 10th, featuring exciting new vendors and changes made by the new market manager, Vanessa Pahucki.

This will be the first year the John Jay market will not require exclusivity, meaning artisans can bring all their products, even if someone else is selling the same thing.  

“We felt exclusivity was a disadvantage to both the customers, who deserve choices, and the vendors, who should be allowed to bring all their local, sustainably grown items to market. We want our customers to have options,” said Pahucki.

The market is also welcoming many new vendors, including Dam Good English Muffins, Will-Yum Spice, Pickleicious, and The Peanut Principle. Pahucki thinks these new vendors will be very popular and bring exciting, unique new products to the market.

 Brandalyn Williams of Will-Yum spices expressed her excitement to be at the John Farmer’s Market for the first time, especially as the first spice vendor. She and her husband, Warren, started Will-Yum spices after the spices they gave out as their wedding favor were very well received.

“The reception has been great, and working at a farmer’s market is really a grassroots way to get out and meet people. Being that we do sell online, it’s a completely different business model actually being in person, and so it’s been great. It’s good to see that people not only come back, buy more, and replace their bottles, they also bring their friends over and buy for their friends and family,” said Williams.

Irvington Delight is another first-time vendor at John Jay, selling homemade Mediterranean and American cuisine.

“All our food is homemade, and all the grape leaves, basil, and mint we use is from our garden. Everything we make the day of or the night before, it’s all authentic, all 100% old family recipes, so hopefully everyone enjoys it” said Jordan, one of the owners of Irvington Delight.


Pahucki emphasized with these new vendors, everyone can find something at John Jay for them—from Conte’s, which has been selling fresh seafood in Westchester for over 65 years, to fresh fruit and vegetables from R & G Produce. These new vendors might bring some exciting changes, but the parts of John Jay that make it so special remain the same. Pahucki noted that John Jay’s location is a special and important part of the market.

“We’re on a historic farm, while many farmers markets are in concrete jungles, so when you come here you really feel the authenticity of the farmer’s market,” she said. 

The John Jay Farmer’s Market is open every Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm, June 10th-October 28th. Stop by today to explore its diverse assortment of food!

Katonah Juice

Our Buy It section often celebrates area businesses who buy local food, and Katonah Juice will be juicing local produce all summer long, so check them out!

Growing up with a mother who worked as a cook and baker, Krystal of Katonah Juice has been exposed the food industry for as long as she can remember. While she began juicing in her early 20’s to improve her health, juicing has grown into her passion which she hopes to use to better the health of the community. Today, she co-runs Katonah Juice with Will and Chris Ryder, who own the Katonah Pharmacy. Katonah Juice sells organic fruit smoothies and acai bowls along with juices.

Katonah Juice purchases organic and local produce whenever possible—Ace Naturals, Ryder Farm (no relation to the owners), and Snow Hill Organics are among its favorite distributors. Popular drinks at Katonah Juice include the Green Goddess smoothie, full of antioxidant rich matcha powder, and Krystal’s favorite—Peanut Butter and Jelly. Krystal loves incorporates various types of protein such as bone broth into her smoothies.

Katonah Pharmacy is optimistic that selling these healthy products is a way to forward the Pharmacy’s goal of providing alternate, holistic approaches to health along with conventional pharmaceutical needs.

“We don’t want the pharmacy department to be your only stop, we want it to be the last,” says Will Ryder.

The Juice Bar is located in the back of Katonah Pharmacy and is open 9-5 Mondays-Fridays, 10-5 on Saturdays, and 10-2.30 on Sundays. Stop by today for a delicious and healthy treat!

You can try a turmeric juice recipe from Katonah Juice here

SunRaven Farm Garden Co-Op

sunraven_soilInterest in personal wellness has increased significantly in recent decades. In 2016, the Slow Food Movement celebrated its 30th anniversary, and local food is all around with farmers markets, CSAs, and farm to table restaurants. Additionally the use of complimentary health approaches has nearly doubled since 2002 with approximately 21 million adults practicing yoga and 18 million practicing meditation.

sunraven_harvest           A local organization, SunRaven Farm: The Home of Slow Medicine, aims to satisfy all branches of personal wellness by nourishing the whole being – the mind, the body and the soul.  Participation in a hands-on, working and learning garden experience is offered as a part of this approach.

Located in Bedford, Sun Raven offers a Garden Co-Op, which combines the benefits of a CSA membership with personal involvement growing the harvest, community gatherings and meditation.

This unique Garden Co-Op had 15 member-families this summer who enjoyed coming together for nearly 40 weeks, participating in interactive workshops, centering themselves through mindful activities and rolling up their sleeves to dig in the soil, nurture seedlings, and tend to the life-supporting and lush plants they grew. During harvest weeks they took home shares of the bounty that they grew together including delicious ripe garden vegetables, herbs, teas, flowers and eggs.

The group of participants were strangers in March, but over time became a supportive community to one another. Many expressed that their approach to cooking and eating transformed during the experience because of the nutrients, the positive care and the love they knew went into the food they consumed. According to Sun Raven, the most profound aspect of the connection people make to food through this holistic approach is a respect and stewardship for their own health and for the land.

According to SunRaven’s founder and executive director of the Slow Medicine Foundation, Dr. Michael Finkelstein, affectionately known as the Slow Medicine Doctor, “Participating in a community garden is an integral part of nourishing the whole being –  growing your own organic bounty, interacting with others and with nature, moving your body doing something you love — these all nurture good health.”

SunRaven: The Home of Slow Medicine advertises that it is for those looking to live, study, or facilitate a whole-being vision of health and wellness. For more information about the SunRaven Garden Co-Op and Slow Medicine, visit

Westchester Grown Farm Trail

hilltophanoverWestchester County now has a Farm Trail. It is a designated route that links a series of farms for 17 miles, between North Salem and Sleepy Hollow. The “Westchester Grown” trail is made up of local farmers who grow crops and raise animals locally.

The trail dedication was achieved by the efforts of  the Friends of Hilltop Hanover Farm (pictured above) and the Westchester County Office of Film & Tourism.  According to Lucille Munz, Farm Director at Hilltop Hanover, “It took over 3 years to get the Farm Trail certification, so this is just the beginning of creating a coordinated effort to raise awareness so folks will support these local farms.”

The Farm Trail designation is a New York State program designed to bring attention to productive agricultural lands and interesting destinations for both residents and tourists.  According to Munz, “Farmers often don’t have the resources, time, or skill set to do the marketing and outreach necessary to increase business, so this program raises collective awareness and facilitates collaboration that will help all of the farms on the Farm Trail.”

Ryder farmSimilar to the Wine Trails, Apple Trails, and Beverage Trails around the state, the Farm Trail designation usually results in added signage to encourage people to visit these farms and helps facilitate future planning of joint events and marketing efforts among the “Westchester Grown” farms. Munz explains, “We have applied to the USDA for a grant to facilitate marketing the Trail, creating a coordinated website, working with restaurants and businesses, planing seasonal tours and farm-to-table events.”

Many of these farms and farmers have a long history with the county with strong ties to the community and are supported by local shops and restaurants, which will be designated as the “Friends of the Westchester Grown Farm Trail.”

muscoot pigsTake a look at the interactive Farm Trail Map produced by the Westchester Office of Tourism and check out the photos and information about the 14 Westchester Grown farms that are on the Farm Trail.  Then take a trip out to the Farm Trail and visit a few!

The farms named to the Farm Trail include:

  • Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard
  • Hemlock Hill Farm
  • Hilltop Hanover Farm & Environmental Center, Inc.
  • Muscoot Farm (pictured right)
  • Ryder Farm Cottage Industries (interns pictured above)
  • Seedswell Vegetable Farm
  • Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture
  • Stuarts Farm and Orchard
  • Sundial Farm
  • The Farmer & The Fish
  • The Meadows Farm
  • Thompson’s Cider Mill
  • White Oak Farm
  • Wilkens Fruit & Fir Farm

We are excited to see the Farm Trail designation bringing attention to farms in our area. If we want farming in our community, we need to support local farms.  Keep an eye out for Westchester Growers at your local farm markets and on local restaurant menus.

Community Experience at Farmers’ Markets

Bedford Hills Farmers Market has moved to Thursdays, 4-7:30pm

Bedford Hills Farmers Market at the BH Train Station is now on Thursdays, 4-7:30pm

Maybe we are biased, but we think farmers’ markets are so much cooler than the supermarket, and what you find there is so much better for you health, the environment and our community. At a farmers’ market you may:

Find the freshest food around, grown with care by local farmers on nearby farms; Take in the community-building experience of knowing where your food comes from, who grows and sells it, and see your friends and neighbors while you are there; Meet the farmers, artisan bakers and people who make quality, original and delicious value added products; Support our local food system and economy; Often enjoy live music, engage with nonprofit organizations doing good work, watch a cooking demonstration, enjoy an outdoor setting and so much more.

Many people enjoy attending the same market every week because of the connections they make with the vendors and the neighbors they regularly see there. A local farmer, Deb Taft of Mobius Fields, said that because of farm market connections with her customers she often finds herself thinking of specific customers as she is tending to the crops they love to buy, as if she is growing food just for them.

Before you go, remember to bring some cash and reusable shopping bags. You also might want to check what is in season on the NY harvest calendar and have an idea of what you will see and what you might want to buy at the market. Of course, a farm market is not a superstore and you might not find exactly what you expect, so also remember to stay flexible and enjoy the experience.

Here are some of the local markets you might want to visit and consider becoming a regular:

Soapier and Market Manager Maria Spear at BH Farmers Market

Soapier and Market Manager Maria Spear at BH Farmers Market

Bedford Hills Farmers Market, Bedford Hills Train Station, Thursdays 4:00-7:30pm. In its first year, the Bedford Hills Farmers Market, in the heart of Bedford Hills, has moved its time to Thursday evenings. Commuters stop by on their way from the train, residents walk over, and there is plenty of parking for those who drive. Vendors sell fruits and vegetables, seafood, jams, soaps, and other handcrafted goods.  They have a schedule of musical performers including:

  • Jack Serra Lima  6/23
  • Forget Me Nots 8/11
  • students from Hubbels Music School, Fox Lane High School and more!
John Jay Homestead Farmers' Market is open Saturdays 9-1.

John Jay Homestead Farmers’ Market on Route 22 is open Saturdays 9-1.

John Jay Homestead Farmers Market 400 Jay St., Rt. 22, Katonah, Saturdays 9am-1pm. On the gorgeous property of John Jay Homestead, this rural setting makes for a lovely outdoor market experience. Plan to have fresh-roasted coffee and a delicious baked good or some gelato as you stroll around to visit the 35 vendors who sell everything from vegetables, fruits and flowers to prepared foods, seafood and meat and handcrafted local products.

Down Route 35 you'll find Gossett Bros market Saturdays 9-1.

Down Route 35 you’ll find Gossett Bros market Saturdays 9-1.

Gossett Brothers Farm Market, 1202 Route 35, South Salem, NY , Saturdays 9am-1pm. Take a ride down 35 to Gossetts market located at Gossett Brothers Nursery on Saturdays. They offer a wide selection of vegetables, fruits, honey, meats and seafood, breads, prepared foods from a dozen or so vendors each week.

Muscoot Farm Market is open Sundays and fun for kids.

Muscoot Farm Market is open Sundays and fun for kids.

Muscoot Farm Market, Muscoot Farm, Rt. 100, Somers; Sundays 10am-3pm. Muscoot’s market is open on Sundays and offers a nice selection of prepared foods and handcrafted goods as well as local produce from 23 vendors. A fun market to attend because of the farm feeling, especially if you also love to visit the animals on the farm or hike on the park’s wooded trails.

Also fun to visit:

Chappaqua Farmers Market, Chappaqua Train Station, Saturdays 8:30am-1pm

or Pleasantville Farmers Market, Memorial Plaza (next to train station), Saturdays, 8:30am-1pm

Farmers Markets are a community building experience.

Farmers Markets are a community building experience.

A trip to the farmers’ market can be a quick stop for what you need, or you can make it a leisurely activity to enjoy all the community aspects that a farmers market has to offer. When you purchase local food or products at the market, you will not only continue enjoying the market after you leave, you will also feel great knowing that your purchases support our local food system, local economy, local farms and farmers, healthy soil, clean air, open land, good health and more.

Support and engage with your community, visit a farmers’ market this week!

Don’t Despair, Local Food Can be Found in the Winter

We know that we have quite a local food following, and for many of us it is important to eat local food for the impact not only on our health but also on the environment.

Growing your own food, stopping by farm stands, visiting the farmers’ market, or subscribing to a CSA keeps most of us stocked with local food from spring through fall. But what can we expect to find in the winter?

Since this is our last issue of the year, we wanted to leave you hopeful that local food can be found even after VegOut is hibernating for the winter.

Where to find it?

Local CSAs offering a winter share:

winter CSAField Goods: offers different size subscriptions of local produce from small farms delivered weekly to community locations. Customers receive 6-8 different types of fresh fruit and vegetables each week, often including one or two flash frozen items in the winter. Subscriptions can be started or cancelled any time (or placed on hold). The weekly newsletter “In the Bag,” offers helpful tips and recipes for that week’s selection of produce. They already have pick up locations in Katonah and Bedford Hills, and you can establish a new site with 5 subscriptions.

Farmigo: an “online farmers’ market.” You can shop online for local food and pick up at local delivery sites.  They “source 95% or more” of their food “from from farmers and artisans that are located within a day’s drive of our Communities.” There doesn’t seem to be a “box subscription,” so you can choose exactly what you want and pick it up at a community location weekly. We know of a pick up location in Bedford Hills, and a new location can be established with 10 orders. a CSA delivered to your door. You can get a 5 box or 9 box winter share. Westchester deliveries are on Wednesdays or Thursdays.

Local winter farmers’ markets

indoor marketBedford Hills Now has a Farmers’ Market! 10-2 on Saturdays at the Bedford Hills Train Station!

The Mount Kisco Indoor Farmers’ Market returns to St. Mary’s Church in downtown Mount Kisco on Saturdays from 9-1, Winter 2015 (according to their Facebook Page).

Gosset Brothers Nursery, 1202 Route 35 in South Salem, has a year round market on Saturdays from 9-1.

Pleasantville moves their farmers market indoors to the Pleasantville Middle School 9-1 on Saturdays after November 21.

Stone Barns Winter Market begins in December and is open once a month on Saturdays, 10-4, inside the Hay Barn.

Grow your own

Of course, if you had a plentiful harvest this year, you might be able to store a lot for the coming winter yourself, especially if you have a root cellar or take some time to freeze, preserve, or pickle!

If you are interested in hydroponic, indoor gardening, Delicious Gardens, in Bedford Hills, can help you get started.

What will we find?

winter veg marketThrough the winter, the local food  available will mostly be storage crops and hearty greens. Of course, all winter you will also find local meats, dairy, eggs, honey, and items that have been canned, preserved, or frozen. There are always local wine and ciders, too.

Storage crops: apples, pears, onions, potatoes, turnips, all kinds of squash, carrots, pumpkins, garlic, winter radishes, beets, celeriac, rutabagas, sweet potatoes, daikon, etc.

Greens: cold hearty field greens, kale, collards, chard, radicchio, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, mustard, herbs, and greenhouse grown greens and shoots

After January you will see more of the stored items than the greens, and by April you will have greenhouse and field grown greens like mesclun and cooking greens, baby kale, mizzen, mustards, bok choi, Swiss chard, etc.

Keep us posted on your winter local food adventures on the Bedford 2020 Facebook Page or on the VegOut Bedford Facebook Page and we will share as well.

Since winter local food means a lot of root vegetables, be sure to check out our root vegetable recipes!