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.