Saturday, December 12, 2015

bread-making moments

Roots & Wings hosted two Bread-Making the (easy) Traditional Way with Coco Zordan just before and after Thanksgiving. As you could imagine, hanging out in the kitchen and nudging our genetic memories of how the simplest of ingredients--flour, water, yeast--becomes bread was wonderful. And tasting the ciabatta and focaccia we created was as good as it sounds!

 Because I organized these classes with Coco, I was able to attend both, and meet all the interesting people who signed up : ) And I hear through the grapevine that one of them is already making her own bread!

Coco's husband came and took these wonderful photos. We'll be doing more of this type of "cooking from scratch" classes. Let me know if you have a topic you'd like to explore!  -Lenore /

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Kitchen Garden update - November 21

Iris and Gabriela proudly display the last of the harvest after exchanging recipes.
On Saturday, November 21st, Marcelo, Iris and I met at the garden. We topped off the remaining beds, planted cover crop, and covered with mulch (shredded leaves from the church property). We also gathered the last of the harvest: Brussels sprouts and their leaves, and parsley. We also rearranged the middle compost bin to ensure no scraps are dumped there by mistake (please remember: scraps belong to the leftmost bin only).

Gabriela and Marcelo by the resting beds. Any resemblance to American Gothic is purely coincidental!
Next Steps:
  • Marcelo will look into purchasing an additional raised bed. We'll keep you posted and let you know if and when help is needed to install and fill it.
  • If you'd like a raised bed next year, please let me know as soon as possible ( At this point we'd like to get a sense of how much interest there is. If, as we suspect, there's more demand than available plots, we will have to figure out some sort of mechanism to assign plots. In the longer run, the plan would be to work to expand the number of community gardens in town so everybody has a chance.
Cover crops at work protecting the soil, building organic matter, fixing nitrogen, and nurturing a healthy microbial community, among other benefits.

Friday, November 20, 2015

can you smell this fresh-baked bread?

There are three spots left in Baking Bread the (easy) Traditional Way workshop on Sunday, November 22. Register here.
(Saturday, December 5 is sold out.)

Monday, November 16, 2015

More help needed with soil replenishment!

Susan, Gabriela and Blanca (left to right) take a selfie break

Currently at the garden: On Saturday, November 14th, Blanca, Susan Clelland and I met at the garden. We managed to top off four of the raised beds and harvested some Brussels sprout leaves (which can be used the same way as you would collards or kale). Now we need your help to deal with the remaining soil. Please see more below.

With our freshly harvested Brussels sprout leaf "bouquets"

Next Steps: We really need all the help we can get to finish the job! The two raised beds closest to the street need to be topped off like the rest (filled to within one inch from the top). One other plot could use a bit more soil. We also expect to install a new raised bed but that will happen in the spring. In the meantime, we should move any remaining soil to the other side of the garden to make room for the snow piles during the winter. If you can lend a hand, either during the week or next Saturday between 10 AM and noon, please let me know so we have a sense of what we can count on and plan accordingly ( If you have a wheelbarrow that you may be able to bring, we could use that as well.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

please help us replenish the soil!

IMG_4746 3
Hubert, Iris, and Linda Herring (left to right)
add a wheelbarrow of soil into one of the raised beds

Currently at the Garden
On Saturday, November 7th, Marcelo and I received the soil early in the morning. For the next two hours, we added soil to two of the raised beds. We were later joined by Iris and Linda Herring, who, after quickly sizing up the scope of the job, promptly recruited her husband Hubert. Then Mark P arrived to give us a hand, and Christine Yeres and Bruce Platt joined later on. With much physical work from all of us, we managed to replenish all raised beds and add more soil to other gardening areas. Thanks to Christine, who stopped by during the week to top off her bed, now the remaining soil pile is protected with a tarp and signaled with a “danger cone”.  But there's still more work to be done--please keep on reading!

Iris and Marcelo spread the newly added soil.
Next StepsThere is still a large amount of soil and we need your help next week, Saturday, November 14 from 10 am to noon. Especially if you had a bed this year, please come by to help us add more soil to all beds (the level will go down after watering a few times, so the best approach is to fill them up to about one inch from the top). If you cannot make it on Saturday, let us know if you may stop by some other time and we'll give you detailed instructions. We will also plant an overwintering cove crop mix in all beds and cover with shredded leaves to leave everything ready for the winter. We will also commission two new raised beds and that should take care of most if not all of the soil that's left. Any leftover soil will be used within the church grounds.


  • Please check out the Grow Local Film Series, that Roots & Wings is co-organizing with other groups in the area. Screenings start on November 16 and will continue through October 2016. The series brings a variety of documentaries on food and the future of farming.
  • We will be soon announcing the 2016 gardening classes with Suzi Novak--please stay tuned!
  • Susan Clelland brought to our attention that the "Farm to Food Bank Bill" was recently passed in NY, which would help reduce food waste while helping those in need. If you'd like to take action and urge Governor Cuomo to sign it into law, you can do that here. Learn more about the bill here
Reminder--Compost Bins: Sam has kindly volunteered to manage the compost bins and so we will continue accepting scraps for composting through the end of November. Please remember to follow the basic rules listed below.
Composting Rules:
  • Drop your kitchen scraps in the left-hand bin (if in doubt, check the ceramic signs above).
  • Cover the scraps with an equal volume of browns (leaves, straw or similar) from the right-hand side bin. This is needed to balance the composition of the compost and to minimize foul odors.
  • Only veggie scraps are acceptable (peels, flowers, grains, pasta, coffee grounds, tea bags, etc).
  • NO animal scraps (egg shells are OK).
  • NO fats or oils.
  • Chop any large scraps and crush any egg shells.
  • Make sure to remove any stickers, rubber bands, twist ties or any non-compostable items.


Sunday, November 8, 2015

Baking Bread the (easy) Traditional Way

If you love homemade bread but you always thought it was too challenging or time-consuming . .  here's the workshop for you:

Baking Bread the (easy) Traditional Way

This Roots & Wings workshop is taught by Coco Zordan, the local dynamo who taught our tomato sauce making and canning workshop earlier this fall. The group of us that had the good fortune to take that class learned about more than tomato sauce:  we found out what to look for when purchasing olive oil, a technique for cleaning vegetables, the most essential kitchen tool (a sharp knife) and much more. Her motto of “healthy easy cooking from scratch” inspired us all.

Coco promises there's a quick and simple way to make bread. She says, “In Baking Bread the (easy) Traditional Way, we'll be making dough in different ways: food processor, blender and by hand. I'll bring some dough ready to use: some for making sandwich bread or ciabatta, and some for making focaccia/pizza, and artisan rustic bread."  

“By the end of the class people will be able to take some bread home as well as some dough to practice their baking skills later in their kitchen.”

As class size is small (6-8 people), we are offering this workshop twice. Please register as soon as you can.

WHERE: @ South Presbyterian Church 343 Broadway, Dobbs Ferry, NY   

COST: $20 per class. Material is included in the price*  Roots & Wings CSA Members $10.

* “I will send you a couple of reminders before the class date to let you know what you'll need to bring with you.” --Coco


Costanza Zordan is a health coach and graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. "I help people make changes in their life starting with what they eat."

A native of Parma, Italy, Coco has lived since 2007 in Hastings-on-Hudson with her husband and 3 daughters. She has participated in many Roots & Wings programs, and blogs about  her love of good food at Coco's Bread. Her life motto is Mens sana in corpore sano (a sound mind in a healthy body).

"Since I moved from Italy to the US twenty years ago, I tried to recreate the flavors that I had left behind. Flavors that were deeply connected to my mom, my childhood, and my memories. Food is the main meme transmitted among Italians. We love spending time at table, while talking about what we’re eating, what we have eaten and what we’re going to eat next. Exchanging recipes is our favorite hobby (also among men), along with sharing food with others as a sign of friendship and love."

Monday, November 2, 2015

Kitchen Garden Notes - October 31

On Saturday, October 31st, Marcelo, Iris, Blanca, Linda Herring, M.J. Wilson, Barry Cunningham, and Gabriela met at the garden. We started by chatting and warming up, sharing a few mates and tasting different varieties of yerba. We continued chopping the remaining plants and gathering the last of the harvest: some herbs, kale, green peppers and tomatoes, and Brussels sprouts and leaves. We applied compost on some of the plots, and Marcelo took down the fence in preparation for receiving the topsoil shipment next week. M.J., a master composter, gave us a hand with the compost pile. She also brought her leaf blower and showed us how to use it as a vacuum and leaf shredder. Marcelo and Gabriela tried it, as Roots & Wings may be purchasing one to shred leaves from the church grounds and use for mulching and compost browns.

We will have topsoil delivered to the garden next Saturday, November 7 in the morning. On this last gathering of the season we will replenish soil in the raised beds, and spread compost and fertilizer. The soil is coming from Westwood Organic Recycling in Katonah.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Kitchen Garden Notes - October 17

Last Thursday, Marcelo, Blanca and Gabriela planted garlic with Suzi Novak, so we hope it will grow in the spring! This Saturday, Marcelo, Mark P, Blanca, and Gabriela were at the garden. There was little to harvest and we expect that not much will survive the low temperatures over the weekend. We began removing some of the plants from the shared plots. Mark P bought a weed whacker for the garden and brought it on Sunday to do some trimming outside of the fence. He also cut herbs from the labyrinth garden.

It's time to start putting the garden to bed! All gardeners are asked to take down their plants no later than October 31, so we can add new soil and nutrients to the raised beds over the next two or three weeks. In our last gardening class, Suzi recommended chopping and leaving any plant residues in place, including weeds (i.e., leave roots in the soil, cut above-ground plant tissue and leave on the soil). This helps maintain soil structure, preserve the living organisms in the soil and contribute to build organic matter and nutrients. As a general rule, it's best to disturb the soil as little as possible. Check out the summary of the class on our web page for more details.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Kitchen Garden Notes - October 10

Things are slowing down at the Kitchen Garden as the growing season is approaching its end. This Saturday, Marcelo, Iris, and Blanca were at the garden. They all helped with the usual tasks of watering, harvesting, and weeding. 

Our group gardening days remain Thursdays from 5:30 to 6:30 pm and Saturdays from 10 am to noon.  We will continue tending the garden until we put it to bed until next year. We will be having the next free gardening workshop on Thursday September 24 at 6:30 pm with Suzi Novak. Join us if you can at 6 PM as Suzi will help with gardening tasks, including garlic planting and pH testing. For more information about the class, summary of the last class, and registration please visit

Kitchen Garden Notes - Sept 26 & Oct 3

We had a rather quiet (not to mention wet and chilly!) day at the kitchen garden on Saturday, October 3rd. I stopped by briefly and met Mark Pennington, who was showing the garden to Mary Beth, a friend who has been gardening a bit with Greyston Foundation. We left by 11:15.

Last week (September 26), MJ Wilson stopped by and brought three monarch butterflies she had been tending to. She and Marcelo released the butterflies in the front garden (see Sept 29th post below). Linda McCarthy joined us for harvesting and watering and helped Marcelo aerate a bed and seed cover crops. Blanca stopped by as well to lend a hand. We harvested tomatoes, tomatillos, greens, and hot peppers for the food pantry. Mark P. did some weeding and maintenance and found a beautiful black swallowtail caterpillar. He took it home and it's turned into a chrysallis! With the cooler Autumn weather many vegetables are nearing the end of their productive cycle and we will continue to prepare plots for next year by aerating them, adding compost and a cover crop.


Sunday, October 11, 2015

Solar News for Dobbs Ferry and Hastings

Dobbs Ferry and Hastings Selected for Solar-Savings Program—discounts of up to 15%

When Roots & Wings was asked to write a letter of support and endorsement for Dobbs Ferry and Hastings' application to Solarize Westchester last June, we did not hesitate, as it was brought to our attention by friends at the Dobbs Ferry Energy Task Force. 

Here's the good news: Solarize Hastings-Dobbs Ferry was approved as the newest program of Solarize Westchester! Read the official news here. (Other programs include Tarrytown, Cortland-Croton and Bedford-Mount Kisco. More here.) 

This means that between now and the end of February 2016 residents of Dobbs Ferry and Hastings can buy solar electric systems at a discounted group rate, and from an installer--Sunrise Solar Solutions--which has been vetted by a team of local architects, green energy specialists and homeowners.  

You are invited to attend launch events for Solarize Hastings-Dobbs Ferry:
  • Thursday, October 15 @ 7:30 PM in the Board Room at the Dobbs Ferry Village Hall
  • Sunday, October 18 @ 3 PM at the James Harmon Community Center in Hastings

There will also be a home tour of existing solar installations the weekend of October 24, and a series of workshops throughout the next four months in both villages for residents who want to learn more about installing a solar powered system. 

From Solarize Hastings-Dobbs Ferry's press release:

Given the tax incentives, cheap financing now available, and the group discount, homeowners can have a system installed right now at no upfront cost, and realize immediate and ongoing savings on their electricity bills.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Monarch Butterflies Bon Voyage!

Here are some photos I took on Saturday, at South Church's garden, when releasing 3 of the 22 Monarchs I fostered.

Another one was released by the children's class on Sunday.

The monarch butterflies will spend their winter hibernation in Mexico and some parts of Southern California where it is warm all year long. 

"Have a margarita for me!" 

-- MJ Wilson

photo credit MJ Wilson

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Fan Mail!

It's so good to hear from people who attend our programs, or just hear the buzz about them! Here's some notes we received recently.

Composting is EZ with Eliza Zazzera

My name is Aimee and I am a Dobbs Ferry resident (right down from South Church on Broadway). My partner and I have been to the church a few times and recently learned of the composting program held at the church through Roots & Wings. We've been looking for a composting option for our small apartment for some time now and would love to be able to drop them off at the Roots & Wings Community Garden. Might that be a possibility? 

With gratitude,
* * * 

hi -- i live in ardsley and i was wondering if you take contributions to your compost -- we juice organic vegetables -- the juices include carrots, celery, apples, ginger, dandelion, parsley and cilantro so that is what is in the pulp -- i have been trying to find a place to donate it for compost -- thank you -- j.  

We replied:  
Thanks for reaching out.
We think it would be wonderful if you dropped off your compost at our bins. The best thing to do would be to come to The Kitchen Garden on a Saturday morning (10 AM - noon) and meet Marcello or Gabriela, two of the people who are most involved in The Kitchen Garden. The Kitchen Garden is behind South Church and our compost bins are right next to the garden. They would acclimate you to our bins and you could take it from there.

Tomato Sauce Making and Canning with Coco Zordan

Hi ladies,

Just wanted y’all to know that my penne a la vodka last night, using the sauce we made Saturday, was the best I have ever made! We did good. Thanks!

Warm regards,

 * * * 
Dear all,

The bread, the quick sauce, the focaccia, the bread SO delicious.  I enjoyed meeting you all (Donna and Lenore, my friends from before, so much fun!). I can't think of a better way to spend a Saturday morning...  Ellen, if you are willing, I would love your recipe for vodka sauce!

I look forward to the bread making class.  Coco, your focaccia is pure heaven....

Ciao to all and until the next time,

* * * 

I haven't used the sauce yet (except for some of the chunky sauce with Coco's delicious bread), but I had a lot of fun with all of you on Saturday and I am looking forward to trying the sauce. 


Our teacher Coco replied:
Great team work indeed! looking forward to creating more delicious recipes and have fun with you guys soon.