Pascale’s Blog

april 12, 2012

If you shop the farmers market then you already know what the culinary benefits are of eating local. Fruits and vegetables simply taste better when you eat them within 12-24 hours of being picked or harvested. Traveling along the highway for three days in a hot truck doesn’t do much for tomatoes and asparagus. Never mind baby spinach and mesclun. How “local” are we? At the Chappaqua Farmers Market, we insist that all of the food sold be grown, raised or prepared within a 200-mile radius of the Chappaqua Train Station, our summer home. Technically, we are a Hudson Valley market though we do make an exception for that glorious fish which comes to us from the Hampton Bays. Under the “10 percent” rule, vendors are allowed to bring a small amount (no more than 10 percent of their display) from a nearby farm (or fishery). That explains why we occasionally sell tuna and swordfish and Nantucket scallops that don’t come from the Hampton Bays.

Eating local is a great start to leading a greener life, but there is so much more we can do.
After you shop the market on Saturday why don’t you swing by the Bell School Auditorium for their extremely ambitious Green Fair. You (and your children) are guaranteed to learn something that will help protect our planet – and our farmers in the process.

Farmers like Roaming Angus  who is back this week with a new item: ground chicken for healthy lean burgers now that grilling season is here.

Our favorite “vegetable” baker, Flourish is also back this week. And, great news: they will be joining us every other week once we move outdoors (May 5th!).

Clean Ridge Soap Co. has been away for five weeks. Time to restock on that Eucalyptus lotion. I keep one bottle in my car, one by my bed and one by my kitchen sink.

By the Way Bakery is also here this week, proving, once again, that gluten-free can be synonymous with delicious.

Personal Chef Maria Reina is back with a kitchen demo. This Saturday, Maria, who is now blogging for The Journal News about her farmers market-inspired recipes, will be preparing a very spring-friendly Vietnamese asparagus and mushroom soup (crab optional).

See you at the market!

Pascale Le Draoulec
food writer/ author/ farmers market director

April 5, 2012

Some of you will be passing on yeast this weekend, others will be embracing lamb. Either way, this holiday-convergence weekend is a reminder of how important and powerful it can be to gather around the table with the people we love.

Easter is often referred to as “a moveable feast” because of its fluidity on the calendar. That’s often what I call the farmers markets I run. It’s hard to believe that the Church of St. Mary is a place of worship one minute, and a food mecca the next. As many years as I’ve been doing this it always catches me by surprise to see a parking lot or a church hall be transformed so dramatically in this way.

Good smells help! And, you’ll have plenty of those this weekend starting with True Food and Fork & Glass offering healthy breakfast tacos and burritos filled with all things organic and/or local. Did anyone try those beet burgers from Fork & Glass last week? I couldn’t get over how delicious they were and so healthy too. Just grated beets bound with some oats and sauteed shallots. Top that with a dollop of sour cream, or better yet, some chutney from Bombay Emerald who is visiting us this week and you’ve got a winner. I am going to make them again this weekend, using Portobello mushrooms from Madura in lieu of a bun. How’s that for righteous!

Linzi Fastiggi of Spice Revolution is back this week. I had such a good time eavesdropping on her last week as she talked so passionately to customers about her exotic array of spices, spice rubs and gourmet salts. And her chocolate bark? Amazing.

Big Girl Bakery also has a fantastic chocolate bark this week. She’s featuring several flourless dessert options (her chocolate torte, her cheesecake) for the holiday. Why not buy her mini chocolate whoopie pies to fill the Easter basket of someone special?

And, Little Croc Bakery will be there with all of their gluten-free and vegan desserts which are all Passover friendly.

Honey Locust Farmhouse and Newgate Farms will have lots of gorgeous greens.

Buddhapesto is back this week after skipping a week. No doubt many of you are jonesing for that basil nectar….

Happy Holidays and see you at the market!

Pascale Le Draoulec
food writer/ author/ farmers market director

march 29, 2012

Our Norway niche…

In case you haven’t heard, in the culinary world, all things Norwegian are hot, hot, hot right now. The restaurant Maaemo in Oslo has just picked up two Michelin stars, right out of the gate, and lots of New York City chefs are experimenting with this particular brand of Scandinavian cuisine.

Of course the Chappaqua Farmers Market is right on top of this trend with Sunny and Mark Gandara, of Fork & Glass Catering, who come to the market each week and  fill that church space with the intoxicating smells of Norwegian and Mexican street food – she’s from Norway, he’s of Mexican descent. Sunny is ramping up her Norwegian offerings this week: her Nordic-style breakfast crepe will be made with buckwheat and filled with gruyere cheese, apples and onions. She is also bringing some Scandinavian potato salad and Nordic beet burgers (that’s right, BEET)  to add some hip to any vegetarian meal. Of course, for their die-hard regulars, they will also be preparing those succulent pulled-pork tacos and hearty breakfast tacos, too.

This week, please welcome Spice Revolution. Talk about niche. This little Dobbs Ferry store, barely bigger than a nutmeg, sells carefully selected salts, spices and chocolates from around the globe. Owner, Linzi Fastiggi, who also conducts chocolate tours in NYC,  will be bringing 40 spices including: hot and sweet smoked paprika from Spain, grains of paradise, Mexican oregano, a variety of curry powders and middle eastern spices, dried chili peppers and powders, dehydrated vegatables and vegetable powders as well as salts and peppers. She will also be bringing a selection of exotic chocolate bars including a few that are gluten free, dairy free and soy free.

Gaia’s Breath organic farm has a lovely new soft and creamy sheep’s milk cheese. If you haven’t tried their gorgeous and heart-healthy veal — roasts, meatballs, chops and osso bucco….you need to treat yourself this weekend. Their pate is divine.

If you haven’t tried the basil hummus at Taiim, give it a whirl this weekend.

Honey Locust Farmhouse has organic chickweed, baby spinach and mesclun…all organic, natch. Grab some of her nettle pesto before it sells out. It’s ridiculously good on a chunk of Bread Alone sourdough.

See you at the market!
Pascale Le Draoulec
food writer/ author/ farmers market director

march 23, 2012

Dear Shoppers,

The other day market co-founder Priscilla Sorensen answered her front door to find a dear friend looking, well, slightly desperate. The friend clutched an empty container of lentil soup that had been virtually licked clean and she held it out for Priscilla to see.

“More,” she said, channeling Oliver Twist.

Fortunately for this friend, and for the many of you who have clamored for the Scarsdale bakery’s return, Flourish is back this week with their original line of “vegetable baked goods” and extraordinary soups, foccacias & crostatas. Get there early!

For some Italian fare made with flourish, it’s hard to beat Riccardo Befi’s handmade ravioli packed with spinach and ricotta. Riccardo, who is an esteemed gemologist, only has time to cook in volume for our market once a month so make sure you stock up on his frozen lasagnas, bolognese sauce and ravioli. They are surprisingly light and delicate and you can taste the passion Riccardo puts into every batch. And don’t be thrown if if his eye lingers a little too long on your ring:  it’s a professional tic.

Andrew King from Roaming Angus is back with lots of eggs and chicken and smoked hams for Easter. Having just slaughtered four pigs, he will have lots of pork cuts from roasts to Kielbasa. Don’t forget to congratulate Andrew for the new addition to the King family: their first calf was born on Sunday. The calf wasn’t due until next week but  “when we came home from church, there she was!” says Andrew. The calf was born to one of their pure-bred cows which they exhibit at local fairs. “That means this one will not make it to your dinner plate,” warns Andrew. For pictures of the baby calf with a pedigree,  go

See you at the market!

AND DON’T BE CAUGHT WITH A DULL KNIFE ON THE HOLIDAY – bring your knifes to the knife sharpener this week!

Pascale Le Draoulec
food writer/ author/ farmers market director

march 15, 2012

Come spend St. Patrick’s Day at the Chappaqua Farmers Market where It’s always easy being GREEN

Honey Locust Farmhouse will have the first vibrant GREEN arugula and mesclun of the season.

Kontoulis Olive Oil is unveiling her latest olive oil vintage (pressed in December 2011) which is a gorgeous luminous GREEN.

Madura Farms will have grass GREEN spring garlic stalks (great for sauteeing with King Oyster mushroooms).

Picklelicious’ new pickles are emerald GREEN!

Visiting vendor Yona’s Gourmet Delights will have healthy cupcake-size quiches packed with dark GREEN spinach and broccoli.

Stone Barns will have lots of spring lamb, and Gaia’s Breath lots of beef, veal and pork all raised in bountiful GREEN pastures.

Gaia’s Breath has a new line of cheese including a Morbier style cheese with blue-GREEN veining.

True Food of Nyack will have their crunchy GREEN kale & chickpea salad (my personal fave – esp. with an extra squeeze of lemon)

Newgate Farms will have jade GREEN (and white) baby bok choy.

Buddhapesto will have electrifyingly GREEN pesto sauce.

and..of course, Bread Alone will have their traditional Irish Soda Bread. Not green — but delicious nonetheless.

See you at the market!

Pascale Le Draoulec
food writer/ author/ farmers market director

March 8, 2012

When I was a restaurant critic in NYC one of my favorite restaurant havens was Verbena on Irving Place. Chef Diane Forley was an early pioneer of farm-to-table cooking and her delicate command of the vegetable was something to behold. I was crushed when I heard the restaurant had closed and that she and her co-chef husband Michael Ostuka had gone out West.

Then I heard that they had resurfaced, with a bakery named Flourish Baking Co. in Scarsdale. Though the emphasis is on baked goods, the vegetable still reigns supreme in all that they make. Consider what they will be bringing to market this Saturday when they come pay us a visit: zucchini and ricotta tarts, mushroom, collard and leek tarts, market focaccia with peppers, caramelized onions and mozzarella. They are also making salads like pickled beets and cauliflower and wild mushroom. Please stop by and make them feel welcome.

Stone Barns will have lots of lamb this week. And King Roaming Angus is bringing all things beef. Between them, there should be plenty of pork, too, a “must-buy” if you saw Chef David Tanis’ recipe for French bistro-style roasted pork tenderloin with prunes in the Dining Section this week. Lordy…was that picture tantalizing.

Flour City Pasta will be selling organic stone-ground flour – the same flour they use to make their own pasta and which they grind themselves. They will also have corn meal and unground grains.

Renee’s Jams is back after an extended hiatus. Her sweet jams elevate toast to a proper breakfast and her savory jams are great for cooking.

Little Croc Bakehouse is back this week with her lemon squares that will leave you pie-eyed.

Big Girl Bakery will be bringing her scrumptious mini whoopie pies and chocolate sable cookies. I’ve become completely hooked on her granola of late.

Amazing Real Live is bringing – and having a special on –  7-month-aged Stella Vallis Tomme cheese which is much more tangy than the Tomme they usually sell which is only aged four months. The aged version is perfect for melting: Croque Monsieur anyone?

See you at the market!

Pascale Le Draoulec
food writer/ author/ farmers market director

march 1, 2012

When Chef Bruce Beaty from the Red Hat Restaurant in Irvington was looking for a new dessert for his menu at Red Hat Bakery – he found inspiration at the Farmers Market. For his new spring menu he is serving By the Way Bakery’s delicate lemon teacake topped with a dollop of intense raspberry jam from Honey Locust Farmhouse. Two great things that go great together.

That got me thinking about some other market offerings that taste even better when paired. For example, I love, love, love slices of Madura’s raw fennel dipped in Taiim’s creamy, unctuous hummus. Or, Amazing Real Live Food Co.’s queso blanco tossed with chopped peppadew peppers from Picklelicious in a salad of baby spinach from Newgate or Madura. Or…Gaia’s Breath’s veal osso bucco slow-roasted with Newgate’s rockin’ root vegetables. Stone Barns’ lamb burger with caramelized onions and mint chutney from Bombay Emerald Chutney (yes, they are back this week!). Their plum chutney is divine on a Stone Barns’ chicken sandwich or with cold sliced tuna from Pura Vida. I love any soup from Fork & Glass with a slice of miche or dark Tuscan bread from Bread Alone. Any burrito from True Food of Nyack laced with Guyank Brand’s hot sauce (they will be here next week, on the 11th). A piece of pie from the Pie Lady of Nyack with a spoonful of creme fraiche from Ronnybrook (courtesy of Amazing Real Live). Any pasta from Flour City Pasta tossed with Buddhapesto and some cherry tomatoes from Madura. Tierra Farm’s Honduran coffee with Ronnybrook’s whole milk – and Big Girl Bakery’s chocolate sable cookies for dunking. Tierra Farm’s pistachios, caramelized and tossed with roasted beets, served with ricotta, or Joe’s mozzarella (always made just hours before market opens).

Finally, I love to round out any kitchen session with a spritz of Clean Ridge Soap Co.’s liquid kitchen soap. It’s alcohol-free and made with a refreshing blend of citrus and essential oils and makes me smile every time I use it.  No kitchen should be without it! Ditto for sharp knives.

Come do some mixing and matching of your own this Saturday…

See you at the market!

Pascale Le Draoulec
food writer/ author/ farmers market director

february 23, 2012

It’s so much easier being a locavore in California. I’m in Santa Monica visiting my parents and a trip to the farmers market yesterday made me a tad envious. Ok, maybe more than a tad. Gorgeous lettuces, pink blossoms, navel oranges….

Then I thought about the snow-white cauliflower I bought from Newgate last week which I steamed, then mashed with some of Madura Farm’s buttery golden potatoes. I added a spoonful of creme fraiche from Ronnybrook Farms (you need to special order this from Amazing Real Live Food Co. and they’ll bring it down for you) and some of Madura’s fresh thyme (thought chives would do nicely, too). And I thought about the mushroom pasta dish I made the other day with mushrooms from Madura, and some of Flour City Pasta’s wild mushroom fettucine and I instantly felt better, and grateful.

We may have less this time of year, but what we have is quality.

In the current (March) issue of Martha Stewart Living there are some great recipes for all things onion which we have plenty of in New York in the winter. A recipe for onion and shallot confit made my mouth water. All you do is slow-roast red and white cipollini onions, shallots and cherry tomatoes in olive oil at a low temperature. The slow-roast intensifies the onions’ sweetness. The confit will keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge and is great alongside grilled meats (both Roaming Angus and Stone Barns are here this week) or tossed in pasta.

Little Croc Bakehouse is back with her gluten-free goodies and Big Girl Bakery is here too. Her new bluecorn muffins with citrus zest are divine as is her quinoa salad and granola. She’ll also have some adorable, tiny whoopie pies – which might be just the thing to cheer up anyone who doesn’t want to go back to school on Monday. Little Croc will have her fabulous lemon squares, blueberry coffee cakes and chocolate and sugar donuts (and her gluten-free version of whoopie pies). Little Croc’s entire line is gluten-free and many of the items are also vegan.

True Food of Nyack has some new pot pie fillings (including some tasty vegetarian options).

And don’t forget your carving knives and pruning shears…the knife sharpener will be offering a 20% discount on his services this Saturday.

Spring will be here sooner than you think!

See you at the market!

Pascale Le Draoulec
food writer/ author/ farmers market director

february 16, 2012

Did anyone see the great cartoon in the NEW YORKER last week?
Two pre-schoolers playing together and one says to the other: “So, who shaves the fennel in your family?”

I had to laugh because we’ve been on a crazy fennel kick at my house this winter, eating it raw, steamed, baked and even pureed in soups. When I was in southern Italy a few years back, I got used to eating raw sliced fennel after dinner and before dessert, as a palate cleanser that also helped digestion. The clean, bracing flavor makes it a natural for dips like Taiim’s creamy hummus.

In France, fennel is almost always served with fish, usually steamed and doused with some quality olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. Sometimes I cut a bulb in half and bake a whole fish on top – fronds and all! It imparts a lovely licorice flavor to any delicate fish.

Chef David Tanis had a great recipe in The New York Times this week for hearty fennel al forno – fennel bulbs baked with mozzarella, Parmesan and bread crumbs. Check it out at

While you’re there, print out the recipe for the earthy lamb and white bean chili.
We will have lots of lamb at the market this week and this recipe looks like a winner!

Lamb not your bag?
Try some veal meatballs from Gaia’s Breath – too light, really, to be called meatballs. And yet so satisfying with a batch of Flour City Pasta fettucine. Also, Stone Barns will have a special on pork rump roast and a huge variety of sausages this week.

See you at the market!

Pascale Le Draoulec
food writer/ author/ farmers market director