Mycological Society Leads Area Mushroom Walks

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The Connecticut-Westchester Mycological Association (COMA), an amateur mycological society, will lead mushroom walks at 9:30 a.m. on June 1 in Mount Kisco; June 9 in Yonkers; June 15 and 30 in Greenwich, Connecticut; and June 23 in West Harrison. Participants will forage for wild mushrooms and gain a deeper understanding of the local ecology.

Established in 1975 with the mission of stimulating interest in the study of fungi, COMA is an affiliate of the North American Mycology Association, serving lower New York State and Southwest Connecticut. Annual membership is $25 for an individual or a family.

COMA walks are followed by a potluck lunch and mushroom identification. Walkers should visit ComaFungi.org ahead of time to read the guidelines on mushroom collection and walk participation. They should also refrain from collecting mushrooms in the walk area for at least 15 days before the event is scheduled. Collecting native plants and commercial harvesting are prohibited.

COMA also recommends that participants install iNaturalist on their phones and join the COMA fungi project, and that they apply​ tick repellent before walking.

To join COMA or to see a complete mushroom walk schedule, including parking/meeting details, visit ComaFungi.org. For general inquiries, email ​taro@ietaka.com.​

 

Vegan Cooking Class at Good Choice Kitchen

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Chef Sara Boan will be at Good Choice Kitchen, in Ossining, as guest teacher for the kitchen’s next vegan cooking class, which will take place 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on June 12. Boan is a professionally trained chef who works at Catskill Animal Sanctuary (CAS), in Saugerties, a haven for rescued farm animals and an advocacy organization for vegan living.

“We are ecstatic that Sara and the CAS are open to the idea of bringing a cooking class to us,” says Chef Laurie Gershgorn, owner of Good Choice Kitchen. “Sara’s cooking classes are very well received and attended at the sanctuary, so we hope many people will take this opportunity to join her here in Westchester.”

Under Boan’s guidance, the class will make Buffalo Cauliflower with Quick and Creamy Dressing; Greek Watermelon Salad; Zesty Lime-Pineapple Slaw; Compassionate Crab Cakes with Remoulade Sauce; and Blackberry Fig Crisp. All the recipes are featured in the sanctuary’s new cookbook, Compassionate Cuisine: 125 Plant-Based Recipes from Our Vegan Kitchen. There will be cookbooks available for purchase at the conclusion of class, with all proceeds supporting the sanctuary’s programming.

The vegan cooking classes at Good Choice Kitchen—which are typically scheduled on a Wednesday evening—are open to anyone age 13 and older. Preregistration is required.

Cost: $75 per class. Sign up ahead of time online, by phone or in person. Location: Good Choice Kitchen, 147 Main St., Ossining, NY. For more info, call 914.930.1591, email info@goodchoicekitchen.com or visit GoodChoiceKitchen.com.

 

 

Fresh Starts: Seeking special plants to get your garden going? Mark your calendar for these plant sales.

 

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Stony Kill Farm Plant Sale and Spring Celebration

Our region is blessed with an abundance of small farms, so in the spring, plant sales pop up as reliably as daffodils. There are many reasons to buy spring plants from a farm rather than a retailer, not the least of which is the fact that you’re supporting a local (and often family-owned) business.

Unlike large nurseries or big box stores, local farms specialize in organically grown veggies, herbs and flowers that flourish in our climate—typically offering a wider variety of plants, including many that can’t be found in retail stores. Because these farms don’t use persistent pesticides, their plants won’t kill bees (harming our food supply) or produce food that’s hazardous to ingest.

And because local farms are part of the fabric of our community, their plant sales are true community events—springtime celebrations where families are welcome. Kids love visiting farms, and they learn a lot in the process. So save the date for one or more of the local plant sales coming up in May.

Hilltop Hanover Farm’s Spring Plant Sale
April 26-May 31
Fridays 1p.m.-6 p.m.
Saturdays 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Plants for sale: Cool-season annual flowers, herbs and vegetable transplants, including early-blooming columbine, snapdragons and diasca; organic lavender, chives, chamomile, dill, lemon balm, mint mojito and sage; and naturally grown lettuce, spinach, kale, peas and chard. Come any weekend for veggie, herb and flower transplants, all grown at Hilltop, plus finished annuals and organic herbs.

Family fun: The farm stand will be stocked with local farm products such as seeds, honey, maple syrup, breads and baked goods.

Something special: Look for cottage garden annuals, specialty cut flowers and pollinator plants. Strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, cucumbers and squash plants, plus lots of summer flowers, will be ready in early May. All transplants produced at Hilltop Hanover are grown using organic practices.

Hilltop Hanover Farm, 1271 Hanover St., Yorktown Heights, NY HilltopHanoverFarm.org

 

Stony Kill Farm Plant Sale and Spring Celebration
May 4, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. (Rain date May 5)

Plants for sale: Plants for vegetable and herb gardens.

Family fun: Baby animals, sheep shearing demo, wool spinner, live music, open barn, open greenhouse, crafts, face painter, concession stand and more.

Something extra: Stony Kill Beekeepers will have an informational booth, and the Stony Kill gardeners will have an informational table on pollinator gardening.

Stony Kill Farm, 79 Farmstead Lane , Wappingers Falls, NY , 845.831.3800; StonyKill.org, Stony Kill Foundation, Inc.@Facebook.com

 

Poughkeepsie Farm Project Farm Fest and Plant Sale
May 4 & 11, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Plants for sale: Nearly 100 varieties of vegetables, flowers and herbs.

Family fun: Food truck, live music, smoothie and interactive popcorn stations, craft and farmer’s market offering Hudson Valley-made products, Poughkeepsie Farm Project merchandise including herbal body products, gardening book fair, children’s book readings, kid-friendly activities.

Something extra: This is Poughkeepsie Farm Project’s 20th year of connecting food, farm and community in the Hudson Valley. Visitors are invited to tour the farm fields, meet the team, learn about the farm’s programs and activities and explore its meditation and discovery gardens.

Poughkeepsie Farm Project, 51 Vassar Farm Ln., Poughkeepsie, NY, FarmProject.org/farm-fest 


 

ryder farmSPACE on Ryder Farm Mother’s Day Weekend Plant Sale
May 11, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
May 12, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Plants for sale: Hanging baskets and a wide selection of flowers, herbs and vegetable starts, including 11 varieties of heirloom tomatoes, summer and winter squash, salad greens, sweet and spicy pepper varieties and more, all certified organic and grown on Ryder Farm.

Family fun: Guided tours of Ryder Farm, a food truck for picnicking on the lawn, children’s activities.

Something extra: The plant sale will be the official start of SPACE on Ryder Farm’s first growing season. Plants and produce will be available for purchase at the roadside farmstand on Starr Ridge Road through November.

Ryder Farm, 406 Starr Ridge Rd., Brewster, NY, SpaceOnRyderFarm.org

 

common groundCommon Ground Farm Plant Sale
May 11, 2 p.m.-5 p.m.

Plants for sale: Vegetables, flowers and herbs, including classic favorites like basil, cherry tomatoes, lettuce and kale, as well as more unusual and unique heirloom varieties such as husk cherries, fairytale eggplant and purple basil, all organically grown at Common Ground Farm. Come early for best selection.

Family fun: Children’s arts and crafts, and the opportunity to meet the farmers and ask them about growing techniques and varieties.

Something extra: All proceeds go to support Common Ground Farm’s mission of food access and education.

Common Ground Farm Plant Sale, Corner of Cross and Main Streets, Beacon, NY; Rain location: Beacon Yoga Center, 464 Main St., Beacon, NY, Common Ground Farm Spring Plant Sale @Facebook.com

 

vendorsAnnual Lasdon Park Plant Sale
May 18, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. May 19,
10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Special preview for Friends of Lasdon Park and Arboretum: May 17, 6-8 p.m.

Plants for sale: A broad selection of colorful annuals, including many hard-to-find and popular favorites that are easy to plant and care for.

Family fun: Vendors selling crafts, food, gifts and other items.

Something extra: A special conservatory exhibit will feature blooming orchids and more. Admission is $7 for adults and $3 for children 12 and under. Tickets available at the Shop at Lasdon.

Lasdon Park, Arboretum and Veterans Memorial, 2610 Amawalk Rd. (Rte. 35), Somers, NY LasdonPark.org

 

 

 

Volunteers Sought to Get Farm-Fresh Food to Needy Families

 

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High School volunteers help prep the garden for the upcoming season

A newly piloted community supported agriculture (CSA) program in Mount Kisco, run by the nonprofit organization InterGenerate, is seeking volunteers to help distribute locally grown organic produce to neighbors in need.

“The intent of this CSA is to feed approximately 30 families who identify as food insecure. To bring this project to fruition, we need a team of volunteers to pick up produce from local farms, pack bags and drive them to drop-off locations in the area. Most of the tasks associated with this project will take place on a single day each week at our garden in Mount Kisco,” says Roseann Rutherford, co-founder of InterGenerate.

InterGenerate was launched in 2009 with the goal of creating a better world by providing opportunities to grow organic produce and expanding access to healthy food. It operates community gardens in Chappaqua, Katonah, Millwood and Mount Kisco, where produce is grown by members and volunteers.

With most InterGenerate gardens, members tend to their own plots and also work with other members to tend a Giving Garden, whose harvest is donated to the community. This year, however, InterGenerate has unveiled a new model of community gardening at the Ann Manzi Center in Mount Kisco. With this model, families will share the tasks of caring for the entire space, each family will take the produce it needs, and the rest of the harvest will be donated. The first workday for this garden will be May 4 at 10 a.m.

“This is a perfect model for beginning gardeners and busy people, as we will all share the experience of gardening without any one person feeling overburdened,” says Mey Marple, co-director of the project.

InterGenerate’s newly piloted CSA will help address the problem of food insecurity in Westchester. According to Feeding Westchester, one in five county residents will experience food insecurity this year. Using harvests from all their Giving Gardens and the communal garden at the ARC, as well as produce donated by or purchased from several surrounding farms, InterGenerate will distribute organic produce to those in need at very low cost. Any funds generated will be used to purchase locally grown food not grown by InterGenerate.

“With each new project, there is a need for more volunteers,” Rutherford says. “Anyone interested in helping to build community, feed neighbors in need and make this world a better place is encouraged to contact us.”

For more info, visit InterGenerate.net.

 

 

 

Farm-Fresh Local Food: CSAs get flexible with new features like choose-your-own produce, special add-ons and sliding-scale prices.

 

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Education Manager Ellie Limpert in one of three high tunnels at Poughkeepsie Farm Project

When people join a CSA (community supported agriculture) program—paying a local farm up-front for a season-long supply of produce—everybody wins. The farm benefits from the early investment. Members benefit from the nutritious produce (typically fresh picked and chemical free). The local economy benefits, and so does the environment (no toxic pesticides or long-haul trucks).

Buying produce through a CSA can also be cost-effective, especially now that many farms offer flexible plans that allow customers to buy just what they need. Best of all, CSAs build relationships between farmers and the neighbors they feed. CSAs are about community above all else.

Planting season is here, which means CSA signups have begun. Here are a few local farms that offer CSA programs.

 

Fable: From Farm to Table
fableLocated in historic Ossining, Fable is a farm and food hub dedicated to sustainable agriculture. The farm grows produce using organic practices and has pasture-raised chickens its CSA members can meet and feed.

“We believe that through dedication, hard work and modern technological advancements in agriculture, we can provide the freshest produce all year round without the use of harmful pesticides,” says owner Tom Deacon.

Last year Fable introduced its new CSA Farm Card, “with great reviews,” Deacon says. CSA members purchase a Farm Card that they can spend like cash throughout the year in the farm’s market, choosing their own produce—as much or as little as they’d like—over the course of the growing season. Weekly selections are simply subtracted from their credit balance.

A CSA membership helps support the farm during the colder months, and allows us to prepare for an abundant spring and summer harvest,” Deacon says.

Cost: $250-$1,000 for a CSA Farm Card.

What’s included? With the Farm Card, CSA members can purchase any item in Fable’s Market, including produce, eggs, honey and milk. The market is open on weekends year-round, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Fable: From Farm to Table, 1311 Kitchawan Rd., Ossining, NY. Info: FableFoods.com.

 

Harvest Moon Farm and Orchard
harvest20moonHarvest Moon Farm and Orchard, a family-owned and -operated apple orchard in North Salem, grows a variety of stone fruits and vegetables that it sells in its Farm Store and through its CSA. The owners, first-generation farmers, have expanded their harvest every year since opening for business in 2011.

“We are passionate about what we do,” says CSA Manager Todd Stevens. “Simply put, our goal is to supply our community with the freshest produce possible, directly from the farmer.” Harvest Moon grows its food using an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system, which means that organic fertilizers and pest controls are used whenever possible. All of Harvest Moon’s produce is planted and harvested by hand.

Cost: $325-$810. Customers can choose between 13-week and 18-week seasons, and half- or full-bushel shares.

What’s included? Produce typically available includes lettuce, chard, spinach, kale, peaches, nectarines, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, zucchini, melons, peppers, beets, corn, onions, squashes, apples, eggplant and potatoes. Each box includes a dozen farm-fresh eggs, and fresh-pressed sweet cider as available. CSA add-ons include milk, cheese and/or beef shares. A flower add-on includes a fresh, farm-grown bouquet every week for 12 weeks.

Harvest Moon Farm and Orchard, 130 Hardscrabble Rd., North Salem, NY. Info: 914.485.1210, HarvestMoonFarmAndOrchard.com.

 

Poughkeepsie Farm Project
projectPoughkeepsie Farm Project—a 12-acre organic farm whose produce is Certified Naturally Grown—has been connecting food, farm and community for 20 years.

“Not only are we a CSA operating on an urban farm, but we also annually donate 20 percent of our harvest to emergency food providers in the Hudson Valley,” says Ray Armater, executive director. “So in addition to supporting local, small-scale farming, our CSA members are also supporting the organization’s greater mission in the region.”

The farm’s flexible CSA model allows members to select their share size and the items in their share. They can also work with the farm crew for a discounted share, and go out into the fields to pick their own flowers, berries, cherry tomatoes, herbs, hot peppers and other produce. “Pick-your-own allows members and their families to engage with the farm, and it’s a great way for kids to get hands-on with helping to harvest and taste,” Armater says.

The CSA is unique in the amount of flexibility and choice it offers while still staying true to a traditional CSA model, he adds. Members can select 5 or 10 items from a choice of 14 to 20 different items each week. Produce is arranged farmers market-style, and is always harvested fresh and at peak ripeness for maximum nutrition and flavor.

Cost: $445-$885 for a weekly whole or half share (generally 12 to 18 pounds) for a 23-week season. Discounts for work share option.

What’s included? Produce throughout the season, with fruit shares available July through November and the option to purchase locally raised, grass-fed beef from Back Paddock Farm.

Poughkeepsie Farm Project, 51 Vassar Farm Ln., Poughkeepsie, NY. Info: 845.516.1100, FarmProject.org.

 

Ryder Farm
ryderCSA members at Ryder Farm, in Brewster, are helping support one of the oldest organic farms on the East Coast, as well as the larger mission of SPACE on Ryder Farm, a residency program for artists and activists. SPACE, which now oversees farm operations, will host a special “happy hour” pickup party for the first pickup of each month at the farm, where CSA members can mingle with each other and SPACE’s resident artists. A new, sliding-scale CSA has been introduced to ensure memberships are accessible to everyone in the community.

“We recognize that not everyone has access to the monetary resources to receive good, fresh food, but together with our CSA members, we have the capacity to make this possible,” says Farm Manager Doug DeCandia. “So starting this year, with our sliding scale membership, folks who can pay more do, while folks who cannot, pay what they can.”

Cost: $320-$1,150 for weekly or every other week shares, which can be picked up at Ryder Farm or in New York City. Sliding-scale price options available.

What’s included? Organic herbs and vegetables “from A to Z,” plus art created by friends and alumni of SPACE’s artist residency programs.

Ryder Farm, 406 Starr Ridge Rd., Brewster, NY. Info: 646.833.8159, SpaceOnRyderFarm.org/farm.

 

 

 

Ryder Farm Changes Management: SPACE assumes operations as Betsey Ryder retires

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SPACE on Ryder Farm interns with organic produce and plants to be sold starting in May

SPACE on Ryder Farm, the residency program for artists and activists, has assumed management of the organic farming operations at Ryder Farm, succeeding Betsey Ryder of Ryder Farm Cottage Industries, who retired at the end of the 2018 growing season after 40 years of farming. As part of the management shift, SPACE has launched a sliding-scale CSA (community supported agriculture) program.

Located on Starr Ridge Road in Brewster, Ryder Farm is one of the oldest family farms in the Northeast, first established by Eleazer Ryder in 1795. It was an early adopter in the organic movement. Betsey Ryder has been growing organic vegetables, herbs and flowers on the farm since 1978, following in the footsteps of her cousin Hall Gibson and five generations of Ryders before her. Betsey maintained the farm’s presence at the local Brewster market, as well as a robust CSA program, and worked to keep the farm’s 127 acres from being sold for development.

Keeping a Legacy Alive
Emily Simoness, a seventh-generation Ryder, co-founded SPACE in 2011 along with Susan Goodwillie. They created the nonprofit with the two-fold mission of providing time and space for artists and innovators to develop new work, while contributing to the sustainability and resourceful preservation of Ryder Farm.

Located on the grounds of the 224-year-old family homestead, SPACE creates an environment singular in its ability to invigorate artists and innovators and their work, says Simoness, its executive director. Each year, SPACE welcomes nearly 150 artists and activists to the farm for fully subsidized residencies of one to five weeks.

“Since SPACE’s founding, art and agriculture have been in concert on Ryder Farm,” she says. “At a time when family farms are being lost across the country due to economic pressures and the lack of succession plans, SPACE is deeply committed to ensuring Ryder Farm is still farming in another 224 years.”

“Emily arrived to the farm and saw the inspiration inherent in this land and created a vehicle for others to engage in the nurturing and cultivation of their craft,” says Betsey Ryder. “I am lifted by the enthusiasm of SPACE for taking on our agricultural legacy. I am confident that SPACE will grow upon the agricultural base and carry Ryder Farm to new heights.”

What’s New on the Farm
Farmers Jason McCartney and Doug DeCandia will lead farm operations at SPACE. As director of farming, McCartney brings nearly a decade of experience from across the East Coast, including Brookwood Community Farm in Massachusetts and Matunuck Farm in Rhode Island. Farm Manager DeCandia has worked extensively with the Food Bank for Westchester (now known as Feeding Westchester) as both a farmer and a food justice activist. He also previously worked at Ryder Farm in 2010, and says he’s happy to be returning now to work with SPACE.

In addition to stocking SPACE’s residency kitchen, produce from Ryder Farm will be available via sliding-scale CSA memberships. Weekly shares of vegetables and herbs will be available for pickup at the farm and in New York City from June to October. SPACE also will sell produce weekly at Ryder Farm’s roadside stand on Starr Ridge Road in Brewster.

To sign up for a 2019 CSA membership, visit SpaceOnRyderFarm.org/farm or, en Español, SpaceOnRyderFarm.org/granja. For more info, visit SpaceOnRyderFarm.org.

 

 

Eating Right, Made Easy: Skinny Buddha offers chef-designed, nutrition-packed meals to grab and go

skinny buddha

Elyce Jacobson and Shaka Taffawa

Finding a place to eat that is completely vegan, organic and gluten-free in Westchester is an unexpected delight. And that’s exactly what Skinny Buddha is—times two.

Elyce Jacobson and Shaka Taffawa, co-owners of Skinny Buddha Organic Café in Scarsdale and Skinny Buddha Organic Kitchen in Mount Kisco, say they created the business to give more people access to flavorful, nourishing food made from the best ingredients. Both locations offer a broad variety of fresh, healthy items, from smoothies and açaí bowls to hot and cold beverages, soups, salads, wraps, entrees and baked goods.

“Our most popular items are our açaí bowls, our hummus wrap and our kale salad,” Jacobson says. “Right now, though, our vegan chili and soup of the day have been a hit, due to the colder weather.”

While many restaurants are shaving calories off their menu items, Skinny Buddha is about creating delicious meals that pack a nutritional punch. Jacobson, a vegan and certified holistic health counselor trained in Ayurvedic nutrition, graduated from Peter Kump’s New York Cooking School and received further training at the Natural Gourmet Cooking School.

Taffawa is a certified personal trainer and fitness nutrition specialist.

With Skinny Buddha, Jacobson and Taffawa have made it easy to eat well. Both locations are cozy, with limited seating, so they specialize in quick service, whether through made-to-order, pre-ordered or prepackaged meals.

“Customers can pop in and order off the menu, grab pre-packaged items from our fridges or choose from a large selection of baked goods,” Jacobson says. “They also have the option of pre-ordering on our app. They can place their orders days in advance or for pick up within a 10-to-30-minute window.”

The made-to-order menu includes items like smoothies, açaí bowls, burgers, avocado toast and bagels with vegan cream cheese. Soups of the day are also available.

Customers with specific health goals rely on Skinny Buddha’s soup cleanse and custom-prepared meals, as well as its smoothie-based Skinny Fast Plan.

“Our soup cleanse is Ayurvedic by design,” Jacobson says. “It offers six 16-ounce mason jars of soup per day. All of them are vegetable based. Some are puréed and creamy in texture, while some have chunks of vegetables to satisfy the chew factor.”

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Assorted organic, vegan, gluten-free
baked goods at Skinny Buddha

Skinny Buddha will prepare one to three custom meals a day for clients, working within a specific calorie range and making sure the meals are macro and micro nutrient balanced. With the Skinny Fast Plan, customers can choose two smoothies per day from the five signature smoothies on the menu, and they also get a snack. “They provide their own dinner or pick something up from us,” Jacobson says.

Skinny Buddha also produces vegan, organic meals for corporate events and business meetings and caters “smoothie bars” for private parties.

Whatever the food, the guarantee is that it’s nutritious and all natural.

“We work with a few different organic produce purveyors,” Jacobson says. “If we can’t get it organic, we won’t buy it.”

Right now there are just two Skinny Buddha locations, although that might change if popular demand has any sway.

“Our customers are always asking us to open locations where they live,” Taffawa says. “We’ve probably been asked to open up in a hundred different towns.”

Skinny Buddha Organic Café 6 Depot Plaza, Scarsdale, NY Monday 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Tuesday-Friday 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; 914.472.9646 MySkinnyBuddha.com

Skinny Buddha Organic Kitchen 159 Lexington Ave., Mount Kisco, NY Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; 914.358.1666; MySkinnyBuddha.com