Thursday, June 27, 2013


Celebrity chef and Food Network star Bobby Flay will challenge James Beard-nominated Chef Andrew Araneo of Drew’s Bayshore Bistro in Keyport, New Jersey to a “Voodoo Shrimp” Throwdown-style cook-off today.

The Throwdown is co-hosted by “Stronger than the Storm” (#STTS) and by The Keyport Bayfront Business Cooperative.

Chef Flay, revered for his signature grilling skills is challenged to recreate Chef Drew’s Bayshore Bistro’s signature “Voodoo Shrimp” dish, featuring Gulf shrimp in a spicy Worcestershire cream sauce served over jalapeno corn bread.

“I am looking forward to a Throwdown with an outstanding chef at a superior establishment, but am also excited to help spread the word that the Jersey Shore is back in business and open for the summer!” said Bobby Flay.

Open to the public, the cook-off will take place in an outdoor, beach kitchen, in front of the Garden State’s foodie fans today, Thursday, June 27 at 2:00 pm. Doors open at 1:00pm.

Celebrity judges including singer and star, Gloria Gaynor, NBA star, Darryl Dawkins and James Oseland, editor-in-chief of Saveur magazine, a food and drink writer, and judge for TV’s Top Chef Masters, will taste the creations and determine a favorite.  
James Oseland, Editor Saveur & Top Chef Masters Judge

Billy Harris, comedian, will emcee today’s Throwdown.

Harris is noted as “the ‘go-to guy’ in the culinary world, hosting events with Mario Batali, Rachael Ray, Todd English and Michael Symon.
Harris is on-site eating and drinking at such established foodie festivals as South Beach Food and Wine Festival, The Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, and Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans and now at the #STTS Throwdown.

The celebrity judges will do a taste test of Chef Bobby Flay’s on-the-spot, copied creation against Chef Drew’s hometown original

Food enthusiasts also have a chance to win one of Chef Bobby Flay’s coveted autographed cookbooks.

And no stranger to eating and food, New Jersey’s Governor, Chris Christie couldn’t pass up an opportunity to attend the culinary event.  The Governor will attend today’s Throwdown.

Keyport is a 1.5 square mile town that is the Gateway to the Jersey Shore, and is home to 28 eateries, 25 of which were destroyed or washed away during Superstorm Sandy, including Drew’s Bayshore Bistro.   
Keyport's Dennis McNamara, Master Gardener (& tall man!) shows Sandy's water line in relation to Bayshore Bistro's vertical garden he produced. Some plants survived - & hanging gardens should be back in business soon!
All but two of the closed businesses have reopened. Chef Drew Araneo was forced to relocate and rebuild after the Superstorm dumped more than five feet of water into the restaurant. With no flood insurance, Drew’s was reliant upon the goodwill of the surrounding community.

“The resilience that the community showed is proof that we are Stronger than the Storm,” said chef Araneo.

“We are thrilled to have Chef Bobby Flay come down the shore and pay tribute to the strength and resilience of New Jerseyans,” chef Araneo added.

Visit the Keyport Stronger Than The Storm Happenings Facebook page for more information and fun food community for the #STTS Throwdown.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Kickoff a Hamptons Homegrown Summer: Booksigning and Tasting with Chef Anna Pump at Loaves & Fishe

Chef Anna Pump selects herbs from her herb garden for her Homegrown recipes

Kicking off an authentic Homegrown Summer in the Hamptons, tomorrow, June 22 -- the first day of summer, I will be a guest of chef Anna Pump at her Loaves & Fishes Cookshop in Bridgehampton for a booksigning and a tasting, from 3-5pm.  
Chef Anna Pump & me for Homegrown booksigning

Pump is a featured chef and grower in my book, The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook, and she will be preparing the Zucchini-Pepper Soup recipe from the book.

As an homage to the tasting and to Chef Anna, following is the complete profile written for the book. Of course it had to be edited down in order to accommodate the nearly 30 chefs and the growers included in the Homegerown book but here you can read the full story.
See you in the Hamptons.

Homegrown Profile
Anna Pump is the proverbial food fairy godmother presiding over this magical land that is most often referred to simply as “The Hamptons.”   
Simple is the operative word.
That she is an enchanting “Food Goddess” bestowing her charms of pure and simple ingredients, elegant and simple entertaining advice and a cosmopolitan and simple approach to enjoying life, you soon get the idea that Anna’s poised combinations are why her unique and much imitated style enjoys so much respect simply because it is authentic and, increasingly; rare. 

Lest you think she is a creature from a Grimm’s tale, rest assured Anna Pump is the real thing. 
There was no one who helped establish the much-touted Hamptons lifestyle like she did. 
Almost single-handedly she crafted the sophisticated yet casual approach to dining and entertaining that is sought after by legions of weekenders and magazine feature spreads, food fans, and the locals.
And she accomplished this by doing what came naturally to her. 

In 1980 Anna started her business in the Hamptons, buying the business from Susan Costner & Devon Frederics (Devon is now married to Elie Zabar of New York City, of Zabar’s Deli and gourmet food renown)

The rest is history she says, now looking ahead to the third decade of summering in Long Island.
She and her daughter operate the Bridgehampton Inn, described as an elegant bed & breakfast, built in 1795.  It’s more like an exquisite visit with a very well to do relative.  All cozy and filled with stories abundant in every well-appointed room. 
Anna is the owner of the Hamptons Specialty Food Shop where “food is lovingly prepared” in her Sagaponick Cookshop. 
There she launched the gourmet take-out food business, Loaves & Fishes that is today, as she sweetly describes it,  “a shack - held together with…I don’t know what to say.”
She hesitates before it’s agreed that it is love that is the ‘glue’ that holds it all together.  

Her grandchildren now work the Shop with her, sweetly and with authority dispensing sage culinary advice such as “Trust me on this,” as you are contemplating the chocolate brownie cake. 

She makes it look simple.  But as a chef, baker, innkeeper, food and entertainment entrepreneur, cooking instructor, community food and health activist, not to mention the author of four cookbooks featuring her brand of entertaining and cooking, Anna is a force to be reckoned with.

When asked why she wanted to write cookbooks, she says,  “I love to cook.” 
It was that simple for that pursuit as well.

In fact, the first book came about through a friend whose wife was an agent. 
The overture, such as it was, appears rather chaste.  “She invited me to lunch and said, “Anna, wouldn’t you like to write a cookbook?”
And I said, “Yeah, I do!”
Anna recalled that even at that time, there were already so many friends and customers who liked her food and wanted to learn how to make her signature Loaves & Fishes dishes for themselves. 
“I have so many good recipes and if you give me some advice, I can do it,” she noted to the literary agent-friend. 

That is how the first book was launched in 1985.
No nonsense.  Simple and delicious served up straightforward.    
In 1986 the original Loaves and Fishes was published.
And making it sound almost effortless or obvious as in ‘anybody could’ve done this,’ she guilelessly offers, “It evolved from there.”

How did this matriarch of all things “Hamptons” come to preside over such an enchanted land of bounty and beauty? 
After all, the tip of Long Island may be one of the farthest points on the east coast but it would seem to be a world away from her European roots where she grew up on her family’s farm on the Danish/German border.

Anna and her husband immigrated to the United States after World War II. “There wasn’t much opportunity near us and my husband wanted to join his brother who had moved to America,” she says.  
Perhaps it is not surprising that they settled in the Garden State, along the Delaware River, near the town of Stockton.   It was the 1960’s and Anna was a young mother with two small children in a new world. 

She describes how her innate interest in food led her to read gourmet magazines and cookbooks to nourish her passion for food  -- and perhaps to learn about her adopted country’s culture. Remarkably, she didn’t speak any English when she moved to America, so all that reading also helped her learn the language, she commented.

In a mark of culinary valor, it wasn’t too long before she signed up to study cooking for several sessions.
With James Beard.  In New York City.

Without hesitation, she says she loved the cooking adventure.  She particularly remembers that Chef James Beard was very complimentary to her because she was “earthy’” in her cooking, as she describes it today.   She thought he could see she was someone who knew how to handle ingredients – how to cook a chicken and how to make stock.
It was an affirmation of her cooking prowess and her devotion to real, quality ingredients.  She adds modestly, “What I learned from him, I knew already…”

Acknowledging that she was privileged to study under the tutelage of the influential cooking master, Anna describes how James Beard would sit in the middle of the kitchen on a large director’s chair and watch the students cook.  Then he’d walk around and talk to the would-be cooks, dispensing hands-on training and support.
“And it was so great. “ she exudes.  Anna cites a then-tantalizing and exotic food introduction that she first made there: couscous.  “It was the original – we learned how to make a big plate of couscous and I can never forget that.  It took hours and hours to make and it was ‘Wonderful’ ” she sighs.

Sometime in the late 70’s, a friend who had rented a house in the Hamptons for the summer and couldn’t use it for two weekends offered it to Anna and her husband. Anna’s children having grown up by then, the couple accepted the offer.

That weekend retreat would change their lives.
Her first visit struck her like a clarion call.  “It was all so great… it felt so right. I can never forget that it even ‘smelled great.”  We loved the Hamptons right away.”

The reason it felt so very right was that Anna grew up on her family’s farm located where the Baltic Sea is on one side and the North Sea on the other.  She says there are potato fields and seagulls overhead - not unlike Long Island.
The area where she grew up was known for its fishing and farming and in Anna’s way of thinking; it is the geographical twin to the East End of Long Island. 
Stepping out into the fresh, clean, salt air of the Hamptons felt a lot like being home.   

As a child, Anna learned to cook from her Danish mother who was very inventive. “There was always a lot of cooking going on in our house,” Anna recalls.  “My mother could make something out of nothing – and everything started from scratch.”   She also noted that in the early years after the war, there was no delicatessen for sandwiches – we had to serve and feed the farmhands from our kitchen” 
The link with Anna’s menus of gourmet take-out food was fomented early on.   Anna dedicated her first book to her mother:  “

In the same way, most of what she knows about gardening she learned from her mother and father. 
Her parents owned and managed a 40-acre small farm that is still part of the family. Anna’s sister and brother-in-law now run what was once a sustenance farm for the extended family and many of the Fransberg-area’s local residents. “We grew everything,” she said about the early years.   “There was rye and a lot of potatoes.” 
After World War II their big garden fields of produce contained so many edibles including peas and berries.  They also had dairy cattle.
“We supported the local people in the city who couldn’t buy anything else but would come and pick their own peas and carrots and pay for it and leave.” 
It seems she continues to draw strength from the family roots.  It is a family tradition that Anna visits her family’s European farm every year.

Anna brought her family’s heritage of cooking and baking and gardening with her to Long Island.
A hallmark of Anna’s cooking is her own inventiveness, or in today’s seduction, she cooks seasonally – just like her mother did.
In addition to learning from her talented mother and the esteemed James Beard, Anna further studied with Scotsman Maurice Margette, who ran a nearby cooking school on Shelter Island.  Anna also studied with Ann Maria Husta who cooked for the Kennedy White House. 
In the next breath, Anna claims she doesn’t consider herself a chef.  When confronted with the evidence she is billed as a Cook and Chef, she demurs.  “I am not a chef.  I can’t claim that title.”  Asked to explain, she says there is a distinction.  “The difference is a cook doesn’t have a degree.  A Chef has formal education. It has nothing to do with talent or actual preparation – One just can’t claim the title if you don’t have degree.”
Reminded she has several degrees, she yields. Anna is so modest at heart…

She reflects how today, so many people have great ideas about food.   “We’ve come so far. Everyone is now so interested and so knowledgeable. Even if they don’t cook themselves, they read cookbooks. They travel.  People are very inventive.”
She is adamant that the homegrown focus is not a trend at all.  “It’s here to stay.”  She thinks it’s very important that we persist with farm to table initiatives and make the fresh natural foods available for the population as a whole and not have low cost be the factor that leads to purchasing processed foods. 
“We must make organic and farm raised costs more affordable.  We need to come to come to a level where people who don’t have a lot of money can afford it,” she explains.  “If we could eat just fresh foods, it would be wonderful.” 

And if this Hamptons food doyenne has anything to say about it, they will.

“I just sent an email about this topic to the Slow Food Movement,” she says as ideas come tumbling forth.  “We need to do something local to create small groups in town to go into schools or invite them in to help teach them how to cook fresh food. For example, tell them how to get bones from the butcher  -- which costs nothing – and that they can make a great stock.  Then they can just throw in some vegetables and… But people don’t know how to do this anymore.” She concedes. 

She points out that people are more connected to food when one gardens and knows where their food comes from. 
She relates a funny story about being removed from one’s food legacy, describing a woman who worked for her.  “A city girl all her life, she was a pretty good cook. She was making cornbread  -- and Anna’s recipe features buttermilk, she hastens to add.  The young cook comes to her and says, “Anna we can’t use buttermilk, it’s sour!”  Anna said she had to tell her, “Well it IS sour! “

Anna said she always knew she’d have the Cookshop and the take-out food business that is now referred to as “gourmet.”
Yet, she didn’t know quite where to start.   So in 1979, her first summer in the Hamptons, she ended up working for Ina Garten, now known as the “Barefoot Contessa.”
At that time, Ina had a little shop in West Hampton Beach on Main Street.
Anna remembers the interview with Ina was “kinda different.” 
Anna called Ina about the position and Ina asked her to cook something for her.
In turn, Anna invited Ina to her house for lunch.
What kind of meal would steal the Barefoot Contessa’s heart? 
When asked, Anna remembered she made a simple and delicious meal of frittata and green salad and fresh French bread.  And for dessert she whipped up her cur de crème.  This signature recipe is in Anna’s cookbook as well as Ina’s, who credits Anna accordingly.  Ina also wrote the forward to Anna’s most recent cookbook, “Summer on a Platter.  Anna also appears regularly as a guest on the Food Network’s Barefoot Contessa.
“We have been best friends ever since” she declared proudly.   

Anna stirs the same deep-seated loyalty with her customers. “Most have been with me over all the years.  Every season, they come back into the shop with a hug.  They are glad I’m open again,” she radiates.  “They are almost like family now.  We have wonderful relationships and as people get older, if they sell their house on the beach and move to a small town like Sag Harbor, for example, the new couple comes in to meet me.  I sort of come with the house!”  She quickly adds that the older couples still visit.
Anna and the Cookshop are part of the local culture – she is a recognized and much-loved icon of the Hamptons folklore.

Looking back, she remembers when she first opened the store, there was a farmer who came and wanted to sell her eggs.  And she has been buying eggs from him ever since.  And there is a beekeeper in Sag Harbor that delivers fresh honey to her.  A lot of that kind of original charm continues to this day.  It’s a way of life preserved that is dear to Anna. 

She also enjoys walking to some of the farmers, while some of them also bring fresh food directly to her.   
Just down the road from her is Pikes Farm in Sagaponick, for example.  She walks there on Monday morning and buys her tomatoes lettuce, corn, beans; running a tab with farmer Jim Pike.   He delivers to Cookshop on Wednesdays and both Saturday and Sunday every weekend in the summer.
“He grows wonderful produce.  He has the highest quality,” she claims happily.
She relies on Pikes to grow the basics for her.  And on occasion, she will bring seeds to Pikes, asking them to grow a new vegetable or a variety, as she did when she first brought leeks to the area.
It seems curious now but at the time she moved to Long Island, no one even knew what leeks were, she said.   By the same token, she had never seen an eggplant in her life until she arrived in the Hamptons.  “So you see, there is a lot of back and forth. An exchange of ideas. We all learn from each other here,” she added.  

“In summer we “Do” summer food,” she exclaims matter-of-factly.  It follows then that she’d provide seasonal food for a variety of reasons including family and cultural traditions, pride of Long Island’s farming and fishing bounty, and her culinary artistry. 
At Cookshop, she changes her gourmet take-out menu recipes every week and posts the entire listings online.
Inspired by the unending variety of fresh homegrown ingredients, Anna has thousands of recipes in her repertoire she can refer to. And while she likes making summer foods for her family of Hamptons customers, she makes whatever marks the season or holiday.

“I always start with the ingredients – whatever is fresh.  For instance, in spring ramps are so easy to broil or grill.”  In the colder months, there is a world of stews and casseroles, and casoulettes to explore.
When fall arrives she loves to switch the menu to roasted eggplant, stew, beef bourguignon, and warm lentils with vegetables.  “I just love that time of year -- going from cold to warm food,“ she sighs contentedly. 
In the autumn, she’ll makes rutabagas at home, bring them to the Shop, and people will buy them.  “I curry them or stew them.  People just don’t know what to do with them.” She grows and works with winter vegetables such as the rutabagas, as well as root celery, parsnips, and makes an amazing carrot puree.   The emphasis on an expanded palette of ingredients allows her to give people the opportunity to experience another way of thinking about life – to spend time with family and enjoy the meal together.  “And stews and casseroles can do that.”  She thinks her next cookbook will be on this very subject: winter food. It’s not all tomatoes and goat cheese…

And just like Mother’s home-cooked specialties that hold a special place in our memories, she explains that she has Favorites that her customers would be disappointed if she didn’t make available for them. “The must-haves I will always make, for example, are a pasta salad and a chicken salad -- without mayonnaise. “

“Anna’s way” is what keeps her Hamptons family coming back.  She says she learned over time there is to be no modification when it comes to her culinary offerings. When she first opened, she cooked a split pea with ham soup.   A customer suggested there was too little salt; and the next customer admonished there was too much salt! 
So she learned to do what she wants and what she knows is best.  “I just do it my way. I do exactly what I think I should do,” she said pointedly. 
At this point in her career, her inspiration is her wellspring of experience.  She draws from within, knowing exactly what she thinks is good.

Anna had long conducted cooking classes too but she doesn’t do them anymore; it’s always a lot of work and she now focuses on her business and testing her recipes for the store and her cookbooks that now number four: “Loaves & Fishes,” “Loaves and Fishes Party Cookbook,” “Country Weekend Entertaining” and “Summer on a Platter. “
However her chef and daughter continue to teach food enthusiasts, including teens, how to employ the alchemy of fresh local food and traditional cooking techniques to transform the ingredients into delicious meals.    

One of the remarkable things that make the Hamptons such a sweet spot according to Anna is its proximity to the water and air. The beaches remain very pristine. There are no commercial entities allowed on the beaches in the Saganopick and Southampton area she explains. “People like the ruralness of the area – not only the great beaches but also the local farms and the farm stands and access to the just-picked fruits and vegetables and artisanal cheeses.  “It’s real here,” she adds. 
Anna is real too, and has remained so, amidst a wave of celebrity.

“The Hamptons is exceptionally beautiful,” she further rhapsodizes. 
In early spring, Anna described how she’d just picked some ornamental pear tree branches for a bouquet to put in the store. She is equally romantic and enthusiastic about her flowering cherries and chives.  She narrates how her garden herbs of oregano, thyme, and lemon balm are “Eight inches tall already. I have a whole row of that and the sage is coming back.”

Anna Pump’s Herb Planting List:

“Here is my list of herbs: lots of basil, 40 plants for salads, garnish and pesto.
Also lemon thyme, English thyme, rosemary, sage, mint, lemon balm, curly and flat leave parsley.

About 12 fresh oregano plants and lots of chives -- very important all
of them. I love going out back and picking the herbs for my cooking.

There is an enchanting, delicate balance to be found in Anna’s Hamptons:  sophisticated and rural, charming and simple.  
And utterly unforgettable.

Loaves & Fishes Cookshop
2422 Montauk Highway, Bridgehampton, NY

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Greyston Marks 30 Years of Making Brownies & Social Justice

OK, while admittedly this news might be considered a tad off the Homegrown Cookbook's storyline, the fact is that the homegrown work force and ingredients and the joy of seeing two social enterprises coming together to improve their communities is, in fact, spot on to my passion for all things local, homegrown and good makes this a rather ideal and perfect story line for the blog.

I hope you agree.

My husband and I were privileged to attend the Greyston benefit fundraising event at the invitation of his boss.
What a delightful discovery to learn about her passion and commitment to this extraordinary, culinary-based cause.

In fact, Greyston's work is so profound and impactful that I was chagrined I hadn't heard about it previously.  Is it just me?

The CEO, Steve Brown, couldn't disagree...
He said they are working on it.
But there is so much of a good food/good community story there that I couldn't wait to share the news of their efforts.
Please enjoy the post and if you can, contribute to helping the Greyston effort. You can just buy the brownies!

Greyston – Marking 30 years of making brownies

Long before Sex in the City made Magnolia Bakery the talk of the town or Billy’s Bakery became the lovechild of Martha Stewart, and The Today Show, Ben & Jerry’s ( put the Greyston Bakery on the map.

But this was no fancy or delicate collaborative confection.

Rather this was a partnership forged by two titans of social justice who aimed to arm-wrestle homelessness, childcare and unemployment. 
And win.

The relationship is an enduring one – lasting some 20 years and counting. 

The back-story is Greyston founder; Bernie Glassman was running a kitchen to serve his Zen community in 1982.  
Glassman is an aerospace engineer who’s vision helped launch more than jets or rockets to take flight.
His community activism coalesced around giving hope to those in the community who have been incarcerated, struggled with substance abuse and lack of education, suffered from the double drama related to HIV-AIDS of both the disease and the stigma of having the now-curable condition, along with child care and often having no place to live.  The Yonkers and Riverdale area at that time had a soaring homeless population.  

The Greyston Bakery was launched to produce locally made food items in order to provide jobs and funding for the other legs of the efforts’ social mission.
Soon, the Bronx-based bakery was cooking up high quality food, especially baked goods and desserts for the city’s restaurants and food stores.

Bernie and Ben met at The Social Ventures Network - a conference for social justice, mission-driven organizations and struck an immediate rapport.
It’s a truism that great minds think alike so no wonder that these two optimists of utilizing culinary crafts to further a cause struck a chord.
Bernie made brownies.  Ben needed brownies for their Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream.  What could be simpler and more simpatico?

That first shipment of brownies took a bad turn, though, so it could’ve been the partnership that almost wasn’t.
But like PB&J this duo was meant to be together.

See, according to Greyston lore, it seems that “Ben & Jerry's had originally intended to use Greyston Bakery's brownies for ice cream sandwiches. Unfortunately, the brownies stuck together during shipping and arrived in one big lump of product. Instead of discarding the lump of brownies, Ben & Jerry's chopped them up and used them as inclusions in its ice cream.”

Talk about making lemonade out of lemons… or Fudgies from brownies… 
It was karma. Times the stars.

Right there on the side of the pint of ice cream (and on the Ben & Jerry website) the Greyston brownie connection is in the spotlight. 
While it’s true that any bona fide ice cream lover might plunge the scoop or spoon without reading the legend, all will be forgiven as the heavenly taste is what will eventually bring the sweet-tooths back for more.  And that’s the best news for Ben & Jerry and Bernie and Greyston. 
So for those who can’t wait to scoop, here’s what Ben & Jerry say on their pints:
“This flavor combines our great ice cream with chewy, fudgy brownies. These brownies are baked by Greyston Bakery, which provides employment and training to economically disadvantaged residents of Yonkers, NY.  We are glad to have Greyston as a business partner because we get great tasting brownies and we also get to support the good work they do to create economic opportunities in their communications.”

Today, Ben & Jerry’s represents approximately 60 percent of Greyston’s total business.
It is the sustainable underpinning that allows the Yonkers-based effort to coordinate its noble work.

Think of the delicious, handcrafted brownies as a ticket to a better life. 

Any self– respecting sweets lover knows that brownies are practically synonymous with a special treat– but in Greyston’s case, their portfolio of brownies is a means to an end. 
Greyston’s key talking point – that actually resonates because of its veracity – is: "We don't hire people so that we can make brownies, we make brownies so that we can hire people.”

Long before chefs supported edible schoolyard gardens or healthy locavore menus, there were good citizens like Bernie and Ben & Jerry who advocated food as a way to -- if not enlightenment -- at least to a better way of life here in Gotham.

The Greyston Foundation has evolved from Glassman’s kitchen in a Yonkers mansion.  After all, this wasn’t a soup kitchen kind of effort.
Rather, the mission was to offer the Greyston constituents a sustainable and permanent ticket to a better life – one where they could earn a living, live in an affordable home, and have access to affordable child care and garden-fresh food.  A life with dignity… 

The name itself is derived from Buddhism – the Sanskrit word mandala means circle.  The social enterprise notes Greyston’s Mandala is “modeled on two central principles: Mandala is a symbolic representation of the interconnectedness of all life and Path is the idea that all healthy living systems evolve along a developmental path with distinct stage.”  Greyston Mandela integrates for-profit and non-profit while joining community development with personal growth.

Greyston’s initial effort produced both savory and sweet food for commercial enterprises.
Today, the bakery is their number one, largest enterprise, representing approximately 50-60% of their effort with childcare next, followed by Housing and then by the HIV effort and the gardens.

In order to keep up with demand and sales, Greyston expanded the bakery in 2004 to its present 23.000 square foot facility. 
Through its illustrious and dedicated Board members, a New York networking connection was made by the Board Chair to no less than the award-winning architect, designer, and landscape artist, Maya Lin, who is probably most famous for designing the Vietnam Memorial and the Storm King Wavefield.  The company says it brought Lin onto the building team to give the bakery and manufacturing facility a more “aesthetic appearance.”
Take that, celebrity architects the likes of Daniel Libeskind!

The facility is a 100% LEEDS certified factory constructed on a redeveloped brownfield.

According to Greyston, the Bakery is now an $8 million for-profit company that trains and employs more than 80 people who face barriers to employment.
Greyston Bakery operates with a double bottom line, prioritizing both profits and social contributions. 
They are the primary supplier of brownies for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and produces 30,000 pounds of brownies each day.
By any measure, that’s a LOT of brownies.

Separate from its Ben & Jerry’s and commercial, wholesale business, Greyston produces an all natural line of products that taste great while supporting the greater good and can be ordered from the Greyston Bakery website: (

According to Steven Brown, president and CEO, Greyston, the food that Greyston made was always of the highest quality.  This attention to quality amplified the non-profit’s message. 
When asked if the adherence to high quality products showed just how much the creators of the food items – who are considered by some unenlightened one-percenter’s to be not so versed or capable of embracing high quality, the answer was a resounding, “Yes.” 
As a matter of fact, the goal according to founder Bernie was to show the contrast, Brown noted. The strategy was to showcase people who were usually dismissed as the “hard to hire,” and how they could – if just given the chance – produce food that is world-class and of The best quality.

In fact, Brown is proud to share how Greyston has provided food to a plethora of commercial enterprise, including top-tier restaurants and some celebrity sparklers like the White House and Ellen DeGeneres.

It’s hard to make the case that these folks and so many of Gotham’s best restaurants and grocery stores, including Whole Foods, and of course, Ben & Jerry’s, would choose to offer and feature Greyston brownies and other desserts if they were not top-tier or The Best.

Greyston led the way, demonstrating how food is a fundamental dynamic and network to benefit local communities. And others have picked up the baton.   

That said, Greyston’s Path Making program is unique. 
Based on founder Glassman’s philosophy, it is a guide to self-sufficiency. PathMaking is a holistic approach to self-sufficiency.
According to Greyston, “PathMaking is … an effort to support all its community members (staff, residents, program members, volunteers and board members) to grow and develop into stronger and healthier individuals through personal growth that includes attention not only to the initial or primary reason for their connection to Greyston, but also to the body, mind, heart and spirit”
Or in other words, Greyston fulfills the Lao Tzu Chinese founder of Taoism proverb who said, “If you give a man a fish you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish you feed him for a lifetime.”  In Yonkers, the team learns how to take care of themselves given the chance.

Job Creators

“We have a bias to create jobs,” said Brown. 
When pressed how Greyston increased their business by 50% thereby expanding their work force in an economic environment that was, by any economist’s barometer, probably the worst business crises in generations, Brown demurred, saying, “We had more orders.” 
He added that Ben & Jerry’s continued to grow (perhaps hard times sparks the affordable luxury such as indulging in ice cream and brownie treats).
People kept buying ice cream!
Plus, Greyston continued to attract new customers, according to Brown.
Greyston has a talking point that best describes their work philosophy:

While primarily a wholesale baker to commercial enterprise, including restaurants and food stores including Whole Foods and Whole Planet, the non-profit also offers a direct to customer web site:  Greyston’s line of brownies is a win/win treat and gift. 
Once the recipient learns of the good work proffered by Greyston, every delicious bite brings tasty and happy rewards and no guilty pleasure.

The brownies are an ideal gift for any occasion to share the good food and make a special hostess gift this time of year when heading out to visit friends and family in the country or at the beach.

The job training provided by Greyston is by and large the work in the bakery.
The also have another job training program where the sills they train for and not the ultimate employer.
For example, food prep or healthcare training are related fields where Greyston trains the employee, staying true to its mission but the staffer finds employment elsewhere - not in the bakery.

Extending the Mission

In fact, the three legs of Greyston’s mission are described as People, Profit and the Planet. 

Sustainability is increasingly integral to their socially responsible business movement.

Solar energy is yet another area where Greyston is a leader.  The renewable energy initiative, provided by Green Mountain Energy is new.

Here, Greyston is looking to not only power up the electric power needs of the bakery and reduce the electric costs but to better utilize the waste water one where they demonstrate they grew water and rood water
Greyston is justly proud to highlight they are the first non-profit in New York State to be recognized as a Certified B Corporation. 
They are in good company. B Corp recognizes those companies as the best businesses in the World for creating the most positive overall social and environmental impact.

In addition, through Greyston’s outreach with Groundwork Hudson Valley, a Yonkers community garden effort,  Greyston has been involved and supportive of urban gardens for 20 years, working to give citizens a way to grow organic, healthy food.
Chef Peter Kelly, a Yonkers native, lends his restaurant, X20 Xavier, to host the annual Greyston fundraiser gala. “The guests are treated well.  Chef Peter offers fabulous and generous hospitality,” says Brown. “It’s an unbeatable combination – great location and views and delicious food.“
Brown noted that Chef Peter does incredible things with the Greyston brownies. “Did you taste his crème brulee?” he challenged.

Looking ahead to the next 30 years, Brown sees opportunities for social entrepreneurship in addition to the bakery  - and will look for other enterprises to grow their business and bottom line.
This Examiner suggested consulting and team leadership a la Danny Meyer’s hospitality outreach. After all, as a social enterprise, Greyston has led the way with its PathMaking roadmap to self-sufficiency and independence.

Brownie Trivia
Do you know where the brownie was first conceived? 
In 1876, in Boston, a cooking school created a molasses based cookie cake baked in small tins.  The origin of the name is from the color of the cookie.  
Seems New York took more than the Babe from Boston and made it its own…

Isn’t it cosmic then that Greyston’s CEO is named Brown?

And his favorite brownie? He says it's a toss up between the Fudge and the Blondie. 

Any way you cut it, you can’t go wrong with delicious Greyston brownies – “The Brownie Company."