As October comes to a close, the fall season at Greyston is in full swing. Yonkers is perched on the east side of the Hudson River and from many of the bakery windows, you can look across the river at the rocky outcrops of the Palisades nestled in fall foliage.
Fall is also the season of harvest. Here in the Northeast that means there are lots of fruits and vegetables in season – from apples, pears, and plums to beets, broccoli, and squash. One of the projects Greyston is working on is promoting healthy and sustainable living within our community. Through our community gardens program, we serve hundreds of Yonkers residents with fresh vegetables and a healthy dose of fun and safe activities for children. And, we’re always looking for ways to deepen these conversations.
Last week, we held our Greyston-wide Fall Harvest Festival to celebrate the fall with healthy eating and some tips for living sustainably. We held cooking demonstrations, where we made apple sauce and a veggie stir fry using fresh, local produce (it was delicious! Check out the recipes at the end of this post). Everyone at Greyston had a chance to decorate miniature pumpkins. We had some real works of art, especially by our preschoolers at the Greyston Child Care Center.
- Eat local and sustainable. The fresher your produce is, the better it tastes and the more nutritional it is. There are so many fruits and vegetables in season in October and November. Find out what’s in season in your area and try to support local farmers by shopping at farmers’ markets or by looking for locally and sustainably grown food at your grocery store.
- Pay attention to what you are buying. If you’re looking for last minute Halloween costumes, try a second hand store or doing a costume swap with friends first. If you’re getting a head start on holiday gifts, try buying from companies that do good. Since 2012, Greyston has been a qualified Benefit Corporation (or ‘B Corps’), which means that we value the impact our company has on the community and environment as well as our bottom line. Learn more about Benefit Corporations and find out about other B Corps here.
- Insulate your home. As you gear up for the fall and winter, one of the best ways to save money and energy is by better insulating your home. Start simple by removing your window-unit air conditioners and installing weather stripping around leaky doors and windows. Make the most of your heat by moving furniture and other obstructions from vents, baseboard heaters, or radiators so that air moves freely. Open blinds during the day and let the sunlight warm up your house. If you have a fireplace, get the chimney cleaned and the vent systems checked so that your heat doesn’t escape up the chimney.
And last but not least, here are the recipes we used for our cooking demonstrations:
For the veggie stir fry, we used a modified version of this recipe from the Food Network.
- Butternut squash (2 lbs, pre-cut)
- Red onion (1)
- Kale (1 lb)
- Brussels Sprouts (1 lb)
- Butter (2 tbsp)
Directions: Chop up the red onion, kale and Brussels sprouts. If necessary, chop the butternut squash into smaller pieces. Heat the butter in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the squash and red onion and sprinkle with the salt, pepper, basil, and rosemary to taste. Cook for several minutes, turning gently with a spatula, until the squash begins to soften. Add the kale and Brussels sprouts, and continue turning gently until the kale, Brussels sprouts, and squash are fully cooked. Add more spices to taste.
For the apple sauce, we just cored and chopped 10-12 apples (most people peel them too), put them in a crock pot, and sprinkled them with cinnamon. We set the crock pot on high heat then after about 2 hours, stirred the apples poured some apple cider (roughly ½ a cup) over them to keep them moist. Then we waited another 2-3 hours until they are soft enough to mash easily with a masher or fork. You can also add a splash of lemon juice and some brown sugar to taste. Then enjoy!
How are you celebrating fall this year?