Inch by inch, row by row, I’m gonna make this garden grow/ Gonna hoe it deep and low, gonna make this fertile ground/ Inch by inch, row by row, please bless these seeds I sow/ Please keep them safe below ‘til the rain comes tumbling down.
We sang this song sitting “criss-cross applesauce” in the Roaring Brook Elementary School gym at our monthly assemblies.
I can clearly remember our music teacher Mr. Dupont patiently teaching us the lyrics and hand motions to this classic Pete Seeger song. And we were taught well, because this is one of the earliest and fondest memories I have of growing up in Chappaqua.
Reflecting on my childhood now as a graduating high school senior, I find that it was these small moments (or “watermelon seeds” as we called them in second-grade English) that helped shape me into the person I am today. I am the result of dutiful nurturing by the many caring people that I have encountered over the years, and the lessons that they have imparted. However, there is group of people that has had the most impact of all: the community at the Chappaqua Farmers Market.
I have always loved learning about and experimenting with food and nature. On hot summer days, I can remember romping around the yard collecting ingredients for a stew “cooked” on my front porch. A mixture of uprooted dandelions, onion grass, baby pinecones, wild raspberries, rock salt, and cherry tomatoes “boiled” with an angled hand mirror transformed into hearty soup fit for only my younger brother’s (unwilling) consumption. Now, as a proud locavore and avid cook, I look back to this game as my early years of experimentation. Years later, in 2010, the Chappaqua Farmers Market first set up tents on the Bell Middle school lawn. One Saturday morning, my mother brought me to visit the market and I was instantly enchanted. The vibrant bounty of produce and prepared foods was magical, and the experience enhanced by the caring community atmosphere. I knew I needed to be part of it somehow, and in an initiative to get kids involved in market promotion to increase attendance of all ages, I was named Spokeskid of the market.
Every Saturday for the next three years, “Kid Foodie,” my on-camera personality, would interview a different vendor about their produce and process. Kathy the fishmonger let me taste a raw oyster, Demetra the olive oil woman taught me about optimal olive oil acidity levels, and Emily the cheese lady taught me about the the benefits of probiotic bacteria.
Suddenly, food was no longer confined to the edges of a plate–peanut butter, strawberry jelly, whole wheat bread–all the ingredients to my favorite lunch meal had a fascinating origin and a corresponding scientific explanation.
Along with the education I received from the Market, what I still enjoy most about coming to the Farmers Market are the people. After weeks of greeting the same faces, I am on a friendly first-name basis with almost all the farmers and vendors. We have nicknames for each other, we ask about each other’s families–those special relationships somehow make the fresh heirloom tomatoes taste all the more sweet.
And after a long and taxing school or work week, the Farmers Market is the place where everyone can relax, reconnect, and rebalance their lives. Neighbors can chat over lunch, families can play in the grass, and new friends can be made while waiting on line. The adage, “food brings people together,” really does ring true in our small town.
As I begin to transition into the next season of my life, I have learned not to be afraid to ask questions, to try new things, and, most importantly, to water and feed special relationships.
As ready as I am to move on and begin this new stage, I will miss Chappaqua for the kind teachers, mentors, friends, and peers that have helped me grow, inch-by-inch.
When ordering a pizza with friends, there are always disagreements.
But, an interesting thing happened when Byram Hills High School sophomore Robbie Waxman and his friends hit an impasse between penne alla vodka and plain.
“We listed down all the restaurants in Armonk we knew and started talking ideas about what we could do to make it easier for us and everyone else to order food,” Robbie, who is self-taught in coding and web design, said.
Fast forward six months and this group of four sophomores is launching a free app called “Westchester Eats.”
“It’s been done before,” Robbie said of food ordering apps like Seamless and Grubhub. “But, there’s really no platform specific to Westchester County and none that offers both orders and reservations for restaurants.” Users will also be able to conveniently get information on the restaurant and leave a review.
The group’s goal is to get every restaurant in Armonk, and eventually throughout Westchester, to sign on. Will Cohen, 16, who is responsible for building the app, said that there’s no one single app that diligently lists every restaurant in Westchester.
“We really just want to make it so that, even if you don’t know what you want to eat before you go on the app, you have all of the restaurants that are available in Westchester for you to look at and easily filter through,” he said. “We’re just trying to simplify the entire thing and make it available in one app.”
Will, who is self-taught in app design, hopes to make it possible for users to get anywhere in the app within three clicks. Users will be able to search by town, type of food and a full list of restaurants.
“Right now we’ve made it so that it’s possible to order a pizza in 10 seconds if you know what you’re doing,” he said.
The tech-savvy students with a shared passion for entrepreneurship started this process in late 2016 and hope to launch in June. While eager to get their creation off the ground, Will said they have tried hard to take their time and differentiate themselves as much as possible.
“We go out to play tennis on the weekends and we could be hitting and it’s just like, snap, a new idea,” said Robbie, who plays on the varsity soccer, swimming and tennis teams at Byram Hills High School. “We all take a minute and come to the net. We are like, ‘great idea, we gotta add that in as soon as possible.’”
On top of the website, which will house tutorial videos on how to use the app, Robbie heads sales and has been meeting with restaurants to bring them onto the app–he says most have been very receptive. Will makes the app, Zach Tuzzo is head of finances, and Evan Miller is head of marketing.
“I think one of the greatest things about this is they’re doing it all on their own,” Robbie’s mother, Meg Waxman, said. “It’s just these boys putting their heads together and working hard.” In addition to their business, they started an entrepreneurship club at their high school.
“Starting a business has been something that I’ve been thinking about and talking about with my friends for a long time,” Robbie said. “And so, combining that with my passion for technology I think was definitely the right way to go, and I think that it’s going really well. It’s been a fun way to learn, really.”
The Seafood Grill has..
- an amazing menu of the finest “Dock to Dish” seafood perfected with a slight Japanese twist.
- the area’s only “Raw Bar” featuring Oysters, Crab Legs, Clams and more.
- upscale and friendly bar featuring the finest liquors around.
- A fantastic and very affordable wine collection paired to your entree and available by the glass or bottle.
- *Eight Exclusive Craft Beers on Tap*
- Happy Hour specials and an exclusive Express Lunch.
We offer an exclusive private second floor dining room for your special events.
Make your reservation now! Call 914-730-1122
More than 120 supporters and Friends of Neighbors Link, gathered recently to view the film “Food Chains,” at the Jacob Burns Film Center. Members of Latin Links hold this annual event that uses film to inform and educate the public around issues that impacts our daily lives as told through the immigrant experience. “Food Chains” is the award-winning documentary film exposé about an intrepid group of Florida farm workers and their battle to defeat the $4 trillion global supermarket industry through the ingenious Fair Food program, to improve working conditions for farm laborers in the United States.
Taylored Menus, based in Pleasantville, prepared Latin-themed appetizers – empanadas, popusas, and tiny tacos, and Neighbors Link’s client leaders prepared Latin-themed desserts, including the ever popular flan, for the post screening reception.
For more information visit www.neighborslink.org