Sunday, August 17, 2008

*yoga *cook *eat

Yesterday was a special Om yoga event. A large group of us went to the Union Square Farmer's Market with Margi Young and Maria Rosa Menocal to learn about local vendors, buy seasonal food, cook easy (yet versatile) dishes, and enjoy each other's company. As Maria said, the class was to be about, "ways of developing a practice where nourishment is rooted in an intimate and personal relationship with our food, one where the acts of buying it and making it are part of the process. Being present in the selection and preparation of food can be a deeply enriching part of our daily lives, and part of developing a consciousness about our relationship to the rest of the universe." It was a glorious day! I took notes so that we could remember all the fabulous tips Maria gave us, and how we shared a meal with each other, prepared a little something for others, many of us strangers. order of the vendors we visited...

Ronnybrook Farm РAmcramdale, NY. For all dairy. Often a long line. The cr̬me fraiche and butter we ate was from here. At market Wed and Sat, year round. (Also sold through Fresh Direct as a featured local vendor)

Quattro’s Game Farm – Pleasant Valley, NY. At market Wed and Sat, year round.

Stokes Farm -- Old Tappan, NJ. Mostly for herbs but also tomatoes. One of the founding vendors at this greeenmarket. At market since 1976, Wed, Fri and Sat, March through December. Here's video of farmer Ron.

Fantasy Fruit Farm – Afton, NY. for berries,very seasonal. At market Mon, Wed, and Sat.

Berried Treasure – Cooks Falls, NY. Some consider the strawberries here the best at the market. Marie called Franca an “extraordinary farmer” Usually at market Wed and Fri.

Keith’s Farm – Greenville, NY. One of the most famous vendors here. Has written a book about his farm. Known for garlic, but has 15 acres with organic veggies and herbs. At market Wednesday and Saturday only / June through December.

Terhune Orchard
– Salt Point, NY – Apples all year. At market 29 years.

Eckerton Hill Farm – Lenhartsville, PA. Carries many specialty items, such as baby bell peppers, lemon cucumbers, jelly melon cucumber. Many of the city’s top chefs shop here, so get here early! At market 13 years. (Also sold through Fresh Direct as a featured local vendor)

Flying Pig Farm – Shushan, NY. Not just any pork vendor, these pig farmers raise heritage breeds and have photos of their loved ones at their stand and on their website. At market Saturdays only. Watch a video of these adorable piggies.

Oak Grove Plantation – Franklin Township, NJ. “Ted” started the farm in 1977, and started at market in 1980. Carries heirloom tomatoes, but specializes in every kind of pepper: habaneros, poblanos, tomatillos, jalepeno, sweet peppers, etc. Has unusual items like ground husk cherry tomatoes (like pineapple). Our green corn for the soup was bought here.

Hoeffner Farm – Montgomery, NY. Mostly vegetables. At market 32 years.

The Cheerful Cherry – Hector, NY. The table was full of sour cherries, and a sign said they were the last of the season.

Paffenroth Gardens – Warwick, NY. 18 years at market Wed and Sat; open all year long with carrots, leeks potatoes.

Gorzynski Ornery Farm – Cochecton Center, NY. John is the friendly farmer ready to share his knowledge of vegetables. In business since 1979, this farm produces over 500 varieties of vegetables. They adhere to organic standards that exceed the government’s criteria, but chose not to go through the bureaucratic certification process by the USDA. When we were there, on display were a large variety of greens. John grows for flavor not for looks or durability. At market April to Dec on Saturdays.

Violet Hill – Livingston Manor, NY. They raise pastured poultry (chicken, duck, turkey, geese, and guinea birds), and grass fed meats (beef, pork, goat, lamb, and rabbit), but currently sell only lamb, pork (Maria suggests trying the fennel sausage) and eggs. They have araucana eggs (the ones we made our tortillas from) At market five years, Sat, year round.

Bulich Mushrooms – Catskill, NY. An important vendor to remember in winter. At market 23 years, year round.

Hawthorne Valley Farm – Ghent, NY. Bio-dynamic farm, selling cheese, baked goods, meats, and produce. Wed and Sat, year round.

3-Corner Field Farm – Shushan, NY. Raises grass-fed lamb and uses every part. Sells meat, cheese, wool, and soap. Marie always buys her lamb here. The ricotta we ate was from this vendor. At market six years. Watch a video from the farm.

Yuno’s Farm –Bordentown, NY. Maria claims they have the best produce!! It is where she got the peppers for our soup. They are at market Monday and Friday only.

Well, shamefully I did not take pictures of the cooking process, the green corn soup (with poblanos and tomatillos), the potato /mushroom/truffle oil tortilla, or our wonderful group. (I was busy being present in the moment!) But here are a couple pictures of some of the finished salads: a rice salad, and a "fruits-and-nuts" chicken salad. And of course the amazing view of Madison Square Park and the Empire State Building.

Sacred Eavesdropping

"Man Looking" by tamsen ellen

Every Wednesday, Rob Brezsny's newsletter arrives in my in-box. While I can't always make heads or tails of his horoscope, I often appreciate the excerpts from his book and the abundance of quotes from wise men and women. Last week, he showed how easily our voyeuristic tendencies can be turned into loving kindness...


I've tried a wide variety of meditative practices from many traditions. I've calmed myself through rhythmic breathing; watched with amusement as the nonstop procession of images paraded across my mind; visualized images of deities; cultivated unconditional love; chanted mantras; and taken rigorous inventories to determine whether the integrity of my actions matches my high ideals.

But in my years of study, I've never heard of a form of meditation that would ask me to go to a public place, take my attention off myself, and observe other people with compassionate objectivity. That's why I was forced to invent it. Hereafter known as Sacred Eavesdropping, this meditation builds one's ability to pray in the manner described by poet W. H. Auden: "The definition of prayer is paying careful and concentrated attention to something other than your own constructions."