Natural Awakenings’ Chef, Restaurant and Farm Profiles for 2013

Hilltop-stone-wallWant to support your local farmers? Trying to go vegan, organic or gluten-free? Looking for a cooking class, a caterer or a personal chef? Lucky for you, something’s always cooking in Westchester and Putnam, where fresh, sustainable and delicious are just around the corner.

Bates Northern Farm

Jacqueline Steigleman, Owner

1 Bloomer Rd., North Salem, NY 10560

914.669.8275 • •

Tell us about your business: We are a garden center and farmers’ market

What services or products do you offer? Our full-service garden center focuses on hanging baskets, a wide selection of annuals and perennials, soils, mulch, and garden design and installation. Inside the store we have homemade baked goods and soups; gluten-free/vegan baked goods and snacks; seasonal local organic produce; and local honey, jams, maple syrup and gift items. We offer handmade wreaths throughout the year; we change with the seasons, all the way through Christmas.

Any classes, events, specials or limited-time offers? This summer we are operating a farmers’ market two days a week with local farms.

What is your goal or professional passion? Our passion is flowers, farms and gardens. We keep it simple, delicious, beautiful and real!

The Blue Pig

Lisa Moir, Chef/Owner

121 Maple St.,Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520

914.271.3850 •

Tell us about your business: The Blue Pig makes homemade, locally sourced ice cream from scratch. We use milk from Hudson Valley Fresh dairy co-op and local maple syrup, honey and eggs, and we grow our own herbs and strawberries on our rooftop garden. We’ve added several new light lunch/dinner items to our menu—two or three vegetarian offerings made daily with seasonal ingredients.

What services or products do you offer? We offer 16 homemade ice cream flavors that change daily and with the seasons; coconut milk “ice cream;” ice cream cakes and pies; baked goods; and new vegetarian sides like Thai noodles, curried vegetables, couscous salad and fresh, local mixed greens. We have beautiful outdoor patio seating.

What is your goal or professional passion? We are passionate about healthy food and a healthy environment—in fact, we just won two county awards for our outstanding sustainable business practices. We strive to show by example how growing your own food and eating local is a step we can all take to help the earth.

Boni-Bel Farm & Country Store

301 Doansburg Rd., Brewster, NY 10509

845.278.2060 • •

Tell us about your business: Green Chimneys Boni-Bel Farm & Country Store offers handcrafted gifts, produce from our organic garden, specialty foods from local vendors, and items made by Green Chimneys students. As a working farm, Boni-Bel produces vegetables, flowers, and maple syrup, all of which are sold at the Country Store. Students from our school participate in each step of production and sale of our products. Green Chimneys is a multifaceted nonprofit organization serving children with special needs.

What services or products do you offer? We offer Boni-Bel’s own organic fruits and vegetables, seasonal produce from local farms, local and student-made maple syrup, local and raw honey, farm-fresh eggs, artisanal cheeses, wool from Green Chimneys sheep, and more.

What is your goal or professional passion? Boni-Bel Farm provides Green Chimneys School students with a rich environment in which to interact with nature as they learn about and become responsible for our many plants and discover new skills. The garden program is connected to the Green Chimneys School Life Skills class, in which students learn to cook the food they grow. The Country Store serves primarily as a vocational training site and introduces Green Chimneys students to the operations and service functions of a retail store.

Clock Tower Grill Kitchen & Bar

Rich Parente, Executive Chef/Owner

512 Clock Tower Dr., Brewster, NY 10509

845.582.0574 • •

Tell us about your business: We celebrate America’s best ingredients in a sophisticated yet casual barn-chic setting.

What services or products do you offer? During the summer we have live music on Friday nights, as well as movie night Wednesdays at sundown. We also cater both on- and off-premises; our second dining room seats 75 people.

What is your goal or professional passion? We are here to do what we love: put out awesome food at a fair price, using as much local, sustainable and organic as possible when available. The kitchen is my playground, so come in and have some fun with us, just like our motto says: EAT – LAUGH – LIVE.

Clean Plate Culinary Inc.

Natasha S. Bernardez, President/Executive Chef

347.644.8306 • •

Tell us about your business: Clean Plate Culinary’s mission is to encourage personal and collective culinary creativity while providing a top-class farm-to-table dining experience with flawless execution. With Clean Plate Culinary running your event, the food will be fresh and delicious, the service will be excellent and your guests will be wowed.

What services or products do you offer? We offer farm-to-table catering services, cooking classes and parties, corporate wellness services, and personal chef-food delivery services.

Any classes, events, specials or limited-time offers? In August we are launching a new series of cooking classes for chefs at heart, amateurs and everyone in between. We’re kicking it off with a themed cocktail event.

What is your goal or professional passion? Our goal is to provide a culinary adventure for everyone we come in contact with. Healthy food should be delectable and satisfying. At Clean Plate Culinary, our motto is that every meal should be “Clean, Simple & Delicious.”

The Freight House Café

Donna Massaro, Owner/Chef

609 Route 6, Mahopac, NY 10541

845.628.1872 •

Tell us about your business: Local. Natural. Good. We serve salads, wraps, sandwiches, breakfast and lunch all day, and we have takeout baskets for cyclists on the bike trail and we offer free delivery to local businesses. We are open seven days a week: Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

What services or products do you offer? We serve flatbreads, gluten-free breads and are allergy-conscious. Our café features free Wi-Fi, an outside deck, a historical interior, live music, art shows, poetry readings, fundraisers, and local, handmade crafts and art for sale. Our menu includes protein shakes, fresh juices, iced coffee and chai teas.

Any classes, events, specials or limited-time offers? We offer live music, comedy shows, and poetry readings at the cafe after dark. Call for details.

What is your goal or professional passion? My passion is to create a community of people who enjoy and respect good, clean food. I believe in the greater good and want my customers and employees to know that their food has been treated with respect and love.

The Frosty Noggin: All Natural Smoothies & Frozen Yogurt

Robert Lieb and Nona Backer, Owners

20 Charles Colman Blvd., Pawling, NY 12564

Tell us about your business: The Frosty Noggin is a new way to enjoy delicious yet healthy foods that emanate the sweetness only real fruits and vegetables can, with all the rich vitamins and minerals included. Kids love it and don’t even notice that our products contain no added sugar or flavorings. A healthy, comfortable atmosphere is what The Frosty Noggin represents.

What services or products do you offer? We offer a full menu of mouth-watering fresh fruit and vegetable smoothies with optional organic protein boosters, along with healthy frozen yogurt and gelato as a refreshing beverage, a dessert or even a meal.  Our self-serve frozen yogurt includes gluten-free and dairy-free options, and it is all made with active probiotic cultures for improved vitamin and mineral absorption, immunity and digestive health. All our smoothies are made from farm-to-blender juiced or pureed fruits and vegetables, with no preservatives, added sweeteners or flavorings. We use all-natural ingredients—nothing more!

What is your goal or professional passion? Robert Lieb: Years ago I got the idea for providing great-tasting, healthy food that has all the vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that fresh fruit and vegetables have to offer. My passion for children’s health (stemming from my work as a special education teacher), combined with my chiropractic and nutrition background, and Nona’s experience as a weight loss coach with her company, Nutritional Adjustment, motivated us to indulge the community’s palate with food that is both healthy and delicious—hence, The Frosty Noggin.

Healthy Culinary Creations LLC

Laurie Gershgorn, Gourmet Chef/Owner

914.930.1591 • •

Tell us about your business: Healthy Culinary Creations LLC has been providing food and nourishment that helps and empowers people to eat truly healthy, and live a healthier lifestyle since its inception in 2007.  My cooking style is inspired by the seasons; covers a wide range of ethnic tastes, traditional cultures, and holistic philosophies; and caters to the needs of the customers.

What services or products do you offer? I provide freshly prepared delicious, economical meals and juices, as well as catering, meal-planning assistance, holistic guidance, cooking classes and workshops. The emphasis is on using local, bio-farmed, organic, fair trade ingredients to create plant-based menus; I specialize in serving those with specific food requirements and restrictions and health challenges.

Any classes, events, specials or limited-time offers? For July and August only, I will deduct 10 percent off one introductory cooking service for new clients who mention Natural Awakenings. Check my website for the events calendar.

What is your goal or professional passion? I am committed to offering services that are good for the customer, community and planet by providing the highest-quality, healthiest food and juices and educating and teaching people how to use food to support a strong body, mind and spirit, while continually honing my craft and advocating for sustainable farming.

Hilltop Hanover Farm & Environmental Center

1271 Hanover St., Yorktown Heights, NY 10598

914.962.2368 • •

Tell us about your business: Hilltop Hanover Farm & Environmental Center is a working crop farm and environmental education facility located in Yorktown Heights, NY. Formerly a dairy farm, and with roots dating back to the 1600s, today Hilltop Hanover acts as a regional education hub, offering programs on healthy and sustainable food production, skills for small-scale suburban and urban farmers, and sustainable living practices for local communities.

What services or products do you offer? The farm features demonstration models for backyard farming, animal management, rainwater harvesting, organic composting and green-roof technology. Visitors are encouraged to come and hike the farm’s 3.5 miles of woodland trails, enjoy a picnic overlooking the property and visit our chickens and goats. Hilltop Hanover holds numerous classes and lectures, offers seasonal CSA shares and maintains a farm stand and U-Pick program during the growing season. Hilltop Hanover Farm also offers guided tours, classes and field trips for school groups, garden clubs and scout troops.

Any classes, events, specials or limited-time offers? Farmstand is open every Friday (1-6 p.m.) and Saturday (10 a.m. – 4 p.m.). U-Pick Vegetables will open in July. July workshop schedule: 7/6 Fermented Foods; 7/20 Garden Checkup and Private Farm Tour; 7/27 Behind the Scenes Tour; and 7/27 Pickling 101.

What is your goal or professional passion? Hilltop Hanover Farm and Environmental Center is dedicated to the development and advancement of sustainable agriculture, environmental stewardship, community education, and accessible food systems for all.

Jnana Organics Nourishment for Body, Mind & Spirit

Patricia Trongone, Owner/Founder

255 N. Bedford Rd., Mt. Kisco, NY 10549

(behind Atlantic Appliance & Wipe Your Paws)

914.864.2727 (shop) • 917.592.8360 (cell) •

Tell us about your business: At Jnana [yana] Organics, we supply organic, fresh-pressed green juice cleanses and juice/food combo cleanses by the day, week or month to help kick-start healthier eating if you’ve overindulged on vacation or if you simply want to release unwanted weight.

What services or products do you offer? We offer gluten-free, vegan, raw breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks. We are available for vegan catering, bridal parties and in-store events, and this summer we will be selling and sampling products at John Jay Farmers Market and Whole Foods Farmers Markets.

Any classes, events, specials or limited-time offers? Save 5 percent when you sign up for a five-day Juice & Food combo cleanse. All cleanses must be pre-ordered at 917.592.8360 or, with 24 hours’ notice and pick-up at our kitchen (by appointment only) or delivery in Westchester and CT for an additional $20.

What is your goal or professional passion? Our goal is to help individuals and families clean up their diets to prevent or reverse illness through the use of wholesome and natural ingredients, and to provide the tools necessary for them to achieve their health and wellness goals.

Jolo’s Kitchen Vegan Restaurant

Marc “Jolo” Moise, Owner/Chef

412 North Ave., New Rochelle, NY 10801

914.355.2527 •

Tell us about your business: Jolo’s Kitchen opened in 2008 as a vegan restaurant with the mission of providing healthy, nutritious meals to the Westchester County community.

What services or products do you offer? We have a totally vegan sit-down menu and take-out. We also have desserts, a juice bar and raw and gluten-free options, as well as a catering hall for small events.

Any classes, events, specials or limited-time offers? Recently we successfully hosted a MeetUp group, The Westchester NY Veggie EatUp, in our new space. Jolo’s Kitchen will also be vending in the New Rochelle Jazz Festival July 13-14 from 1 to 9 p.m. The festival will be held at the New Rochelle Public Library Green. Check out our website or Facebook page for ongoing vegan events.

What is your goal or professional passion? I am a longtime vegan, and for years I had the vision of creating a casual, music- and art-filled, affordable space where I could share my love for vegan cuisine and natural living. Mother Nature provides all we need to thrive; I do my best to honor the plants that provide us with nourishment and to create a delicious experience.

Lauren Lee, Gluten-Free Chef

250 Bronxville Rd., Bronxville, NY 10708

917.378.5787 • •

Tell us about your business: I am a personal chef who prepares gluten-free meals in clients’ homes. I also deliver prepared meals to Westchester and Manhattan. I studied as a pastry chef and love making gluten-free desserts.

What service or products do you offer? I make gluten-free meals and desserts.

Any classes, events, specials or limited-time offers? I offer a half-pound of gluten free chocolate chip cookies for first-time clients

What is your goal or professional passion? My passion is creating flavorful meals for people with dietary restrictions.

Ryder Farm Cottage Industries

Betsey Ryder, Owner of Ryder Farm

400 Starr Ridge Rd., Brewster, NY 10509

845.279.4161 • •

Tell us about your business: We are certified organic growers of vegetables, herbs and flowers, from arugula to zucchini. We specialize in custom garden flower arrangements.

What services or products do you offer? Our certified organically grown products are available locally through our CSA, where you join the farmer up-front to help launch the season in exchange for a share of the season’s bounty. We participate in the Brewster Farmers Market from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays. We also offer produce at our roadside stand on the farm, as well as potted bedding plants and vegetable starts for your own garden.

Any classes, events, specials or limited-time offers? We enjoy sharing the lessons of growing good food. Among our local interns are stewards of Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture  (MESA) and international exchange, and we annually host a student from NYC’s agricultural high school, John Bowne of Queens. The public is welcome to join us or just come stroll the gardens. On August 4 we will host the 50th birthday celebration for the Southeast Museum. That event will be open to the public.

What is your goal or professional passion? Buying from local farms helps preserve the fabric of a working landscape and open space. Supporting Ryder Farm ensures that you are getting fresh local produce as well as supporting open space and a local history that goes back to 1795.

Skinny Buddha Organic Kitchen

Elyce Jacobson, Head Chef/Part Owner

159 Lexington Ave., Mt. Kisco, NY 10549

914.666.9646 •

Tell us about your business: We are a fitness facility as well as a commercial kitchen. We provide prepared organic meals for our fitness clients as well as anyone who craves high-quality, delicious, organic meals. We believe that in order to achieve optimal health, fitness and nutrition must work together.

What services or products do you offer? The Skinny Buddha Organic Kitchen offers full-service catering and, on a smaller scale, freshly prepared pre-packaged meals for pickup or delivery. Our menu is created with fresh, certified-organic ingredients, including vegetables, grains and fruits grown without pesticides as well as grass-fed, free-range chicken.

Any classes, events, specials or limited-time offers? In the fall we will be offering adult and teen cooking classes in our commercial kitchen.

What is your goal or professional passion? Our goal is to help people achieve optimal health by providing them with personalized training and the meals they need to accomplish their goals.

Foraging in Westchester

The Ultimate Way to Eat Local and Seasonal

Executive Chef Jeremy McMillan and Chef de Cuisine Dan Sabia foraging on the land surrounding the Bedford Post Inn.

Executive Chef Jeremy McMillan and Chef de Cuisine Dan Sabia foraging on the land surrounding the Bedford Post Inn.

Wild plants foraged locally, such as ramps, cattails and wild watercress, are showing up more and more at farmers markets and restaurants. These foods are not just tasty; they’re rich in nutrients from the mineral-dense forest floor on which they grow.

Foraged Is the New Local

Wild foods are typically indigenous plants, growing locally and naturally in their native habitat. Alan Muskat, an advocate who’s passionate about preserving forests and sharing the skills of foraging with the next generation, says that only indigenous plants are truly local. “With some local food, you are taking a European import and making it grow here. Then you have to supplement and alter the soil to get it to thrive,” says Muskat. “For instance, European truffles are difficult to grow here because they don’t belong here and they are not adapted to this region.” In contrast, Muskat says that indigenous plants and fungi need no special tending, fertilizer or pesticides to be healthy and vibrant.

On the Menu

The popularity of wild foraged food is growing, due in part to professionals like Executive Chef Jeremy McMillan and Chef de Cuisine Dan Sabia of the Farmhouse restaurant at the Bedford Post Inn. Both are fans of wild food, picked fresh each day. “It’s hard to say what our favorite foraged item is,” says McMillan. “When it comes down to it, the deeper we search into the forest and property, the more we find and the more excited we become. It truly depends on the day and what Mother Nature gives us.”

McMillan has been teaming up with “Wildman” Steve Brill, a naturalist who specializes in edible and medicinal wild plants, to search the more than 100 acres of land surrounding the Bedford Post Inn for delectable items. Brill delights in teaching others where it’s safe to forage and how to properly identify and harvest wild plants and mushrooms. His weekly foraging tours throughout New York and beyond have drawn people for decades, and he’s published several books on the subject. Brill has even developed an application (App) that helps identify plants in the field. “It tells you how to spot a plant, provides a checklist for positive identification, and includes similar plants to clarify any confusing factors,” he says. Botanical illustrations emphasize the most important identifying features, and photos show the plants as they change throughout the seasons.

Last month, Brill invited Natural Awakenings publisher Dana Boulanger to join a foraging trip at the Bedford Post, to chronicle the expedition and sample the tasty wild-foods lunch that followed. “After a delightful and educational day of foraging and eating, I returned home and had fun finding several of the new greens in my own yard,” says Boulanger, who reports that she now adds these items to her daily morning smoothie. “I also now keep my eyes open for wild berries and grape leaves on my morning walk, which gives me a delicious new perspective on the neighborhood.”

Cattail was Brill’s favorite food from this particular foraging trip. “The crunchy inner core has a sweet cucumber flavor that I love,” he says. “It usually grows in sunny wetlands, and I haven’t had the chance to visit those habitats this spring, so it was a treat to collect and eat this choice wild food.” McMillan notes that foraged foods likely to be incorporated into the restaurant’s menu include wild grape leaves, wood sorrel, shepherd’s purse, ramps, and garlic mustard.

Foraging Is Good for the Forest

Contrary to popular belief, foraging is not bad for the forest. “It does not deplete the forest’s treasures,” says Muskat, who argues that foraging in the woods for mushrooms, for example, is actually good for the environment. “The fungus is still there beneath the ground or in the log. You aren’t removing it, because it’s renewing and sustainable,” he says. “Truffles and chanterelles, for example, only grow in healthy woods. If people realize this, they’ll treasure the woods even more.”

A little education makes it easy to harvest things like leaves and roots while respecting the impact on plants, says Muskat. “When you have a personal relationship with your food, it becomes like friends and family, the people you care about,” he says. “So foraging is not what hurts the environment – not foraging is what hurts the environment.”

To learn more about the work of Alan Muskat visit

Connect with Steve Brill at His Wild Edibles App is available at the iTunes store.

The Farmhouse and The Barn restaurants at the Bedford Post Inn are located at 954 Old Post Rd. Bedford, NY. For reservations and more information, call 914.234.7800 or visit