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

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fable to Hold Winter Farm Fest in Ossining

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Kristin and Tom Deacon with son Tucker

Fable: From Farm to Table, in Ossining, will hold its Winter Farm Fest on December 9. Guests can buy local crafts and food, feed the farm’s free-range chickens and take horse and carriage rides while enjoying a festive winter atmosphere. Owners Tom and Kristin Deacon say the festival will include many of the vendors who’ve attended previous farm events, as well as some new additions.

“The event’s Facebook page has already spiked interest in the local community,” Tom says. “Our second annual Fall Farm Fest was on September 23rd and hosted over 700 guests. People loved it. After hosting three farm festivals in the past—summer and fall—we received numerous requests for a winter event. So we’re thrilled to put a holiday theme on this farm fest, to bring the community together again to have fun and meet new local vendors and small businesses, many of which are family-run.”

For the Deacons, part of the fun is talking to people who have never been to the farm and introducing them to its recently launched Farm Card program.

“The program is similar to a CSA,” Tom says. “Guests can help support our farm going into the winter, when it matters most. We have some exciting new projects we’d like to work on throughout the winter, and this is a way for the community to rally together and support a super local organic farm with free-range chickens. It’s truly putting the C in CSA.”

The Deacons founded Fable: From Farm to Table because they wanted a source of healthy, nutrient-rich food for their own family.

“Our thinking was, we shouldn’t have to go out to a restaurant to see beautiful pink watermelon radishes, or to taste delicious, nutty sunflower shoots that pack some crunch,” Tom says. “We were also concerned about the harmful chemicals and pesticides in the food system.”

Since then, the farm has become a source of nutritious food for the wider community. Its free-range chickens alone have people flocking there to purchase its organic, pasture-raised eggs, Tom says.

“We now have over 200 chickens and still sell out every weekend,” he says. “It’s our hope that, with enough support from the local community, we can add an additional 300 chickens to our flock this winter. We hope to meet a lot of new, wonderful people at Winter Fest, and if they are able to become a CSA Member, they can help support the farm to reach our goal.”

Location: 1311 Kitchawan Rd. (Rte. 134), Ossining, NY. For more info, call 914.862.0205, email info@fablefoods.com or visit FableFoods.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Day Plant-Based Potluck in White Plains

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The White Plains Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation is hosting a free Plant-Based Pot Luck Thanksgiving Dinner from 1 to 4 p.m., November 22, at Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation. Anyone planning to attend should bring at least one plant-based dish ready to serve by 1 p.m.

The hope is to provide a place for celebration, nourishment and community, says Rev. LoraKim Joyner. “We will gather on this day to share gratitude for, and deepen our connection to, all earth’s beings. We do so by sharing a plant-based meal that nurtures our health and the earth. Not only will we dine well with tasty dishes shared, but we will have time for discussion and fireside storytelling.”

Location: 468 Rosedale Ave., White Plains, NY. To register, visit EventBrite.com and type “Giving Thanks” in the search bar. To volunteer or for more information, contact Doreen Rossi at doreenrossi@hotmail.com or Joyner at amoloros@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hudson Valley Vegfest Returns for Second Year

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Strolling the food aisle at HV Vegfest

The second annual Hudson Valley Vegfest will take place November 3 and 4, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days, in the 42,000-square-foot events space at Gold’s Fitness Center in Poughkeepsie. Sponsored by the Institute for Animal Happiness, this festival celebrates the benefits of vegan living and explores the issues that drive the vegan movement, from food justice to human health concerns to protecting animals and the environment.

Last year’s Vegfest drew 2,500 attendees, and organizers say the response is an indication of growing interest in veganism and plant-based options, as more people in the Hudson Valley become aware of the beneficial aspects of making these choices.

This year’s festival will feature more than 80 vendors—both local and from around the country—representing a wide array of products and services, including various vegan foods, chefs, authors and innovators, and businesses and nonprofit organizations devoted to change. The lineup of speakers and presentations includes voices from across the spectrum of inclusive and compassion-based activism, such as Alyssa Miller (Deafinitely Vegan); Michael Suchman and Ethan Ciment (Vegan Mos); Omowale Adewale (founder of Black Vegfest and GAMENYC); Carmen Ng and Evelyn Li (Ocka Treats); Robert Grillo (author and founder of Free From Harm); Scott David (Compassion Over Killing); Gretchen Primack (activist and poet); Heather Stadler (Official Fat Vegan); and Dr. Milton Mills (featured in the Netflix film What the Health).

And once again this year, Hudson Valley Vegfest will produce zero waste thanks to its partnership with local service Zero to Go. Only six bags of trash from last year’s festival went to the landfill; everything else was composted or recycled.

Among the festival sponsors are WAMC Northeast Public Radio, Radio Woodstock 100.1 WDST, MadeGood, Zero to Go, and Vegan and Animal Professionals Insurance.

Cost: $10 per ticket or $15 for a two-day pass. Children 10 and under free. Veterans $5 (cash at door only). Location: 258 Titusville Rd., Poughkeepsie, NY. For more info, visit HVVegfest.org or InstituteForAnimalHappiness.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Farm-Raised Heritage Turkeys Available at Harvest Moon

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Heritage turkeys at Harvest Moon Farm and Orchard

Harvest Moon Farm and Orchard, in North Salem, will soon be taking orders for fresh Thanksgiving turkeys. In addition to farm-raised heritage turkeys, the farm is also known for its fresh-picked apples, produce, eggs, grass-fed meat and cider donuts. It also serves breakfast and lunch seven days a week.

Raised on Harvest Moon’s “sister farm” in Hillsdale, the turkeys are antibiotic and hormone free and pasture raised, spending their entire lives outdoors, says Christine Covino, general manager of Harvest Moon. “Our turkeys are Broad Breasted Bronze, a well-known heritage breed raised for their superior quality and taste,” she says.

For the freshest meat possible, Covino recommends calling the store to reserve a turkey and arranging to pick it up a day or two before Thanksgiving. In addition, customers can reserve holiday pies, including apple, pumpkin, pecan, sweet potato and various fruit pies. Pumpkins, squashes, corn, beets, potatoes, eggplants, peppers and other produce are also available, all either grown onsite or sourced from neighboring farms.

Harvest Moon serves breakfast and lunch daily from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“Some of our most popular items are the Farmer’s Breakfast, which is bacon, egg and cheese on a ciabatta, our grass-fed Farmer’s Burger and other assorted sandwiches and wraps,” Covino says. “Customers can take their food to go or enjoy their breakfast or lunch right on the farm.”

Location: 130 Hardscrabble Road, North Salem, NY. For more info, visit HMOrchard.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family-Friendly Fall Farm Fest in Ossining

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Tom and Kristin Deacon of Fable: From Farm to Table

Fable: From Farm to Table, in Ossining, will hold its Fall Farm Fest on September 23, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. With its family-friendly activities and prices—admission is $3, and children under 5 are free—the festival is an opportunity for parents and kids to get outdoors together and celebrate the autumn harvest season.

Visitors can take part in arts and crafts for all ages; hear live music; try a variety of culinary treats, including grilled fare, hearty dishes and baked goods from local shops and food trucks; buy farm-fresh produce grown in Westchester County; enter a raffle drawing (no need to be present to win); listen to live music; and try some Yoga at the Farm. They can also feed Fable’s chickens, tour its hydroponic greenhouse and pick a pumpkin and take family photos in the pumpkin patch.

Tom Deacon, Fable’s owner, says the Fall Farm Fest is a fun way to remind people of the benefits of eating sustainably. “We would like to make local and organic farming the norm,” he says. “Not only can we grow food that is delicious to eat, it is the medicine that will make you healthier as well.”

Fable: From Farm to Table is located at 1311 Kitchawan Rd. (Rte. 134), Ossining, NY. For more info, call 914.862.0205 or visit FableFoods.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Farm-to-Table Dinner at Hilltop Hanover Farm

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Farm-to-Table Dinner at Hilltop Hanover Farm

Hilltop Hanover Farm, a nonprofit farm and education center in Yorktown Heights, will hold its fourth annual Farm-to-Table Dinner on September 27. Held every fall, this event serves as a both a fundraiser and a celebration of local and sustainable agriculture, says Farm Director Shanyn Siegel.

The evening will include a cocktail hour, a three-course dinner, music and a silent auction. The main meal, prepared by Chef Jon Pratt of Peter Pratt’s Inn and featuring seasonal produce grown on the farm, will be served under a tent on the main lawn with dramatic views over the farm fields.

“For the past three years, this has been a very special evening for the community to come together over a delicious meal and show our commitment to advancing sustainable agriculture,” Siegel says. “We are thrilled to once again have this event on our calendar, and we can’t wait to see familiar and new faces join us at the table.”

In addition to being a CSA (community-supported agriculture) farm with a retail farm stand, Hilltop Hanover Farm offers education programs for adults and school groups and is open to the public as a demonstration farm.

Tickets to Hilltop Hanover Farm’s Farm-to-Table Dinner are on sale now. For more info, visit HilltopHanoverFarm.org or call 914.962.2368.