By Michall Jeffers Photos by Carolyn Simpson/Doublevision Photographers
Robin Murphy is a dynamo. Watch her directing the Chappaqua Moms Wholeshare Group, and you’d swear she’s triplets. Volunteers are busy checking lists, arranging goods, and preparing the products members will pick up in just a couple of hours. It’s a whirlwind of activity, and through it all, Robin greets everyone with a smile and a kind word, never losing her cool.
Those closest to Robin know she’s interested in feeding people, but not her own ego. She’s quick to point out that she’s not the only person integral to the project, and especially credits Debbie Rogers as her co-coordinator. She notes, “There are no titles at Wholeshare. It’s strictly community based, and wouldn’t be possible without the volunteers.”
Robin has lived in Chappaqua on and off since 1990. Born in Great Neck, she attended the prestigious University of Michigan. She’s almost 50, and the mom of daughters Ellie, a 20-year-old Greeley graduate, and enterprising eight-year-old Iphigene; but Robin has the energy and enthusiasm of a teenager, especially when she’s discussing her CMWG endeavor.
“Our Wholeshare Group started on the Chappaqua Moms Facebook page as a result of a conversation about what our town really needs,” she explains. “I began researching organic produce sources and came across Wholeshare. While I realized that it isn’t ideal for an individual family’s purchases, I knew it would work well if even just a few families joined together. I never expected it to grow so big so quickly!”
Robin continues, “Despite our name, “Chappaqua Moms Wholeshare Group,” we have many members from Pleasantville, Briarcliff, Yorktown and towns as far south as Hartsdale and as far north as Danbury. Most of the members are women, but we do have some men in the mix, too.”
Chappaqua Moms are no shrinking violets, and everyone enjoys voicing an opinion. As Teresa Bueti notes, “The whole group is pretty smart-you should see the research we post on recipes, dietary issues, and farming practices.”
Danae Richards, named for a Greek goddess, agrees and cheerfully keeps working. Nancy Silver is almost too busy to chat, but Pleasantville’s Jennifer Frawley raves about the “Fresh food at great prices.”
Of course, there is a down side to all this wonderful food. Slender though she is, Michelle Hecht asserts, “There have been times when I’ve picked up my order and discovered I had Camembert, French baguettes, and duck pate, but no one here is complaining! Robin tells us to beware of The Wholeshare 15.”
Old and new adherents converse easily. Kimber Frank, a founding member since 2014, smiles as she remembers ordering a full case of milk, not realizing it would contain 18 half gallons. “We freeze a lot,” she laughs, recalling a split of duck bacon, and musing that several ladies have bought second home freezers.
Carolyn Ramsey fondly relates, “My favorite features are the large lots, and discovering new products. I’d never even heard about purple organic sweet potatoes. Now, I love them.” Four of her friends have followed Carolyn’s lead, and joined, too.”
When Wholeshare members get overly enthusiastic and there’s just too much for one family, sharing and donating are the order of the day. It’s important to Robin and friends that “We also contribute food and funds to Hillside Food Outreach–a really wonderful organization that’s dedicated to delivering food to those in Westchester, Putnam and Fairfield who aren’t only challenged financially, but physically as well. We happily donate food to other community events and neighbors who are having hard times.
Equally important is the value of supporting individual farmers and finding out how much they do to make sure that their products are safe, cruelty free, and that their methods contribute to the preservation of the soil and the environment.
In addition to her dedication as mom and CMWG leader, Robin and her husband own Maid Brigade, which has been a pioneer in green technology for the home cleaning industry.
There’s an old saying: If you want something done, ask a busy woman. If you want something done that’s fun, healthy, and good for the planet, ask Robin Murphy.
Michall Jeffers writes about food and reviews restaurants, both in print and online. She and her husband, John Warner, are longtime Chappaqua residents.