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

 

fresh starts

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

 

 

 

Farm-to-Table Dinner at Hilltop Hanover Farm

table

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plant Based Meetup Dinner on May 18

jeanne-3e1a29af

Jeanne Schumacher

Plant Based–Westchester, a pod group for the grassroots movement inspired by the movie Plant Pure Nation, is having a Meetup dinner on May 18, from 6 to 9 p.m., at Eda’s Garden, located at 1871 Commerce Drive in Yorktown Heights. Jeanne Schumacher founded the group three years ago, to inspire people to change their health destiny by adopting a whole-foods, plant-based lifestyle and reducing the toxins in their life. “We’ve done potlucks, movies, cooking demos and lectures on plant-based living,” she says. “I’m passionate about making a difference in the lives of others by teaching them practical ways to improve their health.”

Chef John from Eda’s Garden will prepare a salt-, sugar- and oil-free meal for the evening: a falafel slider, a veggie slider, a jackfruit slider and a drop cookie for $12. However, people can order whatever they want, Schumacher says. “The falafel is so good, the banana crepe is beyond amazing, and everything is organic.” Participants should bring a plant-based dessert to share (visit StarchQueens.net for recipe ideas).

Banana crepe at Eda's“After dinner, Chef John will do a cooking demo on how to make a slider,” Schumacher says. “After the cooking event, we will talk and share recipes and positive health changes that we’ve seen. It is a wonderful get-together.”

For more info, email JeanneSchumacher@gmail.com. Space is limited. To reserve a spot, call the restaurant at 914.352.6280.

 

 

 

 

Something for Everyone: “Clean” Food Becomes Comfort Food at Eda’s Garden

chefs

When Adil Mustafaraj opened Eda’s Garden, a new café-style restaurant in Yorktown, he refused to limit himself to a certain type of menu. He and his wife had found inspiration from many restaurants they’d visited over the years—vegan, farm-to-table, kid-friendly, organic, diet-specific—and he wanted to borrow from all of them to deliver comfort food in a casual setting.

He knew he’d found the person to bring his vision to life when Jonathan Gonzales answered his ad for executive chef. It was a Sunday afternoon, and Gonzales came in and quickly mixed up five salad dressings and then a full three-course meal for Mustafaraj and some friends.

Mustafaraj was impressed with Gonzales’s skills in the kitchen, and Gonzales was excited by Mustafaraj’s vision. The menu ideas started flowing.

They decided to make most items plant-based, so that customers who are vegan or can’t eat animal proteins can enjoy them. Any animal products used would be of the highest quality possible, such as free-range organic chicken, wild sockeye salmon, local eggs and organic whole milk.

“We want to make everyone feels welcome and taken care of,” Gonzales says.

Hence a broad variety of food and drinks, from homemade soups made fresh daily (veggie chili, “cream” of potato made with coconut milk, broccoli “cheddar” made with cashew, several bean soups); to organic smoothies (the Green Monster is made of kale, mango, dates, spirulina and almond milk); to fresh organic juices (like the Road Runner, which is pineapple, spinach, kale, pear and cayenne pepper); to hot teas (chamomile, earl grey, green, chai, hibiscus) and cold tea blends (chai master, berry burst, lean green).

Then there’s Eda’s Garden’s very own footlong: the XL Falafel Wrap. “That’s a big seller,” Mustafaraj says. “It’s homemade, gluten-free, baked chickpea falafel pieces in a 100 percent lentil wrap, with hummus.”

In keeping with its inclusive mission, the restaurant is also developing a kids’ menu. So far it has four items: Mac ’N’ Cheese, Little Dippers, Kids’ Parfait and Mediterranean Snack Pack. It even has Taco Tuesday (three tacos for $12).

While Gonzales is constantly introducing new menu items, he’s also paying particular attention to diet-specific needs, keeping everything gluten-free and keeping oil to a minimum.

“You can love what you eat and still have it be healthy,” he says. Mustafaraj nods. “Our food is delicious because we love what we do—and cook with love and care.” Food is available for eat-in or takeout, and catering and delivery are available with a minimum $30 order.

Eda’s Garden, located at 1871 Commerce St., Yorktown Heights, NY, is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more info, call the restaurant at 914.352.6280 or visit EdasGarden.com or Facebook.com/EdasGarden.

 

Best Thing I Ever Ate … Healthy, Yummy Menu Selections in Westchester, NY

Oaxacan Chicken Burrito
Oaxacan Chicken Burrito

To celebrate this season of abundant, fresh, delicious food, Natural Awakenings asked the owners of two local farm-to-table restaurants to name their favorite thing on the menu. Here’s what they said:

 

 

Tomatillo in Dobbs Ferry

“This is a tough question, since I love just about everything on both of my menus. But if I had to choose, I’d go with the item that I probably eat the most: our Oaxacan Chicken Burrito. I add guacamole to the burrito and just love the combination of the bright lime guacamole contrasting with the roasted, chocolaty taste of our mole negro. This mole is my own recipe with all of my favorite ingredients, including three types of dried chiles, almonds, prunes, plantains and, of course, some chocolate. Moles go great with our marinated chicken. Add some seasoned brown rice, creamy black beans and melted Monterey Jack cheese, and you are living large. It is my favorite burrito, hands down and mouths open, as we like to say here.”

– David Starkey, owner of Sweet Grass Grill and Tomatillo Restaurant.

 

Tomatillo

Mexchester.com

13 Cedar Street, Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522

914.478.2300

 

Sweet Grass Grill

SweetgrassGrill.com

24 Main Street, Tarrytown, NY 10591

914.631.0000

 

 

Thyme in Yorktown Heights

“One of best things on the menu at Thyme is our gluten-free crab cakes. You wouldn’t even know that they’re void of gluten! We take juicy lump crabmeat and combine it with sautéed vegetables, gluten-free breadcrumbs and a gluten-free pale ale. Add some spice, form the patties and you’re good to go. It’s a simple recipe, yet full of flavor and much more health conscious than the average crab cake.”

– Tom Costello, Executive Chef and owner of Thyme, who shares his crab cake recipe with Natural Awakenings readers:

Thyme Crab Cake Final

 Gluten-Free Crab Cakes

by Tom Costello, Executive Chef and owner of Thyme

Ingredients:

1 lb. lump crabmeat

1½ garlic cloves, diced

½ small red bell pepper, diced

½ small green bell pepper, diced

½ small orange bell pepper, diced

1 small shallot, diced

1 small Vidalia onion, diced

3 oz. Steadfast Sorghum Pale Ale (gluten-free)

½ cup gluten-free bread crumbs

4 eggs, beaten

4 oz. mayonnaise

1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. onion powder

gluten-free flour for breading (such as Bob’s Red Mill brand)

salt and pepper
 

Directions:

Clean crabmeat, taking care to remove all shells

In a sauté pan on medium heat, sweat garlic, peppers, shallot and Vidalia onion in canola oil for about 6 minutes

Combine the breadcrumbs with Steadfast Sorghum Pale Ale to moisten

To breadcrumb mixture, add crab meat, garlic and vegetables along with 1 egg, mayonnaise, mustard, Old Bay seasoning, garlic and onion powders

Use 2 oz. of the crab mixture to form crab cakes

Prepare 3 bowl dredging station. In bowl 1, place flour and add salt and pepper to taste; in bowl 2, place the beaten eggs; in bowl 3, place the bread crumbs

Dust each crab cake lightly in the flour mixture, then the egg mixture and lastly the breadcrumbs

Fry in sauté pan with canola oil over medium high heat until golden brown on each side.

 

Thyme, 3605 Crompond Road,

Yorktown Heights, NY

914.788.8700, ThymeRestaurant.net

Farm, Meet Table: CSAs Bring Crops into Our Kitchens

Farm, Meet Table

CSAs Bring Crops into Our Kitchens

by Allison Gorman
Hilltop Hanover Farm and Environmental Center

Hilltop Hanover Farm and Environmental Center

Here’s a prediction: This summer, hundreds of local families will eat enough fresh produce to topple the food pyramid. They’ll experiment with recipes for edamame or turnips or beets. And their kids will try their veggies without being prodded.

These are the members of CSAs—Community Supported Agriculture—small farms that presell shares of the season’s harvest to the public. The burgeoning CSA movement has done wonders for the lifestyle of members, who get weekly helpings of a wide variety of fresh, chemical-free produce; save money by cooking at home more frequently; and feel fully vested in the meals they prepare and eat.

But CSA members aren’t the only beneficiaries of this arrangement. Local economies benefit, as more small farms adopt the CSA model to stay economically viable while staying true to their mission of responsible, hands-on agriculture. And the earth benefits, too, as more people choose to eat seasonally and locally (less produce trucked in from far away) and sustainably (fewer pesticides and other pollutants in the soil and water).

 

Sustaining Tradition

Elizabeth Ryder, owner of Ryder Farm Cottage Industries in Brewster, NY, says its CSA members aren’t just sustaining the earth by buying shares of the farm’s certified organic produce—they’re sustaining centuries of tradition.

“Membership in our CSA provides direct support to local agriculture and helps in keeping the history of a family farm that dates back to 1795,” she says.

Though CSAs are a modern trend, many of them operate on farms with a similarly rich history. Fishkill Farms in Hopewell Junction, NY, is a historic apple orchard that has been in the Morgenthau family for nearly 100 years. Hilltop Hanover Farm and Environmental Center, now a working crop farm and environmental education facility in Yorktown Heights, NY, is a former dairy farm whose roots reach back to the 1600s.

 

Eco-Friendly Farming

With all CSAs, the emphasis is on the land and sustainable farming practices. Harvest Moon Farm and Orchard in North Salem, NY, reflects the high environmental standards typical of CSA farms, offering only GMO-free, organically grown produce.

“By becoming a member of our CSA, you are choosing healthy, high-quality, safe food for you and your family,” says manager Christine Tartaglia.

From its eco-friendly fruits to its pasture-raised laying hens, Fishkill Farms adheres to the practices of the Northeast Organic Farming Association Farmer’s Pledge, says CSA coordinator Michelle Siefermann.

“Our apples are organically grown or certified ‘Eco Apple’ by Red Tomato,” she says. “Our stone fruit is also grown following their low-spray, eco approach.”

 

Diverse Menu

A big part of sustainable farming is producing crops appropriate to the local weather and topography, so CSA members can expect to find seasonal produce in their weekly shares. But many CSA farms also carry specialty or hard-to-find foods from other local farms.

Honey, jellies, maple syrup (in season), pie, eggs and apples are among the locally sourced foods available for purchase at Hilltop Hanover’s farm store, says board member Thomas McLoughlin.

Harvest Moon Farm regularly uses other local farms as a resource to expand the weekly menu for its CSA customers, Targalia says. “Every week our farm manager visits other local farms—mainly root-crop farms, as our soil is too rocky to grow them,” she says. “We handpick from their freshest harvests to bring home and fill our CSA members’ boxes.”

 

The Weekly Harvest

HHF 1 tomatoeOnce the CSA season begins—a date that varies by farm, along with the length of season—CSAs designate a day or two a week for members to pick up their shares. Fishkill Farms, for example, has a pickup at its farm store in Hopewell Junction on Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings, and a second Saturday-morning pickup at the Old Stone House in Brooklyn.

While some farms, like Harvest Moon, pre-pack members’ shares, others, like Hilltop Hanover Farm (HHF), have members select pre-arranged amounts, which vary by week according to availability.

“The organic crops are picked that morning, and the Hilltop Hanover Farm staff decides the allocation for each available crop,” McLoughlin says. “The weekly selections are then arranged farm-stand style, with signs designating the amount allowed per vegetable.” CSA members usually leave with two or three large bags of produce that will feed a family of four or more, he says.

Like many local farms, Hilltop Hanover operates a garden where the public can pick their own produce for purchase. Fishkill Farms operates a pick-your-own garden specifically for its CSA members, who can include some of what they harvest in their shares. Fishkill also has a separate milk, egg and cheese share.

 

Reconnecting 

Between the items grown on site and those sourced from neighboring farms, the variety of produce sold through CSAs and their affiliated farm stands (which are open to the public) is staggering. Among the four farms profiled here, for example, offerings range from edamame and nectarines to fresh flowers and numerous herbs.

People in our area are responding to that bounty in a big way. Perhaps CSAs have given back what Americans lost over the past several decades, somewhere between TV dinners and Lunchables: a connection to food and to the earth from which it comes.

 

CSAs at a Glance

Fishkill Farms

9 Fishkill Farm Rd., Hopewell Junction, NY. Second pickup site in Brooklyn

Pickups: Fridays 2-7pm; Saturdays 8-10 am; Saturdays (Brooklyn) 8 am-noon

CSA offerings: organically grown vegetables, herbs, apples, berries, fruits; separate milk, egg & cheese share

Info: 845.897.4377, csa@fishkillfarms.com, FishkillFarms.com

 

Harvest Moon Farm and Orchard 

130 Hardscrabble Rd. North Salem, NY

Pickups: Thursdays

CSA offerings: organically grown fruits and vegetables, separate milk share, plus selected produce from neighboring farms

Info: 914.485.1210, harvestmoonorchard@gmail.com

HarvestMoonFarmAndOrchard.com

 

Hilltop Hanover Farm and Environmental Center

1271 Hanover St. Yorktown Heights, NY

Pickups: Tuesdays & Thursdays 2-7pm

CSA offerings: organically grown vegetables, flowers, “U Pick ” available

Info: 914.962.2368, info@hilltophanoverfarm.org, HilltopHanoverFarm.org

 

Ryder Farm Cottage Industries 

400 Starr Ridge Rd. Brewster, NY

Pickups: Wednesdays after noon (farm) or Monday-Friday (cooler)

CSA offerings: certified organic vegetables, herbs, occasional flowers

Info: 845.279.4161, RyderFarmOrganic@aol.com, RyderFarmOrganic.com

 

Food Workshops at Hilltop Hanover Farm Summer 2014

hilltop-farmstandHilltop Hanover Farm and Environmental Center is a working crop farm and environmental education facility in Yorktown Heights. Formerly a dairy farm, and with roots dating back to the 1600s, it now serves as a regional educational hub, offering programs on healthy and sustainable food production, skills for small-scale suburban and urban farmers, and sustainable living practices for local communities. The farm features demonstration models for backyard farming, animal management, rainwater harvesting, organic composting and green-roof technology.

The farm is open Tuesday-Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and hosts a U Pick program Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The regular farm stand is open Fridays from 1 to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. All its produce, which is grown on site, is free of pesticides, herbicides and synthetic fertilizers. A list of the crops available at the farm stand and through the U Pick program is online at HilltopHanoverFarm.org

The farm offers an array of workshops throughout the summer, including “Preserving the Harvest: Pickling” (July 7 at 1 p.m.); “Couples Cooking” (July 18 at 7 p.m.); “Cheese Making” (July 26 at 1 p.m.); “Pests and Disease in the Garden” (July 26 at 2 p.m.); “Planning the Fall Garden” (August 2 at 2 p.m.); “Preserving the Harvest: Canning” (August 9 at 9 a.m.); “Couples Cooking” (August 15 at 7 p.m.); “Cheese Making” (August 23 at 1 p.m.); “Seed Saving” (August 30 at 10 a.m.); and “Fermented Foods” (August 30 at 1 p.m.). Workshop fees vary depending upon the activity.

Hilltop Hanover Farm and Environmental Center is located at 1271 Hanover St., Yorktown Heights, NY. For info about upcoming events, workshops or other activities, visit HilltopHanoverFarm.org.