Sunday, December 6, 2009

Turf's Potluck Fundraiser

On November 14th, Turf held's it first Potluck Fundraiser at St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church. CSA members, their friends and family, along with supporters of Turf attended the event. Our food was prepared by our csa members and included vegetables from their shares. Raflles and SRCO's DJ also made the evening fun. This event marked the end of our 2009 csa season and left csa members in anticpation for our 2010 csa!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Cooking Workshop

On October 10th, Turf hosted a cooking workshop for students from the Urban Assembly Academy of History & Citizenship for Young Men (in the South Bronx). Students learned basic cooking skills, became familiar with traditional Mexican foods, and learned the importance of eating local foods. Turf’s Chef Iris and Erika (our high school intern) guided students through the process of making quesadillas, salsa, and guacamole with fresh ingredients from Turf’s CSA Program. We ended the cooking workshop by eating the food we prepared and sharing favorite food and cooking stories.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Tips for Storing Greens

Turf CSA has been receiving a lot of fresh greens and csa members are practicing different ways of storing them. What works best for me is:

*Washing my greens as soon as I get home

*Loosely wrapping (slightly wet) greens with dry paper towels

*Placing wrapped greens in a zip lock freezer bag and leaving a small opening for air

*Placing zip lock bag on the bottom level of my refrigerator

When I follow these steps, I am able to keep lettuce and other greens for up to 4 days.
Above greens include kale, baby bok choi, and argula.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Turf Summer Reading Recommendations

Check out Turf’s recommended books at Parkchester’s Public Library!
Learn more about the benefits of eating healthy and how food is grown, produced, and sold in the United States. Books currently on display (look for Turf's display in the back of the library) include:

The New Vegetarian Grill by Andrea Chesman
All About Vegetarian Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer
Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
and more…

Turf will continue to add new books to this display throughout the summer. Parkchester's Public Library is located at 1985 Westchester Avenue in the Bronx.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Farmers' Markets Near Parkchester

The New York Botanical Garden (Greenmarket)
Mosholu Parkway Gate at Kazimiroff Blvd., in garden
Wednesday, 10 AM to 3 PM
Late June through October

Harvest Home Castle Hill Market
Castle Hill Avenue, between Castle Hill & Hart Ave.
Saturdays, 8 AM to 4PM
July through November

Hunts Point Farmers' Market
Msgr. Raul del Valle Square, Southern Blvd and E 163rd St.
Wednesday and Saturday, 8:30 AM to 5 PM
Late June through Mid November

Phipps West Farmers' Market
Located at Drew Gardens, east of intersection of East Tremont Ave and Boston Rd.
Wednesdays, 10 AM to 3 PM
Mid July through Mid November

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Turf's First Cooking Demo

On Saturday, July 11th, Turf CSA members and friends were treated to a wonderful cooking demonstration by Iris (Turf’s Chef), Lydia (Turf’s youth volunteer) and Erika (Turf’s high school intern). The cooking team prepared two fresh salads and two salad dressings using ingredients commonly included in our weekly farm share and ingredients found in one's pantry.

With culinary skill and a sense of humor, Iris filled large salad bowls with wonderful fresh ingredients such as romaine lettuce, carrots, onions, from our share, in addition to sweet oranges. A balsamic vinaigrette and a citrus dressing, perfect for salads on warm days, were also prepared by the cooking team.

Everyone truly enjoyed this cooking demonstration and the time and effort the cooking team put into making everything just right, along with answering questions from members and friends. This was Turf’s first cooking demonstration and it was a big hit and a moment for members to come together and enjoy good healthy food together.
by Michael (Turf CSA member)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Turf CSA--Week Three

Turf CSA has been providing residents of Parkchester farm produce for three weeks. Every Saturday, Turf’s dedicated volunteers and youth interns arrive at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church at 8am to greet our csa farmer (the Rogowski family) and arrange the produce on tables before our csa members arrive. CSA members receive a weekly portion of their share, 7—10 vegetables and one dozen eggs. This time of the year, kale, Swiss chard, romaine lettuce, carrots, beets, turnips, Chinese cabbage, bok choi, green garlic, peas, garlic scapes, cilantro and chives are in season and belonging to a csa offers members opportunities to cook and eat these local vegetables when they taste their best.

This Saturday Turf will be hosting our first cooking demo. CSA members will learn how to prepare summer salads and salad dressings. The demo will also offer nutritional information, cooking tips, recipes, and suggestions on how to save money and time when preparing summer salads.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Turf CSA's First Distribution Day

The first day of distribution was a lot less chaotic than I thought it would be. When I got there, Sharon, Iris, Michael and Lydia, were already there setting up the tables. Getting the tables ready was the easy part. When our farmer arrived, we all scrambled to take the vegetables inside as soon as possible. From there, the real work started. First we had to take all the vegetables out and count them. Then Michael weighed them and we all started to set up the tables. This week we got baby carrots, Swiss chard, baby romaine lettuce, red romaine lettuce, Chinese cabbage, baby bok choi, green garlic, cilantro (which smelled so good) and eggs. One of the eggs was so big it didn’t fit into the carton! We finished setting up the place long before the distribution time, which was good.

At first, there was a slow pace; two csa members came in to pick up their shares. However, around 11am, more and more members started to come and picked up their shares. First, they were greeted by Ms. Joseph to sign in and then they picked up their heaviest vegetables first (carrots, Swiss chard). Then they proceeded all the way until they got to the cilantro. Michael and Iris stood by the vegetables to help assist members and to tell them what could be done to the vegetables and how to store them. From there, they came to the egg table, where I was at. If they had a weekly egg share, I would give them the eggs and ask them to bring back the carton so we could recycle it. If they didn’t like any of the vegetables, they could swap it for anything in the “swap box”. Then, they went to the information table where Lydia was.

It was such a nice setting to be in. Sharon brought in a few CDs and played relaxing music while the people picked up their shares. There was also a coffee table where members could serve themselves coffee and sit down to read information on vegetables at a nearby table. Everyone was so nice to each other and everyone was working hard to make the experience pleasant. I even got my own share at the end of the day!

I am so excited to be a Turf Intern. I learned a lot just being there the first day. Before Saturday, I didn’t even know what “bok choi” was. Also, as unbelievable as it sounds, I had never seen carrots in their natural form freshly picked. Their color was so vibrant. When I went home with the vegetables, my mom was so excited! She loves eating greens and this was a perfect opportunity to experiment with new vegetables. I definitely think that more teens will learn a lot about vegetables if they joined a csa. Eating healthy and knowing what to eat is hard, especially when you’re a teenager. Joining this program can help everyone learn how to eat vegetables and give them more options. Overall, the first day was a success and I’m so happy to be a part of Turf CSA.
by Erika (Turf's High School Intern)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Turf Film Screening!

The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived
Peak Oil

When: Saturday, June 13, 2009 (1pm—3pm)

Where: at Parkchester Public Library (1985 Westchester Ave, Bronx)

In order for the US and other countries to survive the Peak Oil period, countries will have to learn how to develop more sustainable practices in areas such as farming and agricultural. The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil tells a powerful story of how Cuba, in the 1990s, when lost with access to Soviet oil, redesigned their fossil –fuel dependent farming system to a more environmental and sustainable one. Community groups in the South Bronx and other urban neighborhoods, who are rethinking their food system, can learn valuable lessons from this film. Please join Turf for this special screening and discussion.

***You must RSVP for this event by calling Sharon at 917-432-8494 or by emailing Space is limited. Light refreshments will be served.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Join Turf's Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Program

Receive fresh, vegetables, and eggs from a local farmer!

Members will receive a weekly share of produce from June—November,
On Saturdays (10am—1pm) at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church (located at 1891 McGraw Avenue, Bronx, NY 10462)

Weekly shares include 7--10 items (vegetables and eggs/according to your type of share).

Cost of share (for the entire 6 month period):
$400 (for weekly vegetables and one dozen eggs, once a month)

$415 (for weekly vegetables and one dozens eggs, once a week)
$10 (for Turf’s administrative fees)

CSA members pay for their share in advance (by June 12, 2009). Financial assistance is available.

Next Turf CSA membership registration is on Saturday, June 6th (12pm—2pm) at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. Also, residents can register for Turf’s CSA Program by contacting Sharon Wong (Turf /Project Director) at 917-432-8494 or .

Last day to join Turf’s CSA Program is June 12, 2009.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Turf's CSA Farmer Meets Community Residents and New CSA Members

On May 9th Cheryl Rogowski, Turf’s CSA farmer, came to Parkchester to talk with Turf’s new CSA members and residents interested in joining Turf’s CSA program. The discussion offered residents the opportunity to learn more about the farm that will grow our food and our farmer’s farming practices. In addition, community residents were able to: ask an array of questions addressing their concerns about ‘organic labeling;’ learn specifically what is grown on W. Rogowski Farm; samples vegetables from the farm; and receive some tips on cleaning, storing, and preparing vegetables from our farm.

Below is Lydia’s, one of Turf’s youth volunteers, summary of Turf’s CSA Farmer Q & A Visit.

Lydia on Turf's CSA Farmer Visit
My name is Lydia and I’m 10 years old. I have lived in Parkchester all my life. I am currently learning how to play the guitar. My favorite sport is swimming because that’s the only sport you can hide your sweat. Currently, I am reading “A Wrinkle in Time”. This is a great book. I recommend reading it.

On May 9, 2009 my mom and I volunteered to help out Turf. I met very nice people such as Sharon, Josefina, Hannah, John, and Cheryl, our farmer. Cheryl will be providing us with healthy and delicious vegetables for our neighborhood. Cheryl will plant fresh crops on her farm in upstate New York. She brought us some vegetables, beans, onions, and garlic. They tasted delicious!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

May Film Screening Events on Food

Food, Inc.
May 20th at the NYU Cantor Film Center

In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation's food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government's regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. For a full film description, go to

***Must RSVP, go to

FRESH film by Ana Sofia Joanes
***screening at a new location, go to website below for more info
***Need to order tickets on-line
***Includes panel discussion

A film that brings together farmers, activists, chefs, and policy-makers, all working to create a more healthy, tasty, and sustainable future.

For more info, go to

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Farmers Markets in the Bronx

For residents who are not quit ready to join Turf’s CSA Program, farm fresh vegetables and fruits are available at the following Greenmarkets (Farmers Markets) in the Bronx:

Bronx Borough Hall Greenmarket
Grand Concourse at 161st St, Bronx, 10452
Subway: 4, B, or D train to 161 St
Bus: BX1
Open Tues. 8am—6pm
June 30th—November 24th

Lincoln Hospital Greenmarket
149th Street at Park Ave., Bronx 10451
Open Tues. and Fri. 8am—3pm
July 7th—November 24th

Poe Park Greenmarket
Grand Concourse at E. 192 St. Bronx, 10468
Open Tues. 8am—3pm
July 7th—November 24th

More info on:
Also in the Bronx:
The Farmer's Market at Bissel Gardens
Baychester Ave., and E. 241 Street
Open Sat. 9am--1pm, Wed. 10am--2pm

Thursday, April 30, 2009

2nd Annual NYC Wildflower Week
May 2th—9th

The week celebrates all things green and wild in NYC. Activities include garden tours, botanical walks, lectures, and children events designed to connect people to their local environments and support landscapes that are sustainable.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Turf Community Food Survey Results

Understanding community residents’ knowledge of the food available in our neighborhood is important to Turf as we develop our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Program. We wanted to know if there is an interest, need, and demand for local food in our community, in addition to learning if residents’ are willing to develop and support sustainable agriculture projects in our community.

From January 2009 to March 2009, Turf conducted our Community Food Survey to gather this important information from residents. We surveyed residents at PEP (Parkchester Enhancement Program) for Seniors, our neighborhood Starbucks and library, and at St. Raymond Community Outreach. In addition, Turf posted the survey on our blog which allowed community residents to participate in the survey on-line. Many residents surveyed were from single-person and single-parent households. Also, residents surveyed come from African American, Latino, Asian, South Asian, Jewish, and West Indian households.

Some survey results include:

--58% of the residents surveyed rated the vegetables and fruit available in our neighborhood as fair

--63% of the residents surveyed say the cost of vegetables and fruits is average
--Most residents surveyed pay $25 or more for vegetables and fruit weekly and 84% buy them in the neighborhood at Chang Li Supermarket, C-town, Fine Fair, Food Town, local delis and food stands, Gourmet Garage, and Key Food. A few residents go outside the neighborhood and shop at Pathmark, Trader Joe’s, and Union Square’s Farmers Market
--97.6% of the residents surveyed specifically by fresh vegetables and fruits weekly
--73% of the residents surveyed have, at one time, purchased vegetables and fruits either at a farmers market or directly from a local farmer
85% of the residents surveyed would be interested in buying vegetables through a CSA.

Unlike the community residents that participated in our Sustainable Agriculture Workshops, who expressed their dissatisfaction with the quality of food in the neighborhood and notice a distinct difference between locally grown food and the food available in our neighborhood, many of the residents that participated in our Community Food Survey, rated the vegetables and fruits available as fair. Turf will be doing further community studies to continue to understand residents’ knowledge of food available in the community. This recent survey will be given to our local farmer for her to gain a better sense of the community she is serving and to Just Food (who provided us with the template for this survey) to use in their evaluation of programs and services offered to community groups such as Turf.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

April 16th 2009
(all day event)
Location: Hostos Community College, 500 Grand Concourse (149th St.),
Bronx, NY
***Free for anyone between the ages of 15--24 years old,
and $20 for anyone 25 years +
(Registration required)
Conference is organized by NYC youth leaders and organizations focused on addressing health, wellness and sustainability. The day will include youth-led workshops, educational and career opportunities, hands-on cooking and gardening, performances and more.
Keynote Speakers: Josh Viertel, Slow Food USA; Donya Williams, NYC Healthy Bodegas Initiative; Tamia Moore and Youth, Hunter Science High School; and M1, of Dead Prez.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Dream of Natural Foods
by Ms. Joseph (Parkchester resident)
Several decades have passed since my arrival in the United States, yet I can still remember, and sometimes dream of the abundant of fresh fish, meats, fruits, and vegetables available daily while growing up on “the land” as we called it. The word “farm” was rarely mentioned. It was “land” or “estate.” I, like many other children, was allowed to roam and what a time that was. We gathered mangos, guavas, berries, plums, and what other natural fruits we could find, not to mention the sugar canes, ripe bananas, papaws, avocados, oranges, grapefruits, and so on. Chicken, hogs, goats, cows, rabbits, or whatever the fancy, was killed and readily available for any meal to be prepared with a variety of fresh aromatic herbs and vegetables, grown around the house or kitchen. We had raw cow and goat milk and fresh eggs daily. Nothing was preserved. The butter, made from the cream of the rich scalded milk, was a natural with only a pinch of salt added. There was even an occasional bee hive that provided honey and bees wax to the joy of kids. It was always fun to steal a little piece of honey comb without getting stung by an angry bee. Boats went out to the sea daily so there was that daily catch of fresh fish and the springs provided sparkling cool water for drinking. Could anything top that! I don’t think so. My, how times have changed. Imagine the shock of moving to New York City and not being able to find that which I was accustomed to. I was introduced to the 116th St. market, where Caribbean produce could be found but it was not the same. Produce was not harvested early in the morning or overnight, neither was the meat freshly slaughtered. You see the food and produce I was accustomed to in my country was not grown with fertilizers, pesticides or chemical as preservatives. The only preserve was a little salt. The fertilizer the old folks used then was animal dung or manure as it was referred to. I guess that is what gave the fruits and vegetables that rich, succulent flavor a taste that can be identified right away.

I have now grown somewhat accustomed to the foods that are available here in the city, but if I had a choice, I would prefer nothing better than naturally grown, fresh food items over those readily available. I sometimes try to seek out freshly grown items at the farmers market when I am able to and what a difference in the taste. If you should get an opportunity to try fresh naturally grown produce, go for it, it is worth the price in taste and health benefits.

You see I grew up on an island now referred to as “Nature Isle of the Caribbean,” A small mountainous island, twenty-nine miles long and sixteen miles wide, and lies between tow French Islands Guadeloupe and Martinique. It boast a variety of natural attractions including deep river gorges, waterfalls, a boiling and fresh water lakes, and perhaps most famous for its tropical rainforests and volcanic origins. Do you know the island?
Answer: Dominica

Friday, April 3, 2009

Chang Li Supermarket by Quamay (Turf high school intern)

Chang Li is an Asian supermarket in the neighborhood, located at the corner of Olmstead Avenue and Benedict Avenue in Parkchester. This market has a great variety of foods and vegetable and fruits at low prices (strawberries are $1.99 for 16 oz. verse other stores that sell them for $3.99--$4.99). Unlike the other grocery stores that we rated in our neighborhood, Chang Li has a variety of seafood including crabs, fish, shrimp, and even more. Despite the fact that it is an Asian market, it also has a lot of American stuff we normally eat, like cereals. We were surprised to find Hannah Montana and High School Musical cereals (made by Kellogg). All in all, this is a good place to buy food and I highly recommend it.

Taqueria Tlaxcalli: A Mexican Grill Restaurant in Parkchester

Turf high school interns periodically visit restaurants that serve meals made with locally grown foods, such as Angelica Kitchen (located in the lower eastside of Manhattan). However, our interns are also looking for restaurants in our own neighborhood, that even though meals may not be made with organic, locally grown produce, they are made with homemade, fresh foods. A community resident recently recommended Taqueria (a Mexican Grill restaurant) located at 2130 Starling Avenue, Bronx, NY 10462. We wanted to review the restaurant in hopes that it will be a healthy alternative to the many fast food restaurants in our neighborhood. Below, Rupert describes his experience visiting Taqueria.

Rupert Reviews Taqueria

On Friday, April 03, 2009, we sampled the food at Taqueria. The restaurant is very small, but the people were very friendly and there was music playing while we sat and ate our food. The set up of the food and the way they gave it to us was very organized. Their chicken tacos are amazing. The taco shells are soft and the chicken was very mouth watering and scrumptious. I would have eaten more than the one I ordered, but I was full. The food here is good, from my perspective and my fellow intern’s perspective. We recommend this restaurant to people in the community.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Join Turf's Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Program!

Next Meeting is on Thurs., April 2nd (6pm—7:30pm) at Parkchester Public Library (1985 Westchester Avenue, in the Community Room)

Membership forms will be available and Turf will be accepting CSA payments for our farmer. There are only 55 membership slots available for this program.

Membership involves: completing and signing a membership agreement form, making your CSA payment, and volunteering to assist with running Turf’s CSA for a total of 6 hours during June—November. Volunteer task include assisting with set up and clean up on our CSA days and more. Also, as a member you will have the opportunity to visit our CSA farm and participate in CSA potlucks.

Members will receive a weekly share of produce from June 20th—November 21st on Saturdays (10am—1pm) at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church located at 1891 McGraw Avenue, Bronx, NY 10462

Weekly shares include: 7--10 items (vegetables, eggs/according to your type of share, and occasionally fruits and fresh cut flowers, when available). Vegetables include a variety of onions, potatoes, garlic, lettuces, tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, cabbages, cauliflower, kale, Swiss chard, collards, spinach, asparagus, herbs, squashes, beets, and other root crops.

Cost: $400 (for vegetables, once a week and one dozen eggs, once a month)
$415 (for vegetables and one dozens eggs, once a week)
$10 administrative fees (in cash)
***note: Shares can be paid for with checks and money orders made out to W. Rogowski Farm. Turf will be collecting payment for our CSA Farm (W. Rogowski Farm) at this meeting and until May 31, 2009.

Financial assistance: Turf has a few subsidize shares at $350 (eggs once a month) and $365 (eggs once a week), plus the $10 administrative fee, for households with incomes under $30,000. They are available on a first come first serve basis. In addition, we can accept EBT cards. Members using EBT cards can apply for a subsidize share, but will need to make a $50 CSA payment (with a check and money order) and a $10 cash administrative fee, for their share before June.

Want to join, but can’t make this meeting: Call or email Sharon Wong (Turf /Project Director) at 917-432-8494 or .

To learn more about our CSA farm (W. Rogowski Farm) go to

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Brooklyn Food Conference
May 2, 2009

Discuss and learn more about: the effects of our food system on health, the environment, and labor; improving the nutritional content of school lunches; urban agriculture; far­mers’ markets; community gardens; and food coops. Most workshop presenters will come from Brooklyn community organizations.

Guest Speakers include: Dan Barber (executive chef and owner of Blue Hill Restaurant, Anna Lappé (author of Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen) Raj Patel (author of Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System) and LaDonna Redmond (head of the Institute of Community Resource Development in Chicago).

To learn more and to register, go to:

2009 Food For Thought Film Festival (NYC)
(presented by Naniola Productions)
April 11th and 18th 2009

Films focus on issues related to: access to clean food and water; human rights; local and sustainable agriculture; and the effects of policy on small American farmers. Films include: Farm to Cafeteria: A Red Hook Lunch, Asparagus: Stalking the American Life, FLOW, and more.

For information, go to:

Friday, March 20, 2009

Vegetable Garden at the White House: First Step to Addressing Our Food System?

In today’s New York Times, we learn that Michelle Obama is taking steps to plant a vegetable garden at the White House, the first since Eleanor Roosevelt’s victory garden during World War II. The Obamas have been approached by food advocates for months to grow a vegetable garden that would symbolize the importance of eating local foods. This pressure, along with Michelle’s interest in children’s health and nutrition, has spearheaded this project.

Though there is a lot to be excited about, the Obamas have to move beyond symbolism and sending messages to families on food and health to address a more holistic approach to our country’s food system. President Obama will have to work to transform our agricultural industry and critically look at food production in our meat industry and on industrial farms which often work against producing and selling healthy foods to Americans.

I am curious to see if the Obamas message of eating local will lead to supporting educational programs and jobs in sustainable agriculture for urban comminutes, to creating policies that support sustainable food systems.
Sharon Wong
Turf/Project Director

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Restaurant Review (Dirt Candy)

Last night, after taking in the extravaganza of Lola Montes at Film Forum, my foodie pal Lisa and I headed to Dirt Candy hoping for some yummy vegetarian goodness. Until stumbling upon its 5-star review in L-magazine the night before, I had never even heard of the 3-month old East Village restaurant.

Although I’m an omnivore, I often order vegetarian entrées so I was more than open to restaurant’s philosophy: “What is dirt candy? Vegetables, of course. When you eat a vegetable you’re eating little more than dirt that’s been transformed by plenty of sunshine and rain into something that’s full of flavor – candy from the dirt.”

We arrived at the tiny bistro a little after 10 p.m. and almost got turned away because we didn’t have a reservation! Fortunately, one of the 9 tables opened up and Lisa and I started our great tradition of menu debates—we usually eat family style so there’s always a fair amount of negotiation with me being the pickier eater of the two.

We eventually settled on:
Portobello mousse with fennel pear compote and mini-toast
Spinach soup with smoked tofu dumplings, lemon confit, and water chestnuts
Carrot risotto with carrot drops and carrot curls (that’s a lot of carrots!!!)
Ricotta fritters with green tomato marmalade, lemon olive oil ice cream

Every single morsel was delicious and an adventure in unexpected tastes and textures. The spinach soup was especially smooth and didn’t taste as healthy as it must have been… and that a good thing! I was skeptical of the carrot risotto, but it’s earthy sweetness never became cloying or tiresome. The chef Amanda Cohen, formerly of Angelica’s Kitchen, Teany, and Heirloom, has this to say: “It’s the carrot’s revenge, a way for the poor maligned root to blow your mind… If you do not feel your entire body fill up with carrot taste while eating this dish, then I’ve failed.” Well, she did not fail, by a long shot!

Oh, they also have a pastry chef Debbie Lee who is doing some amazing stuff of her own. The ricotta fritters were light and super tasty with the tomato relish and lemony goodness of the ice cream. Due to my tragic lack of the chocoholic gene, Lisa was deprived of trying the chocolate cake with sweet potato sorbet and chocolate chili ice cream, but even I had to admit it sounded darn good.

To top it off, our server was informed and attentive. I love when refills of bread and water magically appear before I even know I need them. Lisa was also quite happy that they offered half glasses of wine, some of which were organic.

I really loved Dirt Candy and can’t wait to go back! Please check out their menu and Amanda’s blog at

Kemi Ilesanmi (Turf friend and supporter)
Brooklyn, NY

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Turf's High School Interns at Angelica Kitchen

Lunch at Angelica Kitchen

In February, Turf took a trip to the lower east side to continue surveying grocery stores in the city. Not to be confused with our Community Food Survey (which will help us design our CSA), the grocery store survey will be used to improve the quality of food in our neighborhood grocery stores. However, this day we also took time out to have lunch at Angelica Kitchen. In support of our efforts to address sustainability issues related to food, Angelica Kitchen offered us a donated lunch that exemplified who they are and our shared interest. As a restaurant that offers local and seasonal foods, Angelica Kitchen has been a restaurant on our radar for some time. Turf admires their commitment to supporting local farmers and sustainable agriculture and wanted to highlight their restaurant on our blog.

In Turf, we teach our teen interns the importance and challenges of eating local and healthy. We also teach our teen interns how to make healthy snacks and provide them with opportunities to share these snacks (and their nutritional value) with their peers. Our lunch at Angelica Kitchen, offered our interns the experience to eat food that is healthy, fresh, local, and new in a restaurant setting. Rupert, a high school intern that has been with Turf for 2 months, gives a summary of the lunch below.

Tasting New Foods by Rupert/Turf High School Intern

On February 21st Turf interns took time out of our grease eating, fatty food schedule to bask in something healthier. We went to a restaurant called Angelica’s Kitchen and experienced a new life-style of eating. Angelica serves organic-plant based cuisine.

At the restaurant we ordered three different dishes of food. One thing we ordered was the three bean chili, the second was sushi, and the third was a Reuben sandwich. When we received the food we were very skeptical about how it would taste, but then we started to try it. The chili was good and tasted like regular chili, and we were surprised because we thought it would taste more different. The Reuben sandwich was something different for me and my fellow intern because we were not used to the taste. Our director said the sushi was different for her because she is used to eating sushi made with white rice not brown rice. For our beverage we had lemonade from real lemon, nothing artificial, it tasted sour but was original.

Since we ate our food our director said we could have a treat. For desert we had a pear and mousse cup which was also very new. It was very good and different because we never had a snack with pears in it. After we were done eating we went outside and took a picture with the restaurant manager, Gary, in front of the store.

I had a great time and enjoyed the new experience I shared with my coworkers.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Starbucks' staff with Turf's High School Interns

Turf Conducts Community Food Surveys at Starbucks

This month Turf conducted its Community Food Survey at our neighborhood Starbucks. For an hour and a half, Turf asked Starbucks’ customers, who are residents of Parkchester, a series of questions to determine how satisfied they are with the quality of produce in the neighborhood, how much they spend on vegetables and fruits, what types of vegetables and fruits they buy regularly, and if they would be interested in buying directly from a local farmer. The 25 customers/community residents that participated in the survey were each given a free cup of Starbucks coffee. Thanks again Starbucks for supporting Turf!!!

Turf will continue to survey residents in the community until the end of March. Then results from the survey will be sent to our CSA farmer to help us better design our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Program. Below is one of Turf’s high school intern’s thoughts about the activity.

Turf Takes Over Starbucks! by Quamay/Turf High School Intern

My experience at Starbucks was very interesting. When I learned we would be doing a community food survey for families in the community I thought, “Dude, this isn’t going to be fun.” But come to find out this experience was actually great and I enjoyed it.

The whole Starbucks scene was good too. I didn’t really think we were going to get many people to participate because we were being turned down a lot at first. So we tried a couple of different approaches until we found one that worked well. It worked so well that we did more surveys than expected and met a lot of people along the way. However, I was surprised to find out that some people who did the survey actually said the produce in Parkchester was great (I didn’t really think that was possible).

At the end we met the Starbucks’ staff and took a picture with them and head home. It was a great experience and I wouldn’t mind doing it again.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What is a CSA?

Though Turf uses this blog space to share information on the sustainable food movement, we also like to share what we are doing in our community. Beginning in June, Turf will be managing Parkchester’s first CSA! The idea to start a CSA arose from residents being dissatisfied with the quality, cost, and safety of fruits and vegetables sold in the neighborhood, along with residents’ interest in eating healthy, supporting local farmers, and protecting the environment.

For folks who are unfamiliar with the term “CSA,” CSA stands for community supported agriculture, which is a unique arrangement between community members and local farmers where both work together to share the responsibility of producing and delivering fresh food. CSA members support their farm by paying an annual fee (in the winter or spring) that entitles them to a "share" of the season's harvest. Once harvesting begins, members pick-up a weekly box of fresh foods which may include produce, fruits, cheeses, eggs, meats, poultry, flowers, herbs, and preserves at a neighborhood drop-off point. One share is generally enough to feed a household of four or more. Half shares are often available for smaller households. The average cost of a share is $350-500 for a season, 18-20 weeks (June to November). A share can have 8-12 food items. Many CSAs have a core group of members that assists with running the CSA.

CSAs members have the opportunity to eat a variety of freshly picked, locally grown vegetables which still have their flavor and nutrients. Also, CSA members get to know their farmer and where their food comes from. Farmers receive capital up front to cover their operating expenses and better prices for their food, due to the absence of a middle person. CSAs also benefit the environment and community. Most CSA farmers practice sustainable farming. They use farming practices that do not harm the environment or animals, offer fair wages and safe working environments for their employees, and work to improve the economy of the communities they serve.

To find a CSA in your own community go to
Local Harvest
or contact Just Food :

If you live or work in Parkchester and would like to join Turf’s CSA, come to our first CSA meeting on Thursday, March 5, 2009 (6pm—7:30pm) at the New York Public Library (the Parkchester/Bronx branch) at 1985 Westchester Avenue.

***For more information, call 917-432-8494 or email

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Join Turf’s
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in Parkchester!

If you want to:

* Receive fresh affordable vegetables and fruits from June through November

* Buy from and support a local farmers that use sustainable farming practices

* Build your knowledge of food

* Eat healthier

What is a CSA?: Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a direct market relationship in which members of the CSA are paired with and buy shares of season’s produce from a local farmer.

When and where is the first meeting: Thursday, March 5, 2009 (6pm—7:30pm) at the New York Public Library (the Parkchester/Bronx branch) at 1985 Westchester Avenue

***For more information, call 917-432-8494 or email

Turf CSA Partners include St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Just Food, and W. Rogowski Farm

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Turf High School Interns checking the quality of food available at Foodtown in Parkchester

Mapping Parkchester’s Food System

Turf’s High School Interns and volunteers will be working on a on-going food systems mapping project in order to identity the food providers in Parkchester, rate the quality and cost of their food, learn how food is transported to our community, and learn where our food actually comes from. This in-depth look at our food system will help us determine if our community food system is sustainable. Turf plans to share different stages of the project in community workshops and meetings and include our findings in larger discussions on accessing healthy affordable foods.

On Saturday, our high school interns started the project by rating the availability of fresh food in our 5 major grocery stores. Interns looked for a variety of produce (and its quality) and the availability of organic and low-fat foods and meat substitutes. Two of the five grocery stores received high ratings—C-Town (on Unionport Avenue) and Fine Fair (on Metropolitan Avenue). Both stores have a good selection of fruits and vegetables and section of the store dedicated for healthy foods. However, interns did not find organic fruits and vegetables in any of the stores visited and one of the five stores had undesirable produce for sale.

Since Saturday Turf has discovered Chang Li Supermarket (on Olmstead Avenue), which has large selection of produce and ethnic foods. Chang Li soon will soon be included in our study. Next, we plan to visit grocery stores outside of our community to compare the quality and cost of food.

Note: There is a distinction between grocery stores supermarkets which we will make reference to in our work. A grocery store is a store established primarily for the retailing of food. Large grocery stores that stock products other than food, such as clothing or household items, are called supermarkets.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Breaking Bread

I recently had an opportunity to meet with members of Parkchester Enchancement Program (PEP) for seniors, a NORC community. NORC stands for Naturally Occurring Retirement Community in which a large percentage of individuals 60/65 years of age and older reside. NORCs, such as PEP, help seniors that want to stay in the community, live independently.

PEP currently serves approx. 345 active members (some are homebound members) and provides seniors with a range of services including accessing healthcare, home assistance, and legal assistance to name a few. In addition, PEP offers a variety of activities for seniors such as computer, writing, and dance classes, along with several organized trips throughout the year.

The purpose of my recent visit to PEP was to introduce myself (and Turf) and to see if members of PEP would be interested in joining our CSA program. The answer is YES! Members expressed their interest in our CSA program in a lengthy discussion on the importance of having a sustainable food system in our community. In addition, members
took time to fill out a community food survey listing the produce they buy on a regular basis and the cost of their produce, which will be used to develop the CSA program.

Below is the recipe for low-sugar/cholesterol banana bread I baked and brought to this special meeting. PEP members said they liked it!

Banana, medium, fresh 1 eggs 2 tbsp vegetable oil 1/3 cup whole milk 1/3 cup sugar 1 tsp salt 1 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp low sodium baking powder 1 1/2 cup white all purpose flour

Directions :
1 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.2 Peel the bananas. Put them in a mixing bowl. Mash the bananas with a fork.3 Add the egg, oil, milk, sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Mix well with the fork.4 Slowly stir the flour into the banana mixture. Stir for 20 seconds until the flour is moistened.5 Lightly grease the bread pan with a little oil, cooking spray or line it with wax paper.6 Pour the batter into the bread pan.7 Bake for 45 minutes until a toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean.8 Let the bread cool for 5 minutes before removing it from the pan.
Additional Information
The key to good banana bread is to use well-ripened bananas that are covered with brown speckles. Try using half whole wheat flour to add some fiber.

Makes 12 servings.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Summary of Recent Turf Meeting
Our recent Turf meeting was a very productive one in regards to administrative details. We collectively prepared a delicious Tofu Stir-Fry, which we savored whilst watching videos about the global food crisis. We reexamined the substance materials and documents that will constitute Turf’s High School Internship contract and application process. As part of this discussion, we reviewed the activities that will require the interns enthusiastic involvement and active participation. We also discussed the roles and expectations of those who voluntarily offer their time and services towards the growth and maturation of Turf’s purpose and mission. We are in the process of developing a contract and formal application that is specific to the volunteers, in order to define roles and scope. This meeting was definitely a reminder that the positive health habits that we currently practice on a daily basis have an immense impact not only individually, but communally as well.
–Danielle/Turf Volunteer

Friday, January 9, 2009

for Under Secretary positions at USDA. People in these positions will stand up for family farms, safe food, clear air and water, animal welfare and soil preservation.
Go to

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Protect NY’s Environmental Protection Fund
Governor Paterson is proposing to gut New York's EnvironmentalProtection Fund and undercut the efforts of the agencyresponsible for making sure our water is safe to drink and ourair is safe to breathe. New York State has one dedicated funding source for all thingsgreen. The Environmental Protection Fund supports projectsacross the state that run the gamut from protecting our drinkingwater to fixing up neighborhood parks. If the Governor's budget is passed by the State Legislature,these green efforts are in danger. The budget proposal wouldslash the Environmental Protection Fund by more than $50million and cut the number of engineers, inspectors, andscientists who safeguard the health of our air, land and water.We need to defend the Environmental Protection Fund and NewYork's environmental agencies and keep our natural resourcessafe. Go to to tell statelawmakers to defend New York's environment. It only takes a few minutes.
For more information about the Environmental Protection Fund,visit .