Fable Farm in Westchester Launches Barnraiser Campaign

fableFable, a small farm in Ossining, has launched a Barnraiser campaign to raise $15,000 to expand its sustainable operations. The farm grows and sells produce for farmers’ markets, the New York Presbyterian/Hudson  Valley Hospital, Turco’s in Yorktown Heights, and its Farmstand.
Located off Route 134 near the Taconic State Parkway, Fable grows crops year-round in a hydroponic greenhouse. Among its specialties are herbs, leafy greens, tomatoes, squash, garlic and eggs. The goal of the Barnraiser campaign is to help make healthy, sustainable farming the norm by pioneering the next generation of responsibly grown food and humanely raised chickens. By raising $15,000, Fable could double field production, install a cold storage room, construct beehives and lengthen the chicken field to accommodate 300 free-range chickens for fresh organic eggs.
The Barnraiser campaign ends December 9, 2016 at 9 p.m. Donators can pledge any amount, although “rewards” are listed at specified levels. If Fable does not reach its $15,000 goal, it will not receive any of the funds and donators will not be charged. Find the campaign at Barnraiser.us/projects/help-us-grow-the-farm.

For more info, visit FableFoods.com.

Hayfields Market Is “A New Take on an Old Store”

hayfields-customersHayfields Market, which opened last year in North Salem, is “a new take on an old store,” says co-owner Renea Dayton. It serves breakfast and lunch every day and sells provisions and other goodies, and its menu is a blend of traditional (classic sandwiches and fresh-baked goods) and and modern (world-class Illy coffee and espresso). Or as Dayton puts it, “We have free Wi-Fi, free dog treats and free carrots for your horse.”

The owners, who live locally, get their inspiration from the many hayfields all around town, Dayton says, and their goal is to keep prices reasonable and quality high. Hayfields serves hyper-local products from several bakers and farmers in the North Salem area, as well as local foods from a partnership with Hudson Valley Harvest. It offers a variety of gluten-free and some vegan options. “The gluten-free cheese roll has become a highlight for any sandwich on the menu,” Dayton says.

Although Hayfields is typically known for its summer business, the store will be open all winter long. In preparation for the holidays, the market is taking orders for fresh, locally raised turkeys. It also stocks a variety of seasonal candles and coffee table books for holiday gifts. Show them this news brief for a complimentary coffee or espresso.

Hayfields Market is located at the corner of Bloomer Road and Route 121, at 1 Bloomer Rd., North Salem. For more info, visit HayfieldsMarket.com or call 914.669.8275

Organic Health Food Store Opens in Lower Westchester

green-organic-market-insideGreen Organic Market, an independently owned health food store with a mission to offer high-quality items at competitive prices, is now open on Central Avenue in Hartsdale, NY.

The new store offers a wide variety of natural and organic products, including all-organic produce as well as highly rated supplements and personal-care products at a deep discount. It has a juice bar and a deli with vegan and vegetarian options, including fresh-squeezed juices and an assortment of sandwiches and salads. According to the owner, staff members are experienced and trained to assist customers with all their supplement and nutritional needs. The market provides free limited delivery service within five miles and with a $50 minimum purchase.

Store hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.

Green Organic Market is located at 275 S. Central Ave. (Mid-Central Plaza, near Dunkin Donuts), Hartsdale. For more info, call 914.437.5802.

BeWies Expands Its Fresh-Baked Gluten-Free Menu

BeWies baked goodsWhen BeWies Holistic Market and health food store began offering baked-from-scratch gluten-free cinnamon muffins a few months ago, the response was so great that Amy Berman and Julie Wiesen, the mother-daughter team that owns BeWies, decided to add even more fresh-baked, gluten-free fare.

“We are now baking gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, carrot breakfast muffins and banana breakfast muffins,” Wiesen says, “and are continuing to expand our assortment of gluten-free baked goods for customers to eat here or take home.”

She says their favorite part of their job is meeting new customers, and since they’ve introduced their gluten-free menu they’ve had plenty of new customers who come into the store having been diagnosed with an illness or food sensitivities requiring a special diet. “We’re able to work with them to help them select foods that support their health and nutritional goals,” she says. “We’re also constantly working with our produce suppliers to bring in the most local, seasonal and delicious fruits and vegetables. We use the produce to make fresh salads daily that are vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free.”

 BeWies Holistic Market is located at 430 Bedford Rd., Armonk, NY, in the Moderne Barn Plaza. For more information, call 914.273.9437 or visit BeWies.com.

 

Second Chance Foods is Reducing Waste and Hunger Locally

by Julianne Hale

Alison and Second Chance Foods 2Ask any urban American eight-year-old where their food comes from and you will get a quick response: the grocery store. Thanks to the unprecedented efficiency of food production and distribution in the U.S., Americans tend to take their food for granted, leaving it in the refrigerator to rot and buying much more than we can possibly eat. This tendency has resulted in record levels of food waste, something that Executive Director of Second Chance Foods Inc. Alison Jolicoeur takes very seriously. “I was inspired after watching Last Week Tonight with John Oliver on HBO. He did an in-depth segment on food waste and I was blown away when I learned that 40 percent of the food produced in this country ended up in the garbage,” she says. “I was truly inspired to take action and become a part of the solution.”

Jolicoeur’s solution was to create Second Chance Foods Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to rescuing healthy unsold, unserved and aesthetically imperfect food and distributing it in an effort to reduce food waste and hunger. “We work to recover food from the waste stream and upcycle it back into the distribution stream,” explains Jolicoeur. “We pick up food from grocery stores, farms and other purveyors and distribute it directly to soup kitchens, food pantries and shelters. We are currently operating in southern Dutchess and northern Westchester counties.”

While a 40 percent food waste rate is a disturbing reality, the number grows even more daunting when the hunger rate in the U.S. is taken into consideration. “One in six Americans is food insecure, which is really a politically correct and watered-down way of saying they’re hungry. They don’t know where their next meal is coming from. That is 50 million people in our country that are hungry, including more than 15 million children,” contends Jolicoeur. “Reducing food waste by only 15 percent would provide enough food to feed 25 million people in the U.S. each year, half of the estimated number of hungry people in our country.”

Hunger is not the only ethical issue associated with food waste. There are serious environmental consequences to tossing out so much food. “Landfills have been identified by the Environmental Protection Agency to be the largest source of methane gas and a large portion of the organic waste in landfills is, in fact, food waste,” Jolicoeur says.

The environmental cost doesn’t stop with landfills. She explains, “We are disconnected from the whole process—all of the resources that go into the production of food: the water, the human power, the gasoline for transportation and electricity for refrigeration. And then there is the bigger picture: the sunlight, the moonlight, the rain, the nutrients in the soil and the animals—it’s all wasted when we throw away food.”

Jolicoeur emphasizes the financial loss associated with wasting food as well. “When you throw away food, you are also throwing away money and, for many, that will be the greatest motivating factor,” she says.

Alison and Second Chance Foods In her work at Second Chance Foods Inc., Jolicoeur attempts to alleviate the environmental, financial and human cost associated with the high rate of discarded food in this country but she can only do so much. She encourages individuals and families to conserve food in their homes using simple, common-sense suggestions. “One simple tip is to utilize your freezer. If you see there are leftovers that you aren’t going to get to in time, simply freeze them,” she suggests. “Having a clear menu plan when shopping and sticking to it can be helpful, as well as purchasing food for a couple of days rather than the whole week.”

In addition to running Second Chance Foods Inc., Jolicoeur is also a health coach. This has made her a passionate advocate for healthy food choices and connecting with the source of food. “What we eat, we become,” she explains. “Our food is the information that makes up our cells. We need to remember that we are connected to our food and the earth and to each other. When we really connect with that truth, perhaps we will value our food more and waste less.”

Second Chance Foods is currently raising money to purchase its first refrigerated truck to help make food stretch further. “We will continue to work daily and weekly to expand our network of donors and recipients so we can rescue more food and feed more people,” says Jolicoeur. “As a country, food waste is one problem I know we can solve if we raise awareness and take action by supporting organizations that are addressing the issue, either financially or by volunteering and committing on a personal level to reducing waste in the home. Together we can make a difference.”

For more information or to make a tax-deductible donation to Second Chance Foods Inc., visit SecondChanceFoods.org or Facebook.com/secondchancefoods.

 

 

 

The Farm at Holmes: A 20-Year Vision of Sustainability

David FrostThe first community supported agriculture crop was grown at the Farm at Holmes—a farm school and community farm on the Putnam-Dutchess County border—after the unusually mild winter of 2011-12. The 40 families that enjoyed new access to fresh, naturally grown produce that season probably never imagined how much the farm itself would grow in just four years. This April, as a new CSA season opens at the farm, members will begin picking up their weekly shares from a much larger operation, including two greenhouses, three hoop houses, two acres of garden space, a sugaring shed for syrup, and even laying hens and pigs that help turn and fertilize fallow soil.

 

An idea takes root

It might seem that the Farm at Holmes sprung up quickly, but the groundwork for the farm was laid 20 years ago, when David Frost helped establish a CSA program at Cascade Farm in Patterson. A few years later, the farm established a farm school program, hosting school groups from the local area as well as New York City.

IMG_0951 Students of all ages would visit to witness a small working farm firsthand, and they were given age-appropriate lessons and tasks to help them see how food could be grown locally and sustainably. Younger students could pet a baby goat or watch newly hatched chicks play. Older students would help with farm chores—planting, weeding, harvesting and tending to the farm animals—and then help prepare a meal for themselves based on the food they had harvested.

By the time it closed in 2011, Cascade Farm had hosted 600 to 800 students a year while providing for a 100-member CSA.

 

Planting a new project

Early in 2012, Frost, who was pastor at the Patterson Community Church, was invited to establish a similar project at the Holmes Presbyterian Camp, not far from the site of the original farm. The 550-acre property, the site of the original Peter Kent farm, is set among forests, three lakes, cliffs, trails and wetlands in the hill country of northern Putnam and southern Dutchess Counties, in the lower Hudson River Valley. It supports two year-round conference centers, three year-round retreat cabins, two seasonal youth facilities, a rustic camping program, several tent/trailer and day group areas and an environmental science and arts program.

Motivated by a deep commitment to sustainable farming coupled with a passion for food and environmental justice issues, Frost agreed to begin a farm at the new site. With the help of Margaret Wilder, a farm school educator at Cascade, and a host of volunteers, he established the Farm at Holmes. By the spring of 2012, there were working gardens, the Farm at Holmes had a small greenhouse, a tent, a tool shed and a fledgling CSA membership.

Instead of waiting for the farm to be fully functional before bringing students in, Frost decided to incorporate lessons about establishing a new farm into discussions with visiting students and groups. This time he was able to integrate new ideas and more sustainable technologies, giving birth to the farm’s Center for Sustainable Living Education.

 

Harvesting hope

Students can visit in the spring (new plants and baby animals) or the fall (full gardens and harvests). Younger students enjoy an educational tour and hands-on activities, while older ones can visit for a full day or overnight to more fully appreciate the rhythm of a working farm. These older students help plan farm projects, assist with chores, prepare their own meals from the gardens and discuss food justice issues and the impact that food decisions will have in their own lives. In the summer, the Holmes camp offers typical summer activities as well as a visit to the farm, where campers help with chores or harvest food that will be used in the camp kitchen.

Visitors to the farm also learn a lot about sustainability. The farm uses a solar collecting shed to heat water for its greenhouses, collects rainwater runoff for irrigation, uses wood milled on site from local trees for projects, and makes its own compost. Future plans include using solar and geothermal heating in the greenhouses to extend the farm’s growing season and its CSA offerings into the late fall, and eventually into four-season farming.

Last year the farm had 55 CSA share members and hosted 480 students at the Center for Sustainable Living Education (“the Farm School”). It will continue to model and teach the basic principle of sustainability: meeting the needs of the present without compromising our ability to meet those same needs in the future—and maybe even leaving our place in the world a little better than we found it.

CSAs are now available for purchase at the Farm at Holmes for the spring and summer season, which runs from April through September. For more info, visit TheFarmAtHolmes.org, email TheFarm@HolmesCamp.org or call 845.548.6117.

Read more Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess NY local, natural food news on WakeUpNaturally.com

 

Pastoral Life on Harvest Moon Pastures in Westchester

Harvest-Moon

by Christine Covino

Harvest Moon Farm and Orchard might be located on Hardscrabble Road, but life on this family farm is anything but hardscrabble for the cows that graze its rolling pastureland.

Located in North Salem, Harvest Moon produces grass-fed beef year-round from cows raised right on the farm. While it is not certified organic yet, Harvest Moon practices organic and natural farming methods.

The animals live very peaceful lives—they’re outside, free to graze, 365 days a year. During the colder months they eat hay the family has harvested from its own fields. They drink water from the same well system that provides drinking water to the homes and retail store on the property, and they do not get any grain or other supplements except for a salt lick and an occasional apple as a treat in the fall.

The farm keeps two separate herds, Scottish Highlands and Red Devons, the latter of which are a new addition and won’t be ready for a year or so. The Highland beef, which is currently in stock at the farm’s country store, is extremely lean—there’s almost no “bad” or saturated fat, given the animals’ diet. Beef that is 100 percent grass-fed is loaded with nutrients, especially omega-3 fatty acids, and it has fewer calories than conventionally raised meat, making it a much healthier option.

The Highland cows at Harvest Moon live for two or three years before slaughter—ample time for them to develop and grow on a natural schedule. In fact, the cows live at least twice as long as their conventionally raised, mass-produced counterparts, as they are allowed to mature without the use of growth hormones, antibiotics and fatty grain to speed up the process.

Inevitably, naturally raised beef is more expensive than mass-produced beef. The corn that factory farms use as animal feed costs less than grass, and the sheer amount of land required to give the herd a constant grass supply is staggering when compared to the cramped, unsanitary feedlot quarters of conventional beef cattle. So given their cows’ longer lifespans, more expensive feed and greater land usage, small, family-owned farms like Harvest Moon spend a great deal more money raising them. That’s why grass-fed beef has a higher price point when it goes to market.

Harvest Moon sells grass-fed beef throughout the year at its country store, which will be open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through March 19 and then seven days a week, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Soon the farm will be selling shares of bulk beef and pork, all raised on site. Those interested can call or email the farm for more information.

Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard is located at 130 Hardscrabble Rd., North Salem, NY. For more info, call 914.485.1210 or visit HarvestMoonFarmAndOrchard.com.