Flour. Whole grains. Dry beans.


When I did The 250-Mile diet year I encountered some challenges tracking down these ingredients and learning to cook with them (they don’t cook up identically to their standard supermarket cousins). I wrote in my book about illicit (by Greenmarket rules) flour deals, and twenty-five pound bags of Cayuga Pure Organic‘s dry beans arriving at my one-bedroom apartment.

This past Saturday, after a foraging expedition with Liz Neves, Meredith Modzelewski, and Liza de Guia,


I stopped by Cayuga Pure Organic’s stall at the Grand Army Plaza farmers’ market. CPO wasn’t a regular at any farmers’ market when I did The 250.

The Grand Army Plaza market

grand-army-marketis walking distance from home. CPO had four varieties of dry beans, several kinds of flour, and freekah (a whole grain that is harvested green and roasted and makes a beautiful replacement for rice since there is no locally grown rice here). Where were you during The 250? I wanted to shout.

If you ever saw the movie Cast Away with Tom Hanks, you may remember the scene near the end when after having seen him go through much effort and suffering to get a fire started when he was marooned on an island, we see him back in civilization flicking a lighter on over and over again. It’s as if he’s trying to reconcile that easy, instant flame with his memory of trying to get a fire started on the island.

That is me standing in front of the CPO stall at the farmers’ market, memories of hours spent researching where to get locally grown beans, flour, and grains playing counterpart to the easy abundance in front of me.

I feel a bit guilty admitting that CPO’s “Half-White” flour has become my go-to, all-purpose and bread flour. I love Wild Hive Farm‘s flours, and they were my mainstay during The 250, but they aren’t at my local Brooklyn market and CPO is. Convenience motivates a locavore as much as anyone else. But I’ll be supporting Wild Hive whenever I’m not being so lazy.

This is all good news: It means that a greater variety of locally produced ingredients has become available in my area in an ever-increasing number of markets and stores.

On a different note…


No, that’s not a seasonal tabletop display. It’s an overflow of CSA abundance (I just picked up the first of the monthly shares yesterday). You may notice that the butternut squash is starting to get ahead of me. Not to worry. Butternut-Pear (or Apple) Soup garnished with a little Old Chatham Ewe’s Blue cheese is one of the reasons to look forward to fall.


Botany, Ballet, and Dinner from Scratch: A Memoir with Recipes by Leda Meredith

The Locavore’s Guide to NYC (an ever-growing online directory of when and where you can get locally produced products)

Leda’s No Impact Week & Your Edible Garden

A couple of weeks ago I participated, along with close to 5000 others, in the No Impact Project. It was a week-long carbon cleanse that had me cooking by candlelight and going back on the strict version of my 250-mile diet. You can read about what it was like in this piece I share with fellow Green Edge NYC member Patricia Curry.

What would you like to learn about how to grow your own food, even if all you’ve got for garden space is a window box? As part of my new job as gardening program coordinator for NYBG, I’m brainstorming classes to go along with next year’s Edible Garden theme. There’s also the opportunity to include some edible garden-related cooking and food preservation classes in the kitchen they’re installing in the new Manhattan branch of NYBG. What do you want to know about edible plants, how to grow them, and what to do with them? I’d love to hear from you!


Botany, Ballet, & Dinner from Scratch: A Memoir with Recipes by Leda Meredith

Seasonal Shift

This week the contemporary version of Petrouchka I just choreographed premiered at Adelphi University. I am very pleased with how it turned out, but also feel like I’ve stepped out of a two-month long tunnel of intense focus (a tunnel playing a nonstop Stravinsky soundtrack!). There’s one more serving of soup left in the fridge for me to reheat after tonight’s show–soup having been my solution for the late night easy dinners a theater schedule requires. Tonight’s is going to be the last of the potato-leek.

I’m moving on to the next cycle of my year in other ways, too. Next week is the last distribution of weekly CSA shares in my neighborhood. The foraging and gardening season is drawing to a close as nighttime temps drop into the thirties. Soon I’ll be eating mainly food from my pantry augmented by trips to the farmers’ markets. I did sign up for the monthly CSA winter share, but that by itself wouldn’t be enough to live on.

I’ve stocked up on dried, frozen, home-canned, and fermented foods and expect to be eating well this winter. I’d survive a locavorian NYC winter even if I wasn’t into food preservation, but the menus would be monotonous (hello potatoes, apples, and cabbage). With food preservation, I can count on variety until the first fresh ingredients of spring.

Here’s a plug for a few upcoming events:

On Saturday Nov. 14th 10:30 a.m. I’ll be teaching a class on Greening Your Workspace (or Home) for Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Yes, those indoor plants really can clear pollutants from the air you’re breathing!

On Sunday Nov. 15 4 p.m. I’ll be doing a talk and book signing as part of a Dances Patrelle event at the Barnes & Noble in Manhattan on 86th and Lex.

On Thursday Dec. 3rd 7:30 p.m. I’ll be doing a book signing as part of Green Edge NYC‘s holiday party.

And shows of Petrouchka continue through this Sunday Nov. 8th.

Hope to see you at one of these! And I wish you warm nights and plenty of comfort food in this late fall season.


Botany, Ballet, & Dinner from Scratch: A Memoir with Recipes by Leda Meredith