Mycological Society Leads Area Mushroom Walks

mushroom

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.​

 

Volunteers Sought to Get Farm-Fresh Food to Needy Families

 

farm fresh

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.

 

 

 

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.”

baked

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