Mark Bittman to Speak at Bedford 2020 Food Forum

b20-foodforum-emailart-v3On March 4, 2017, Hudson Valley residents are invited to celebrate local food, farming and cooking at the first Bedford 2020 Food Forum, featuring two “food-world rock stars”—New York Times food journalist Mark Bittman and sustainable food pioneer Michel Nischan, a three-time winner of the James Beard Award.

An event for all community members—home gardeners, chefs, cooks, teens, parents, activists, health-conscious individuals, or anyone who wants to learn more about local food—the forum will be held March 4 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Fox Lane High School on Route 172 in Bedford. Participants can engage with experts about our food system and the benefits of local farms and food, and explore initiatives to eliminate food waste and increase food distribution to the needy.

The Bedford 2020 Food Forum was born out of an overwhelming desire from community members to come together to learn, meet the stakeholders and share information about the local food scene in Northern Westchester and surrounding areas,” says forum Co-Chair Olivia Farr. “Our goal is for each attendee to leave the event with inspiring information and one or two specific action plans relevant to their own personal food, health and community priorities.”

The event is organized around four central food themes: Eat (celebrating and advocating for local food, and exploring strategies for better local cooking); Buy (exploring ways to evaluate, purchase and afford local foods; Grow (learning how to cultivate a backyard harvest); and Share (learning about local food security and accessibility, eliminating food waste and how to get involved and help throughout the community).

The keynote presenters will set the stage for the event’s themes of local food and taking action. The opening session will feature Bittman, a renowned author and self-proclaimed guru in “making food in all its aspects understandable.” Later, a general session will be led by Nischan, who founded Wholesome Wave, a leading organization aimed at ensuring affordable, healthy, local food for all.

“We are thrilled to provide the opportunity for community members to interact with these eminent thought leaders in the world of food. Both Mark and Michel bring an incredible depth of knowledge, a deep passion for local food and a unique ability to help individuals make beneficial food choices in line with their own personal goals,” says forum Co-Chair Karen Simons.

The Bedford 2020 Food Forum will also offer dynamic interactive workshops and expert panel discussions on the subjects of Buy, Eat, Grow and Share. Among the topics are The Skinny on What’s Really in Our Food; The Inside Scoop on Shopping a Farmers’ Market Like a Chef; Increasing Healthy Food in Our Schools; How to Get Involved With and Drive Food Policy; Local Success Stories in Feeding the Hungry Among Us; Backyard Bees and Chickens; and The History of the Food Movement in Our Area.

“With nearly twenty workshops, there will be something for everyone,” Simons notes. “A special set of workshops will be tailored to high school students who want to learn about topics from being a food justice leader to careers in food and agriculture.”

The Bedford 2020 Food Forum Expo, a hands-on display and learning venue, will feature an indoor famers’ market, live cooking demonstrations, a book corner, gardening and composting demonstrations, and lively discussion around food health, sustainable food systems, food justice advocacy, food waste and more.

“We anticipate over 50 expo booths at the food forum,” says Bedford 2020 Program Manager Ellen Calves. “The selection criteria for expo participants requires they provide a highly experiential, hands-on opportunity for people to dig in to local food.”

The $25 admission price includes keynote sessions, three self-selected workshops, the expo and a lunch made from seasonal local food. Students are admitted free, and scholarship tickets are available.

This event is anticipated to sell out. Purchase tickets at Bedford2020.org/foodforum. For more information, email Info@Bedford2020.org or call 914.620.2411.

 

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.

SOUP’S HOT at Local Neighborhood Eateries

Pumpkin soup on served tableby Rinku Bhattacharya

Cold, snowy days bring with them the joys of celebrating home and hearth, indulging in warm and satisfying meals, and taking time to pause over a steaming bowl of soup. When done right, a good bowl of soup will warm the body and give you the much-needed nourishment to keep you healthy through the winter. In perusing local offerings, we found enough diverse and delicious soups to keep us nourished and happy. Neighborhood eateries are right up there when it comes to providing you a good bowl of soup, and often they are the next best thing to making the soup yourself.

Here is a short list of some of our favorite soup spots.

Bread Alone: Located in Rhinebeck, this European-style café offers more than just bread. It also brings to your table a good selection of breakfast offerings, salads and comforting soups that are perfectly complemented by their assorted breads (my personal favorite being the whole-wheat sourdough). The bakery is usually a common fixture in area farmers’ markets and is committed to working with locally procured ingredients.

45 E. Market St., Rhinebeck, NY; 845.876.3108

 

Ladle of Love: Located in Mount Kisco, this farm-to-table food shop has its roots in the simple, nourishing soups that proprietress Leslie Lampert initially made for two friends who were battling breast cancer, and later for Millwood, NY, firefighters working at Ground Zero after 9/11. Her menu offers a diverse selection of handcrafted soups and stews, ranging from her signature chicken and dumplings to hearty vegetarian offerings such as the Tuscan tomato, as well as salads and paninis for the “grab and go” customer. Café of Love, an award-winning farm-to-table bistro, is located above the food shop, while the newly launched Love On The Run delivers Ladle’s food to customers all over Westchester County. In keeping with its original mission, Ladle of Love continues to support local charities and community efforts each month.

11B South Moger Ave., Mount Kisco, NY; 914.242.9661

Skinny Buddha: Also located in Mount Kisco, the Skinny Buddha offers a fresh, clean approach to food and cooking, with healthy daily menus that offer organic soups that are usually vegan and gluten-free. The rest of their menu consists of salads that have optional add-ons for meat or sustainable seafood, such as their tantric tuna salad. The emphasis here is on a wholesome approach to eating and a natural lifestyle, with a mission to help people change the way they eat.

159 Lexington Ave., Mount Kisco, NY; 914.666.9646

 

Jolo’s Kitchen: Our fourth find for good and hearty soup is in New Rochelle. This family-owned business dishes up comforting vegan food straight from the heart. Whether you are in the mood for the hot soup of the day or want to try your luck at the raw cashew and vegetable bowl, this place is the spot for a delicious, plant-based bite. Their menu encompasses small plates, soups and entrées, all prepared with fresh and sustainable ingredients.

412 North Ave., New Rochelle, NY; 914.355.2527

 

Now Serving Fall Soups at The Blue Pig in Croton-on-Hudson, NY

Yummy, with locally-sourced ingredients

Blue PigCrisp autumn days and nights call for Thai Butternut Squash Soup, a popular recipe from The Blue Pig restaurant in Croton-on-Hudson. “It’s a vegan soup that uses fall harvest butternut squash,” says Blue Pig owner Lisa Moir. “It’s thick, creamy and perfectly spiced.” The restaurant adds three homemade soups to the menu beginning the second week of October. They’ll be locally sourced from such producers as Hilltop Hanover, Do Re Me and Daisy Hill farms, and a vegetarian option will be available each day. The soups will be available in pints and quarts for taking home, or diners can enjoy them in the Blue Pig’s brick courtyard. “Along with new LED lights, we have purchased outdoor patio heaters so we can sit outside in comfort even if there’s a chill in the air.” says Moir. Hmmm…soup first and ice cream second, anyone?

 

Thai Butternut Squash Soup

2 T coconut oil

2 medium sized onions

3 cloves garlic (minced)

1 T minced ginger

1 T curry powder

1 T turmeric

2 c. water or veggie broth

1 large (3 lb.) squash

1 t salt

1 14 oz. can coconut milk

2 T lemon juice

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice squash lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Place squash cut side down on oiled sheet. Roast for 30 to 40 min., turning every 15 min. until soft with some browning on top. Cool and scoop out flesh.

Sauté onions, garlic and ginger in oil for 5 min. Sprinkle in curry and turmeric, cook another min.

Pour in broth and bring to boil. Add in squash and salt, simmering for 10 min.

Add coconut milk and simmer 5 more min. Add lemon juice and puree the mixture. For a thinner consistency, add more broth or water.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream.

 

The Blue Pig is located at 121 Maple St. in Croton-on-Hudson, NY. For more information, call 914.271.3850 and visit TheBluePigIceCream.com.