Sunday, November 21, 2010

Rhonda's Beet Soup from CSA Potluck

Rhonda was kind enough to give me her recipe for raw beet soup, which many of us enjoyed at the CSA potluck.

2 cups of beets (chopped)
1 1/2 cups orange juice
1/4 cup red onion
1 tbsp orange zest
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Process until smooth. A garnish of an orange wedge and perhaps some fresh herbs on top would add for a fine decoration when presented.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


A lot of people were and are curious about pickling vegetables, especially as our CSA season comes to a close. Thanks to IJ for the idea, the basic procedure, and the realization that you don't need canning equipment to pickle veggies. I'm not sure how shelf-stable these veggies will be, but they do taste great and will last a long time in the fridge! Serve on top of tacos, in a sandwich, or on anything else that can use a kick.

Bok Choy and Chinese Cabbage Pickle - makes 2 jars
3 bunches of bok choy (any color)
2 bunches Chinese Cabbage
1 habanero pepper
1 medium onion
1 apple, cored and peeled
4 cups Water
2 cups Vinegar (white is best)
Spices (your choice--I used curry powder and oregano)
2 3-cup canning jars (available in hardware stores)

1.)Cut bok choy, cabbage, pepper, onion and apple into thin strips and shreds. (You can also use the grating attachment on a food processor for easy prep). Mix together and stuff jars with the mixture.
2.)Boil the water and vinegar with the spices for 5 minutes. Let cool completely or the greens will wilt.
3.) Pour the cool water into the jars with the vegetable mixture inside.
4.)Cover with lids and let stand a week before using. DO NOT REFRIGERATE

Monday, October 11, 2010

Amaranth and Lentils Recipe

A recipe from CSA Member Melissa:

Amaranth and Lentils Recipe


1 cup dry couscous
1 ¼ cup water
1 tsp granulated chicken bouillon
½ cup dried currants

1 cup water
2 bunches amaranth, deveined and chopped

1 tablespoon oil (vegetable, canola, olive, any kind will work)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium onions, halved and sliced into thin rings
1 cup dry lentils
2 ½ cups water
2 ½ tsp granulated chicken bouillon
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper

Add oil to a saute pan (it needs to be deep don’t use a skillet) and saute onion for approximately 10 minutes or until soft. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add water and bouillon and bring to a boil. Add lentils and simmer covered for 35-50 minutes, or until lentils are soft (this may take more or less time depending on your lentils, mine always take a long time).

While the lentils are simmering, add 1 cup of water to a pot with a lid and bring to a rolling boil. Add amaranth and cook covered for 10-15 minutes. There should always be moisture in the pot, but you are really steaming the amaranth, not boiling it so do not cover it with water.

Boil the water for the couscous and add granulated bouillon. Add couscous and dried currants and stir. Remove from heat and cover for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Add cooked amaranth to the cooked lentils. Add cumin, salt, and pepper. Stir, cover, and simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Serve lentils and amaranth over the couscous or mix them together and serve.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Pasta with fresh tomatoes and thai basil

This easy recipe makes use of fresh, ripe heirloom tomatoes like those we have been receiving in our share in the last couple of weeks.

Serves two but is very easily doubled or tripled

1 cup of whole wheat spaghetti (eyeball to your taste)
1 large heirloom tomato, diced and tough parts removed
4-5 Thai Basil leaves (the flowers are okay to use too), cut into thin strips
1/4 cup cheese of your choice (mozzarella would be glorious in this one, but a crumbly cheese like feta is good too)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (see author's note below)
Salt and pepper to taste

1.) Cook the pasta according to instructions, drain, and return to the empty pot.
2.) Add the tomatoes, basil, and cheese to the pasta. Combine and let sit 5 minutes so that all the flavors meet each other and the juice of the tomatoes is released.
3.) Toss the pasta mixture with olive oil. Add, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. This dish can be served immediately or can be eaten cold as a work lunch.

Author's note: Some of you might be tempted to forego the olive oil, since the tomatoes are juicy and some of the pasta water will stick to the pasta. However, studies have shown that the nutrients in tomatoes are best absorbed with olive oil, which is why most traditional Italian sauces contain olive oil. So don't skip it, or yo might be missing out on key nutrients in the tomatoes!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Pasta With Swiss Chard And Pesto

A great vegetarian meal that you can make with your latest CSA share.
(modified from Lidia Bastianich's "Pasta with Swiss Chard and Almond Pesto")

Serves 2

1/2 pound dry long whole-wheat pasta, such as linguine or spaghetti
1 lb. Swiss chard

2 tbsps olive oil

1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 t. red pepper flakes, or to taste

2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

1/2 a cup of your favorite pesto recipe

Grated parmesan cheese, to taste (1/2 cup--optional)

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. (“Salted” = throw a few pinches of salt in with the water.)

Rinse and drain chard, and cut the leaf away from the stem and center rib. Slice chard into 1″ strips. Add chard to boiling water, return water to boil, and let boil 10 minutes. Strain chard, but save this water for cooking pasta. Wring excess water from chard after it has cooled a bit. Use the remaining water in the pot by bringing it to a boil and cooking the pasta in it. Cook according to the package directions. Reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water.

In another pan, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When hot, add the sliced garlic and saute for a minute or two until golden. Then add chard, red pepper flakes, and salt. Add the reserved pasta water and cook everything in the pan until the water is reduced by half (2 tablespoons)

Lower heat and toss pasta with chard. Add pesto and parmesan cheese and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Bamboo Moves

Besides eating healthy, I try and incorporate physical activities and meditation in my life. It helps me address the stress of daily life in an urban city. This weekend I had a chance to visit Bamboo Moves with, Jessica, a csa member who recommended this yoga spot to me.

Not having participated in a yoga class for over a year, I was a bit nervous. I wasn’t sure if I would fit in and be able to keep up with the class? However, the staff was very warm and friendly, the participants were of all different ages, ethnicities, body types, and level of experiencing, which made it easy for me to clear my mind and just enjoy the yoga session.

After the session, I felt immediate benefits. My blood was circulating and I felt a flow of energy running through my body. But more importantly, I was reminded that yoga is a personal journey of mind, body and spirit and that my earlier fears in taking the class were common fears that keep many people from practicing yoga.

Bamboo Moves is a little haven in the Bronx that focuses on self care. They offers yoga classes (including classes for children) and other wellness classes at affordable rates. I highly recommend taking a class. For more information on Bamboo Moves, go to .

Posted by Sharon

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Meet Sam and Romy, Turf CSA members

Last weekend, we met new csa members, Romy and Sam.

-Where they grew up: Sam grew up in Iowa and lived in New York for ten years. He previously lived in Brooklyn before moving to Parkchester. Romy grew up in New Jersey but says that she’s lived in Los Angeles and even spent some time in London during college before moving to New York. Romy also told us stories from her high school years and going to the Jersey Shore. It was very interesting.

-Professions: Romy works at an art museum, specifically on acquisitions in art. Sam works in giving foundation grants in arts and medical ethics that involve improving patients’ experiences to the controversy over stem cell research.

-Cooking: Sam and Romy both like to cook. Romy says she tries to cook dinner every night. She also says she likes to bake.

-Heard about Turf by: searching “CSAs” on the internet. Romy said she was trying to look for one in Manhattan but they were all too crowded or expensive.

-They joined Turf CSA because…: they do a lot of cooking and that they like to be healthy and “socially responsible”. Sam says it’s important to know where your food is coming from and it’s important to support this type of system to encourage farmers to grow good produce.

-Favorite Vegetable: Sam says he likes the late Jerusalem artichokes because they’re not like most artichokes; they have a crispy flesh, taste fresh, have a great texture, and can be eaten hot or cold. Sam says he’s also a really big fan of arugula. Romy says she likes onions because it “costs nothing” and can go into anything and make it taste better. (Romy told us about how she puts a little bit of olive oil on onions and puts it in the oven and lets it caramelize. She described the smell as “amazing”.)

-Best part about being a part of a CSA: Aside from the food, they like meeting new people and feeling like they’re a part of the neighborhood. They also like being with people with a shared value.

-Advice for CSA members: “The internet is your friend.” Romy says that there are just so many recipes on the internet. She recommends because they have really reliable recipes. However, for new cooks that are still getting to know a good recipe from a bad one, she says to “stick to published recipes.” (Good advice for those weeks we have a new vegetable!)

Although we’ve seen Romy and Sam few times, we got to know that they are very down-to-earth friendly people who were a delight to have as volunteers.

Interview by Erika (Turf High School Intern)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Green Pizza Recipe

This pizza uses a pesto instead of a tomato base but uses some of those lovely green tomatoes we got in our share last week. I used a premade crust but feel free to substitute your favorite homemade pizza crust recipe if you have one.

1 premade whole wheat pizza crust, thawed or 1 homemade pizza crust recipe

1/2 cup pesto (recipe below)

1 onion (white is sharper, red is sweeter), sliced thinly

2 green tomatoes, sliced thinly

1 chicken breast, cooked in whatever manner you choose and diced (I marinated my breast in balsamic vinegar, olive oil ,oregano, and dried basil for 3 hours and grilled it on the George Foreman Grill)

½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Saute onion in 1 tbsp of oil until golden but still crispy. Use a slotted spoon to remove and set aside. Brush pesto onto pizza crust or spread it onto the crust with the back of a spoon. Scatter the onion, green tomatoes, and chicken evenly over the surface of the crust. After you scatter these ingredients, scatter the cheese all over the pizza crust and the toppings. Place the crust on a pizza stone or a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.


1 bunch basil

2 tbsps hard cheese (parmesan or ricotta salata are quite good)

1 tbsp garlic

2 tbsps olive oil

Process all of the ingredients until you have a fine paste. Add more oil to make it smooth or water (1/2 cup to a cup) to thin the pesto as needed. One recipe will yield quite a lot of pesto, suitable to use on pasta, on top of sandwiches, etc.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Healthy Junk Food: Carrot Fries and Kale Chips

Here are two great recipes for satisfying junk food cravings using vegetables in our CSA share!

Carrot Fries

You can use any root vegetable to make these delicious, nutritious "fries"--beets, parsnips, sweet potatoes, etc!

serves 2

6 medium carrots or 3 large carrots

2 tbsps olive oil or to taste

1 tsp salt or to taste

Spices to taste (I like paprika, cumin, and black pepper)

Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400. Cut the carrots into french fry shapes by cutting the carrots in half across the middle, then cutting slices lengthwise. Put your "fries" in a bowl and drizzle with the olive oil. Add whichever spices you like, as well as the salt. Toss to coat--with tongs or with clean hands. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 12-15 minutes (check for doneness). Serve with ketchup or make a dipping sauce (I like mayonnaise, ketchup, turmeric, and cumin)

Kale Chips

A bunch of kale

2 tbsp olive oil

Salt to taste

1/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp garlic powder

Cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 350. Cut the leaves of the kale away from the stem in the middle. Take the leaves and cut or tear them to potato-chip size. Wash the kale and dry thoroughly (kale must be absolutely dry to crisp up!). Put in a bowl and drizzle olive oil on the leaves. Add salt and spices. Toss to coat completely. Put kale chips on a sprayed baking sheet (they don't need to be in a single layer)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Interview with Brenda and Benjamin: CSA members

(pictured: Brenda)

The first of a series on getting to know our fellow CSA members.

Last week, we caught up with a couple from our CSA who volunteered to set up collection day at our site, Brenda and Benjamin.

Living in Parkchester since: October 2009.

Favorite thing about Parkchester: It’s cheap and there is a diversity of people.

Favorite place to eat: The Mexican restaurant on McGraw (They forgot the name of it—ed. Note: It is Taqueria Tlaxcalli on Starling Avenue)

Favorite Type of Food: Brenda says she loves Asian food, especially Korean and Vietnamese because she didn’t have much of it while she was growing up. Benjamin agrees, saying his favorite type of food is Thai food, and that he only grew up eating soul food.

Professions: Brenda is a scientist; she studies bacteria. She says that she loves science but it’s a lot of work. She also says because she knows too much for her own good, like the harmful bacteria that could be on a dirty tabletop; she likes things to be clean. Benjamin is a lawyer.

Heard about Turf by: Googling “CSAs in Parkchester”

Joined CSA because: Brenda thinks that it is important to eat locally grown food and that it is also good for the environment. She wants to support the CSA. Benjamin just said his wife made him join, and that he wants to eat healthier.

Favorite Vegetable: Brenda says she loves garlic because, “you can put it in anything and it makes everything taste really good!” Benjamin loves baby carrots; he says he likes to snack on them.

Best part about being part of a CSA: So far, they love getting to know and meet new people in their neighborhood. Brenda also thinks it’s a learning experience since she is introduced to new vegetables.

Advice for CSA members: Washing and starting to prepare your vegetables beforehand makes it a much easier task to eat them throughout the week because all you have to do is just pick it up and eat it.

Interview by Erika; watch this space next week for more interviews with CSA members!

Monday, July 19, 2010

White Beans w/ Pesto

Cathy, one of our csa members, has given us another recipe. This time it is for basil. An herb we have been receiving in our csa for the past three weeks. She highly recommends this easy recipe that pairs basil with beans.


2 cups dried white beans, picked over and soaked for four to six hours, or 3cans white beans, drained and rinsed

1 onion, cut in half

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 bay leaf

Salt to taste

1/2 cup pistou (pesto without the pine nuts) or arugula pesto


Drain the beans, and place in a pot with 2 quarts water, the onion,garlic and bay leaf. Bring to a gentle boil, reduce the heat to low, coverand simmer one hour. Add salt to taste, and simmer for another 30 minutes toan hour until the beans are soft and fragrant. Remove the onion and the bayleaf, and drain the beans through a colander set over a bowl.

Return the beans to the pot with some of the broth, and stir in thepistou or, pesto. Thin out as desired with the broth from the beans. Ifusing canned beans, use a little warm water to thin out the pesto ifdesired. Serve warm or room temperature.

Yield: Serves six.

Advance preparation: The cooked beans freeze well and can be cooked up tothree days ahead. Toss them with the pesto, so long as you don¹t add thecheese, and freeze. Alternately, you can freeze the beans with their brothand drain after thawing. Stir in the pesto just before serving.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Swiss Chard Tacos

We’ve been getting a lot of Swiss Chard the last couple of weeks, so I thought my fellow CSA members might appreciate this unusual recipe for swiss chard tacos. I made them last week and our only complaint was when we ran out of tacos! I bet some grated carrots would go well as well.

I recommend making the salsa ahead if you are using it, so all the flavors are married.

Swiss Chard and Caramelized Onion Tacos

from Mexican Everyday, by Rick Bayless (A highly recommended cookbook for easy, healthy 30 minute recipes). I also used this site because my book wasn't handy

Serves 4

12 oz. bunch of Swiss chard, thick lower stems removed (you can also sub a variety of greens—perhaps even some braised lettuces would do here!)

1 1/2 tbl. oil, lard or bacon drippings (I used olive oil)

1 large onion, thinly sliced (I used 2 red and white onions from last week’s share)

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 tsp. red pepper flakes (or you can also use real chili powder such as ancho chile powder)

1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth (water works well too)

Salt to taste

12 warm corn tortillas

1 cup (4 ounces) Queso Fresco or other fresh cheese such as feta or goat cheese

Smoky Chipotle Salsa for serving (recipe below, but you can use storebought too)

Slice the chard crosswise into half-inch pieces. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until golden but still crunchy, about 4-5 minutes. To the onions add the red pepper flakes and garlic. Stir for about 20 seconds until aromatic. Add the broth or water, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the greens. You should get steam rising from the pan immediately. Lower heat and cover. Cook until the greens are almost tender, about five minutes.

Uncover the pan, adjust the heat to medium-high then cook until the mixture is almost dry. Taste and add salt if you think it needs it.

Serve with the corn tortillas, crumbled fresh cheese and Chipotle salsa.

Chipotle Salsa

An extremely easy salsa recipe that packs a whole lot of flavor.

3 garlic cloves, peeled

4 medium tomatillos, husked, rinsed and cut in half

2 canned chipotle chilies in adobo (if you want to cut down the spiciness, you can take out the seeds and rinse off the adobo)


Place a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. If you don’t use Teflon, add a thin layer of oil to the pan.

Place the garlic and tomatillos (cut side down) in the skillet. Roast for 3-4 minutes. Turn everything over and brown on the other side. Roast for another 3-4 minutes. Tomatillos should be fully soft before you puree.

Place the garlic and tomatillos into a blender or food processor, along with the chilies and 1/4 cup water. Blend to a coarse puree. Taste and adjust salt. A little sugar also helps cut down the tartness of the tomatillos.

Refrigerate before serving and preferably make ahead.

Demystifying Curry: Curry Basics 101

Much thanks to Ajita M for fact-checking and giving me some information on the origins of the word "curry", as well as providing the title.

For many of us choosing to either limit the amount of meat we eat or eliminate it completely, learning how to make curry is a very easy way of cooking vegetables, especially vegetables the taste of which may not be to our liking since vegetables readily absorb the flavor of the sauce they are simmered in. Once you learn the basics of curry, it is simple to replicate. All you need to know are the components of curry, the spices usually used in curry, and where to get them. At the end of this article, I will also provide a recipe for beet and mushroom curry, since beets are a vegetable that many people find difficult to get a taste for.

What is curry?

The way that I am using the word curry in this article is the way that British meant it when the term was first created by the British, meaning vegetables and/or meat cooked in a sauce made with fried spices that are used in North Indian cooking (South Indian cooking also uses these methods, but when referring to curry, it is the North Indian variety that is usually referred to). The word “curry” can also mean to the powder mix, which I recommend that you not use if you’d like an authentic curry. Curry can also refer to a dry preparation with no sauce but fried spices, such as in aloo gobi, a potato and cauliflower dish, which you will find easy to make after you have the ingredients that are used in Indian cooking.

Vegetables that go into a curry can range from those used in traditional North Indian cooking (potatoes, cauliflower, peas, eggplant) or you can also add whatever vegetables you would like (red peppers are great, as are sweet potatoes and the aforementioned beets).

There are a vast amount of ready-made curry simmer sauces on the market today, some more heathy and flavorful than others. This is the simplest way to make a curry as you usually bring the jarred sauce to a boil, add vegetable and additional water if you need to thin out the sauce, and simmer everything until the vegetables are to your desired tenderness. However, it is simple to make a curry from scratch as well.

What are the components of a curry?

A curry has a few basic parts that you can later play with and rearrange to create a versatile array of different colors and tastes for your curry.

The “Indian trifecta”: Onions, garlic, and ginger usually create the base of the curry. Traditionally, these are blended in a paste, but if you’re in a hurry, chopping these ingredients finely will also do. Onions typically go in first so they have time to fry to a nice brown color. Then, garlic and ginger is added.

Spices: A mixture of spices, called masala, is added to the onion, garlic, and ginger mixture. I will go into spices further down the page. Eventually you will find your own preferred mixture, but a basic mixture of garam masala, turmeric, ground cumin and ground coriander is a good way to start.

A liquid for simmering: This also has its varieties. North Indian cooking usually does not use coconut milk, but this is a great liquid for curries. Tomato sauce is also very good, although I would suggest some tomato paste as well to thicken the sauce. Use as much as needed to nearly cover the vegetables and make sure to stir the onions, garlic, ginger, and spices into the liquid to mix.

What spices do I need to make curry, and where can I get them?

Spices are usually where people gets stuck in terms of making curry. The process can be very overwhelming. However, once you have a well-stocked spice rack, you will find yourself more able to experiment with curry sauce, other Indian dishes, and even other cuisines in general. Here are the spices I recommend as essential:

Garam masala: A mixture of spices, like curry powder but better and more traditionally used. You can make your own at home or you can buy it already made.

Turmeric: A bright yellow spice, one of the benefits of which is containing a property that may prevent Alzheimer’s. Wonderful in any curries with potatoes, or even sprinkled on French fries.

Ground Cumin

Cumin Seeds

Ground Coriander

Cardamom (Whole or in seed form)


Chilies: This is really up to you. Whole cayenne is often used, but it is hard to find. You can easily substitute jalapeno, Serrano, or other chilies to your liking, as well as regulate the amount.

Brown mustard seeds

Many of these spices are easily found at any supermarket, but for those spices, such as the ground coriander, the garam masala, etc, that are not as easily found, the store Deshi Bazaar on White Plains road has a staggering selection of Indian spices to experiment with, as well as ready-made spice mixes, garlic-ginger paste, and sauces.

What is a recipe that I can try right now?

Mushroom and Beet Curry (modified from Madhur Jaffrey’s excellent vegetable recipe compendium, World Vegetarian):

3 tablespoons oil of your choice

½ tsp cumin seeds

½ tsp brown mustard seeds

6 oz mushrooms, cleaned and halved

14 oz beets, peeled and diced

2 tsp grated ginger

1 tsp minced ginger

½ green chile, such as jalapeno, finely chopped

1 cup tomato sauce

salt to taste


Handful of cilantro, chopped

Dollop of plain yogurt

Heat oil over medium-high heat. When hot, put in mustard and cumin seeds. When the mustard seeds begin to pop (a few seconds), add the mushrooms. Stir for a few seconds and add the beets. Stir-fry beets for 2 minutes. Add ginger, garlic, and chile. Stir and fry at the same heat, for another two minutes. Add tomato sauce and 1 cup water, as well as salt if needed. Stir to mix and bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat, and simmer for 40 minutes or until beets are soft. To serve, garnish with a dollop of yogurt and sprinkle the chopped cilantro. You can also serve this with brown rice and/or naan, although I also like it with tortillas.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Resources for vegetable recipes

Cathy, a CSA member, shared the following link with our CSA as a resource for recipes using our fresh produce, as well as tips on storage and preparation, via the Green Earth Insitute:

Thursday, July 8, 2010


We are entering the fourth week of our csa and receiving vegetables that are unfamiliar to us. Last week it was a beautiful, leafy, purple vegetable called Amaranth. Our farmer told us that we can cook Amaranth like spinach, but below is more info on this plant/grain courtesy of eHow.

Amaranth, meaning "unfading" in Greek, is an annual grown for food and as an ornamental.

History--Amaranth is native to the Americas and was an essential food crop of the Aztecs. After the arrival of the Spanish, amaranth cultivation declined and almost ceased in the Americas until its resurgence in the 1970s. However, the grain became a staple crop in India, Africa, China and Nepal in the interim.

The Plant--The grain amaranth, Amaranthus hypochondriacus, is most commonly grown in the U.S. Plants reach 4 to 8 feet, with large (4- to 12-inch) crimson or maroon seed heads; the seeds themselves are only 0.04 inch. Amaranth is drought tolerant and flourishes in warm climates but is vulnerable to frost.

Food--Although most people use only the seeds of the plant, the leaves are also edible. The seeds can be flaked, popped, extruded and ground into flour; amaranth is commonly found in "health food" cereals and can be baked into most any product, such as breads and crackers.

Other Uses--Some species of amaranth are grown as ornamentals. Hopi red dye comes from Amaranthus cruentus.

Advantages--Amaranth is high in protein and fiber. It is a prime source of lysine, calcium, magnesium, iron, vitamin E and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Amaranth is gluten-free.

Monday, June 28, 2010

BOOK REVIEW: Food Rules by Michael Pollan

Michael Pollan has been ubiquitous as of late. With films like Food Inc, his latest article in the New York Times Review of Books in which he reviews other books about food justice, and even a PBS documentary based on his earlier book The Botany of Desire, it seems that everywhere one turns, there Pollan is with his measured tone of voice and his matter-of-fact insights on the food industry, especially if one is involved in some sort of food justice work.

It seems a little too soon, however, for a greatest-hits compilation. Unfortunately, it soon becomes evident that that is what Food Rules is. To be fair, I don’t think Pollan argues that it is anything but a “pocket guide” to eating right, a place to put his chestnuts of food wisdom together in a book that can easily slide into a purse for easy access. However, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed.

I approached the book with the knowledge that it was a “pocket guide”, but I did not expect the book to be a mere condensation of In Defense of Food. In fact, I would suggest that if you have read the latter book already, you have pretty much read the “extended version” of Food Rules and you probably do not have to purchase this newer book at all. However, if you have found In Defense of Food to be daunting, or perhaps wants a simple, list-style guide to eating right to give as a gift to friends or family members who you would like to introduce to the notion of food justice and the inequities of the food industry, I would highly recommend this book.

The format of the book is very user-friendly: a series of numbered “rules”, some presented without explanation, others with a paragraph or two explaining the rationale behind them. Indeed, for anyone starting to question the food industry and the Standard American Diet, this is probably a good start. However, I would not recommend this as reading for anyone who has already read In Defense of Food, as Food Rules will seem endlessly redundant and a waste of money to you.

Review by Johanna (Turf CSA member)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Black Dirt Gourmet Comes to Turf CSA!

Recently, Cheryl, our csa farmer, came down from the farm to present Turf CSA members the farm's very own line of prepared food called "Black Dirt Gourmet". She wanted to give the csa members some samples of what they could order from the farm when the csa starts up. First, she explained to us how the farm started making their own food and who makes the food. Her three main chefs that specialize in different fields all help make the food and they started Black Dirt Gourmet as a way of using up all the left-over vegetables from the year, so they wouldn't go to waste.

Then, Cheryl let us sample from the various foods she had brought. It was delicious! There were jams, soups, pickled eggs, salad dressings, and spreads, and pita chips that we could use to taste all the foods. They were simply amazing. One csa member even said she liked the asparagus dish even though generally, she didn't like asparagus. For the members that attended, it was very exciting. While we ate, Cheryl answered questions from csa members and as always, it was an interesting learning experience. In the end, the workshop literally gave the csa members a taste of what they could expect from Black Dirt Gourmet, in addition to being a lot of fun.

by Erika (Turf HS Intern)

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Review of In Defense of Food

There isn’t a single person among us who hasn’t heard the old adage, “You are what you eat”. In the case of Michael Pollan’s book In Defense of Food, this adage is taken one step further: you are also how you think about what you eat. In this book, Pollan reconstructs the way that our thinking about food has changed, and how, instead of making us healthy, which was the initial point of nutritionism, it is making us less healthy. Nutritionism, Pollan argues, is thinking about our food not as a whole system of factors that nourish us, but instead dividing and deconstructing our food into nutrients such as fat, carbs, omega-3 fatty acids, etc. Nutritionism has proposed that the key to health is not in the foods we eat, but the nutrients that are in those foods. This thinking has gone hand in hand with the over processing of our food, the logic being that, since all that is required of our food is for it to have nutrients, those nutrients can be added to processed food after the fact with little ill effect.

Pollan insists that this thinking is one of the major factors of the obesity and health crisis in the United States. There are others, such as the structure of what he calls “the standard American diet” and its overemphasis on meat and our overconsumption of seeds (rice, corn, etc) and not leaves (spinach and other greens). In this way, his controversial stance that he is defending “food” becomes clear. Pollan is defending food—real food, that is, food that isn’t heavily advertised or doesn’t come with toys in the box but is nevertheless the substance of the building blocks of healthy eating.

This is, indeed, heady stuff, but the book also has extremely logical and simple “food rules” that Pollan translates into very matter-of-fact ways of making food choices (He will later go on to write a whole book of common-sense ways of choosing food, titled, aptly “Food Rules”). The third part of the book deals with these. Pollan has a spectacular versatility with his language that allows him to discuss food in a very “meta” way, while in another chapter offering very accessible and usable new ways of thinking and looking at food. Albeit, Michael Pollan argues, these are not new ways of looking at food, but are, instead, old ways that have been lost due to the radical ways that we have changed how we eat and how we make food in the last fifty years.

Pollan streamlines his thinking into three simple, almost monosyllabic sentences: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. Simple, yet deceptively so, and that is why I consider the reading of this book essential to really comprehend why concepts such as our CSA are a radical but positive departure from conventional eating, and also, why these new ideas and concepts are so very important for our health.

by Johanna (Turf CSA Member)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bronx Food Summit--This Saturday!

Learn how Bronx residents and community organizations are addressing the lack of affordable, fresh food in the Bronx. Attend workshops, watch cooking demos, meet people that share your interest in eating healthy. The conference is FREE.

Click here for more info:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Parents and Youth Learn How to Grow Basil at Home

On April 10th, René and Alison (Turf CSA members), led an indoor herb garden workshop for parents and youth in our community at Parkchester Public Library. Participants learned how to recycle plastic soda bottles by turning them into miniature greenhouses that will germinate basil seeds in the upcoming month. This workshop will be followed by an indoor herb potting workshop in May in which parents and youth will transplant the basil plants they have been growing at home into window garden pots. These indoor herb garden workshops are part of a larger Herb Garden Project between Turf and Parkchester Public Library that is design not only to help parents and youth learn how to grow indoor herbs, but also to encourage them to make nutritional meals with fresh herbs grown at home.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Stop 'N' Swap

Do you have items at home that you no longer use? Instead of throwing them out, try something fun that will also help the environment. Bring them to Grow NYC’s Stop ‘N” Swap. These community swaps are organized throughout the year. The next Stop ‘N’ Swap is on Sunday, April 25, 10am-2pm at the Riverdale Y Environmental Fair, 5625 Arlington Ave off 256th St. For more info go to:

Info provided by Ildiko, Turf CSA Member

Sunday, March 28, 2010

More Films on Food!

After viewing Food, Inc. and having a lively discussion on food at the library yesterday, Turf CSA members, Johanna and Jessica, wanted to share information on other films on food.

FRESH, another important documentary on the production of food and the importance on supporting sustainable agriculture is being screened in NYC. Go to this link for more information: . Discounts are available for csa members.

This link from Whole Foods provides an extensive list must see films on food. Some are being shown in the city:

Saturday, March 13, 2010

See Food, Inc. on March 27th!

Join Turf for a screening of Food, Inc. This documentary explores how corporate industries influence the way our food is grown, packaged, and sold. As a program that promotes eating local and supporting local farmers, Turf believes that Food, Inc. is a critical film to see as we work towards improving the quality of food in our community.

Turf will screen Food, Inc. at Parkchester Public Library (1985 Westchester Avenue, Bronx, NY 10462) on Saturday, March 27th at 1:30pm. There will be a short discussion after the film and light refreshments will be served.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Turf Herb Story #1

This month, Sharon and I went to the Parkchester Library to try and educate the children there about herbs. To do so, I created a story on big poster boards about Mint, Oregano, Thyme, and Sage. Initially, we didn’t expect much of an audience, but when the time came to start, children filled the corners of the room and they were all looking at me and my storybook. At first I was a little nervous, but with the help of a little boy, which I called my “helper”, I was able to read the story while showing them the pictures that I drew. Whenever I introduced a new herb, Sharon would pass around a real-life sample of the herb so the children could smell, touch, and even taste them. It turns out that a lot of the kids ended up liking Mint the best! At the end of the story, I asked the children questions about the story to see how much they learned. The kids who answered right would receive a little prize. The kids got so excited every time I asked a different question, and to be honest, it was a lot of fun. This turned out to be a really fun and interesting experience. Not only was it educational for the kids, but I learned a lot from the activity too! by Erika (Turf's High School Intern)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Turf CSA Seedling Workshop

This month a small group of Turf CSA members came together on a cold Saturday morning to meet our farmer and choose the varieties of cucumbers and squash our farm would grow this season.

Csa members looked through seed catalogs, learning about different varieties of cucumbers and squash (their taste, nutritional value, and growing characteristics), and discussed what grows best on our black dirt farm. We narrowed down our decision to nine, they are:

Suyo Long—a dark green, long, ribbed, Asian burpless cucumber with a sweet flavor
Tyria—a dark green, seedless cucumber with a crispy texture and a mild sweet flavor
Boothby Blonde—a bright yellow heirloom cucumber with a sweet taste
***This cucumber has been recently recognized by the Slow Food “Ark of Taste” as a variety in need of preservation.

Summer Squash or Zucchini:
Costata Romanesco—a dark green, Italian heirloom zucchini that often wins best-tasting tests for its unique nutty flavor
Magda—a light green zucchini with a superb sweet and nutty flavor
Sunburst—a yellow zucchini that taste best when it is picked young
***Last year our csa had Sunburst zucchini and from my own experience they tasted amazing when sautéed with penne and olive oil.

Winter Squash:
Honey Bear—a type of acorn squash that is starchy and sweet
Sunshine—a bright orange squash with a sweet taste and is great for baking
Delicata—a cream-colored with green stripes and flecks squash that is very sweet, good for stuffing and baking

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Turf 2010 CSA Workshops

If you live or work in the Parkchester region of the South Bronx and are interested in joining a community program that allows you to purchase fresh produce directly from a local farm and participate in educational workshops on healthy eating and sustainable agriculture, come to one of Turf's CSA Workshops this winter. Workshops will include:

--Information on community supported agriculture (csa)
--Membership forms and instructions on joining Turf CSA
--A cooking demo using fresh herbs and vegetables

Our first workshop is on Saturday, January 30th (12:30pm--2:30pm) at Parkchester Public Library (1985 Westchester Avenue, Bronx, NY 10462). Additional workshop information will be posted on our blog soon.
If you have any questions regarding the workshops or Turf, please contact Sharon at 917-432-8494 or Start the new year by investing in your health and joining Turf CSA!