Pop quiz: what’s the New Root’s process for acquiring all the amazing, local, organic produce that we’ve gotten all season long?
A: Spell Casting (all it takes is a little bit of magic)!
The answer, truth be told, is a little bit of both. While spell casting has been the easy and quick part (can you tell we’re ready for Halloween?), it’s the forecasting that is the complicated and long process, albeit satisfying.
How does a business define its success? For Facilities Management Services (FMS), a new partner of New Roots and the Fresh Stop Markets, the concept of success is a bit more nuanced than just turning a profit. FMS, “Kentuckiana’s contract cleaning company,” is no ordinary corporation, you see. It is a B Corp Corporation, which means that it is “certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.”
Scott Kolom, FMS CEO is the mover and shaker behind this new way of incorporating your business in the Commonwealth, and introduced the B Corp idea to state lawmakers. A bill was passed by the Kentucky General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Matt Bevin this past July, legally recognizing public benefit corporations.
“We went a little further by going after B Lab certification,” Kolom said. “It’s a stamp of approval by an outside certifying organization, which helps with transparency.”
There are more than 2,000 such companies worldwide that are certified by the nonprofit B Lab, including Ben and Jerry’s, Patagonia and Etsy. FMS is one of four in Kentucky. This year, Kolom, not satisfied with just moving his own company in this direction, recently organized the very first Public Benefit Corporation Alliance in the country, made up of for-profit, nonprofits and other interested parties.
So what does social accountability mean? One form of this accountability is seen in how a corporation treats its frontline workers. According to company leaders, “FMS operates from the belief that good, properly trained, and appreciated people lead to happy customers and long-term success.”
Soon after receiving B Corps designation, FMS set out to understand what it means for their people to feel appreciated and what they felt were their most pressing needs. After a survey of their employees showed that access to fresh food and good health were at the top of the list, FMS approached the veggie-obsessed leaders at New Roots for ideas. They agreed on a pilot program to get more fresh, local food into the hands of their hourly workers who relied on a slightly altered version of a Fresh Stop Market.
The food was delivered to the Shawnee Presbyterian Fresh Stop Market on Thursdays, picked up there by FMS, and then displayed the next morning at their beautiful mini-market stand in the lobby. Workers were able to pick up their checks and their shares at the same time. In line with their commitment to employee happiness, FMS committed to paying 80 percent of the cost of a $25 share for every employee who was interested. The $5 is deducted each two-week pay period from the employees checks.
Scott had originally committed to offer the shares to the first 20 families who showed interest. However, after New Roots showed up to do a fabulous cooking demo in the lobby of the FMS, the response was so overwhelming he upped that number to 30.
“The pilot turned out to be extremely popular with our employees,” said FMS’ Jen Hurley. “As the weeks went by, deep discussions amongst the FMS employees about fresh veggies (how did you cook that delicate squash?!) became commonplace and could be heard throughout the headquarters on Portland Avenue, and at the work sites. Lunch boxes were filled with sautéed kale.”
This confirmed to both companies that they had the numbers, passion and interest needed to create a Portland Fresh Stop Market for the 2018 season.
What is New Roots reaction to this new partnership? “We had never seriously considered a close partnership with a for profit company, having relied on nonprofit and church partnerships for so long,” said New Roots’ Director Karyn Moskowitz. “However, working with Scott, Jen and others at FMS has been fun and satisfying. They have stepped up to do everything they’ve planned, providing us 30 families who love the food, leaders who are engaged in the process, and a great, new location for a long-awaited Portland Fresh Stop Market. We’ve also decided to become founding nonprofit members of the Alliance so we can meet more partners like FMS. We are ready to chard ahead in 2018.”
Like minds came together in September when a contingent from the Georgia Farmers’ Market Association (GFMA) visited New Roots for a busy three days to learn about the fight for food justice here and what lessons they could take back to their own state.
Their association doesn’t currently run its own farmers’ markets, having focused its efforts supporting those who do, but hope to open their own Fresh Stop Market this coming spring.
The relationship between the GFMA and New Roots began in April of 2015 when New Root’s Amber Burns and Karyn Moskowitz were invited to speak at the Harvard Law School’s Just Food Conference. “There were not that many other grassroots organizers there, and very few people of color,” remembered Karyn. “We naturally migrated toward Sagdrina Jalal and immediately became friends. Over the past 2 ½ years, we have been stirring up ideas on how we could partner together. We kept in touch, but lack of money, and distance got in our way.”
That changed when Sagdrina, Karyn and JOFEE Fellow and Gendler Grapevine FSM leader Michael Fraade met southern SARE’s director Brennan Washington, who agreed to supply seed money for the partnership. Brennan especially supported the impact a possible Georgia Fresh Stop Market would have on building markets for Georgia’s minority and limited resource farmers.
Executive Director Sagdrina Jalal said the GFMA leaders share the same belief as New Roots, that fresh food is a basic human right.
“When you lead with something that direct, then it opens up the door to work cooperatively, and we can see that,” she said, while visiting the Gendler Grapevine Fresh Stop Market @ the J. “We’re talking about food here, not something that is a luxury item.”
One of the areas the Georgia group liked about New Roots’ approach was the partnerships it had formed with area farmers.
“Hopefully this year we will incorporate something similar, by forecasting and designing a plan that is similar if not mimicking exactly what is going on here,” said Musa Hasan, a farmer and researcher at Emory University.
Jalal said that by working directly with farmers and guaranteeing them that someone is going to buy their products, it gives them more freedom to grow different things instead of “safe” items that always sell.
“This gives them an opportunity to focus on growing and not trying to predict and look into the future,” she said. “I think a lot of farmers play it safe because they know a lot of people are going to eat tomatoes, or peaches, so I would love to demonstrate that if we dedicate this one space and we can guarantee that that this one thing you grow is going to be purchased by us, that just has to provide a whole lot of freedom. I hope to share that with our farmers.”
Having chefs at each of the Fresh Stop Markets also was a big hit with the Georgia contingent.
“Having someone show the shareholders who may not be familiar with all the local vegetables, this is what (a share item) is, this is what you can do with it, this is the benefit of this veggie, and this is the actual farm that this came from, that's the other great thing about New Roots,” Hasan said.
Lois Peterson, a Georgia Farmers’ Market Association board member, said getting to work with New Roots and the Fresh Stop Markets has provided them with an entire model they can plug into their own neighborhoods.
“It’s very much duplicatable at this point because there is a methodology and a system for everything,” she said, “from projecting how much the farmers will grow to, how much is needed for the physical set up, how to set up the food, how to share the information, how to invite the volunteer chefs.”
Karyn, Michael, and Rootbound Farm’s Seamus Allman will travel to Georgia to speak at and participate in the GFMA’s annual conference at the end of November. The hope and dream is that the partnership will result in thriving Fresh Stop Markets in Georgia for the 2018 growing season.
When New Roots Board member Jake Miller met KiZAN Technologies leader Nathan Fornwalt at a Louisville entrepreneur meet up in early 2017, they immediately began brainstorming ways to help one another. Jake was in search of the right company to help New Roots with IT needs and KiZAN was looking to get more involved in the community. It was a match made in the kale field!
KiZAN Technologies is a Louisville-based IT Company, or, as they describe themselves on their website, “a family of information technology Rock Stars.” KiZAN specializes in consulting services for organizations, companies, or any other entities that would like to see the technology they use better catered to their unique needs.
For New Roots, ‘unique needs’ is a phrase that gets tossed around so often that it’s beginning to lose some of its—how do we say—uniqueness. At the New Roots World Headquarters on Portland Avenue, efficient technology is not wanted, but needed. What most folks may not realize is that New Roots runs on Google Drive. From Spreadsheets to Docs, these Google applications have become invaluable. When not using Google Drive, New Roots staff can be found either trying to adjust their website design, or getting lost somewhere in the online ordering system.
Unfortunately, New Roots has grown too large and too different to run on off-the-shelf technology. This is where KiZAN Technologies has begun to help. This is where KiZAN Technologies comes in. Working pro bono during their weekends, KiZAN team members are attacking many of New Roots technology issues.
“I loved the idea of working with New Roots and thought it was a great way to give back to the community, while also getting some delicious, fresh vegetables,” said Justin Tindle, a senior consultant at KiZAN. “We always wanted to do more community service with organizations, but I think we just never found the right opportunity.”
Justin is one of those KiZAN members who has spent his Saturday mornings (at what they call “Hackathons”) laying out the framework for a new and improved online system that streamlines many of the tedious tasks New Roots staff currently deals with.
This new relationship was not one-sided, however. New Roots Administrative Coordinator, Sarah Dugan, who takes the brunt of the technology problems, had a good feeling about KiZAN from the moment she first visited their offices. “When we were on our way to their conference room we couldn’t resist checking on what sorts of snacks they had to offer. Granola and fresh fruit were featured in attractive baskets on the counter.” That would suffice for Sarah, who left that day feeling like New Roots’ and KiZAN’s values were already aligned. “Since then,” Sarah says, KiZAN has “been sucked into ‘the vortex’ of our movement in a meaningful way.”
Board member Scott Drake, Director of Technology at ScholarRx was, with Jake, a co-founder of this project, and has taken the lead for the New Roots' board.
The New Roots, especially Sarah, is excited about the future. “We could streamline communications between all roles at individual markets as well as system-wide. It opens up some really exciting possibilities. I always joke that a Hackathon with them feels like therapy,” Sarah says. “It’s just an amazing feeling when someone examines all the many moving parts of getting veggies into the hands of our shareholders, has the passion for social justice to want to help, AND the skills to make it happen. We are very lucky.” When asked if she loves KiZAN, Sarah responded appropriately, “from my head to-ma-toes!”
Acorn squash, Delicata squash, Butternut squash, and more squash! It can be a bit overwhelming with the enormous numbers of winter squash we have gotten from our amazing farmers this season. You may be asking yourself: How do I eat all this squash before they go bad? What delectable recipes are out there? How do I prepare them safely? How long do they keep? Which ones make the best pies? These answers and all other secrets can be found from a few of our leaders in our fresh food loving communities. Fear not, we have you covered!
Al Mortenson, a dedicated volunteer leader from the Smoketown Fresh Stop Market, gives some insight into his experience with winter squash.
Al: I grew up on a farm in Minnesota where we had a huge garden and grew much of our fruit and vegetable supply, eating it fresh in season, and canning or freezing it for the rest of the year.
We grew at least 100 winter squash each year—acorn and buttercup (not butternut). Buttercup squash is very similar to Kabocha (my favorite). We harvested them in early fall, then stored them outside in a cool (but not freezing) place until about the first of December. At that time, we would bake up the rest of the supply, scoop out the cooked pulp and freeze it in plastic containers.
How do you cook your winter squash?
Al: (On the farm) we just prepared it very simply—cut them in half, scooped out seeds and baked them. Then when it was done, we'd scoop out the pulp and put butter, and a little salt and pepper on it. Once in a while, we would put a little brown sugar or maple syrup on it, too. (Or put the brown sugar or maple syrup on it before baking.) I eat a lot of winter squash and still prepare it that way. I usually bake it in the microwave—anywhere from 8 to 12 minutes per half; time varies depending on size of squash. Once in a while if I am making roasted winter vegetables (sweet potatoes, parsnips, carrots, etc.), I'll put in some cubed winter squash also. At my home, we eat our vegetables prepared very simply. Our philosophy is that if you have good quality, fresh vegetables, the taste is so good that you don't need to "fancy them up.”
Cybil Flora (pictured above), our Parkland Fresh Stop Market check-in leader, said she grew up only eating pumpkin pie, but as she got older, she was glad she ventured into the world of winter squash.
So how long do squash last?
Cybil: Last year there was an abundance of winter squashes towards the end of Fresh Stop Markets - so I went into winter with four Butternut and five or six Spaghetti Squash. They lasted me most of the winter. I looked up how to store them—cool dry location with plenty of ventilation. I also had roasted a lot of butternut and acorn squash and frozen the flesh for later use. I have already started freezing squash for use during the next winter!
Which squash is your favorite?
Cybil: I think my favorite is the Delicata - if you roast it after tossing it in olive oil then it caramelizes up and you can eat not only the flesh but the skin.
What is the safest way to cut up winter squash?
Cybil: I tend not to peel butternut right away because when you peel it then it’s more difficult to handle and that leads to more injuries. I also dry the squash after washing it before starting to use a knife. I have found that knives and wet hands do not mix well.
What you need:
What’s the difference between all of these Fresh Stop Market winter squashes? (From nytimes.com)
Now get to cooking (or storing!) for the winter season!
Hayrides! Sweet potato fries! Sheep and sheep-herding dogs! Where else can you get all this and more for free? At the New Roots Rootbound Farm Tour.
On Sunday, October 22, for the third year in a row, Fresh Stop Market shareholders are invited to join Rootbound Farm Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) members for a three-hour party and tour. The day begins at 2 and ends at 5 PM.
Gendler Grapevine Chef Liaison and Check in Leader Pami came last year and is still raving about it, “It was exciting to see how everything was grown and to meet like-minded people. It was a beautiful day. I like knowing people who care about the food we eat and how it’s grown and the importance of it all.” Pami continued, “Since I’m not a farmer, I’m totally amazed that anyone can do what they do. It blows my mind. I put my money where my mouth is and live by certain principles. And being able to buy directly from the farmer at affordable prices, you can’t do any better with your money than that. And to know how our Markets help people like Bree and Ben Abell (owners of Rootbound Farm), that’s what is really amazing. So rarely doesn’t anyone get to know where their food comes from. We are so lucky!”
New Roots Uber Farmer Liaison Mary Montgomery is looking forward to passing on her role of sweet potato goddess to Parkland Farmer Liaison Theresa Sistrunk. “We are going to be getting red organic sweet potatoes from WhispRidge Farm in Liberty, Kentucky. We cook them up in a huge turkey fryer and sprinkle them with smoked Hungarian Paprika. YUM! We will also have Ashbourne Farms all grass-finished beef burgers and delicious veggie burgers. So, there will be something for everyone to eat and enjoy.”
Old Louisville Fresh Stop Market new shareholder and gardener Christopher Skye is looking forward to the trip. “This is a great opportunity to meet people who grow food professionally. I grow food ‘unprofessionally (!)’ and I assume real farming is very hard. I look forward to asking them a lot of questions when I get there. This is a great opportunity for us shareholders to have an end of the season celebration.”
New Roots administrative coordinator Sarah Dugan is especially looking forward to the kid’s activities, “With games and rides this should be both fun and educational. My seven-year old son Theo (New Albany Veggie Cheerleader and host) can’t wait to meet the farmers who’ve been growing all this amazing food he’s been enjoying all season.”
The tour is free but there is a $5 (adults) $2 (ages 3-12) and free (ages 2 and under) down payment to reserve your spot. This reservation fee will be returned to you on the tour as Farm Bucks to spend on your choice of fresh, local produce or lamb. Call us at 502-509-6770 before October 18th at the very latest to reserve your spot.
The opening of the Shawnee Fresh Stop Market in June, 2011. Louisville Mayor Gregg Fischer is seen in the middle of the photo speaking with founders Joyce Wade and Myrna Brame. Founders Seth Gunning and Blaine Snipstal are to the right. Redeemer Lutheran Church is in the background.
In the late 2000s, the idea of New Roots and the Fresh Stop Markets was merely a hopeful seed buried in the soil. The nurturing of this seed was difficult, exciting, and about as organic (very!) as the countless tomatoes shareholders have already consumed this 2017 growing season. Up until the founding of New Roots in 2009, Karyn Moskowitz (co-founder and Executive Director), as well as many others throughout the city of Louisville, had been faced with an uphill effort of connecting fresh food insecure communities with the local, organic, produce that we all deserve to live a happy and healthy life. Stephen Bartlett, a friend of Karyn’s and a partner in the food justice community, states that the work up until that point “had experienced a series of major setbacks and shortcomings.” Simply put, the traditional farmers’ market models were just not working. The retail prices for the produce were too high. Based on a recommendation received days earlier, Bartlett visited a Cleveland, OH organization as part of a detour on a separate business trip. This organization had created a unique way of utilizing an income-based sliding scale for fresh food distribution throughout Cleveland, and it was proving to be very successful. The organization, called City Fresh, and its Fresh Stop Market model, is the foremother of what we here in Kentuckiana know as New Root’s Fresh Stop Markets.
With this new knowledge to battle the issue of equitable food access, Karyn Moskowitz and others, such as Al Mortenson, a longtime supporter of food justice initiatives, prepared to open the very first Fresh Stop Market in 2009. “When I moved to Louisville in 1976, I realized that fresh food was not readily available to many people in the city, especially to those in [so-called USDA] food deserts,” Mortenson says. “When I learned of the Fresh Stop Market model in 2009, I knew I wanted to be part of this new endeavor.” That same year, Al stepped up and became the site leader of the Fresh Stop Market at the Fourth Ave. United Methodist Church, the first of its kind. While there were plenty of setbacks that first year, including the loss of much of their promised produce for the season due to heavy rainfall, Moskowitz, Mortenson, and many others continued to persevere.
For the first couple of years, New Roots remained a very small organization, still searching for the strongest footing in Louisville. In 2011, things began to change. Two interns with the Presbyterian Hunger Program (P.H.P.) became heavily involved. Encouraged by P.H.P.’s Associate for National Hunger Concerns, Andrew Kang Bartlett, the two AmeriCorps VISTA interns, Seth Gunning and Blain Snipstal, community organizers from Georgia, were able to help expand the capacity of New Roots, even writing the very first grant to the Presbyterian Hunger Program, which was given to New Roots that same year. “We were all together at the initial meeting with the leadership at Redeemer Lutheran Church. The VISTAs appreciated the grassroots, local leader-driven approach and put many hours into supporting and developing curricula, the board, etc.” Says, Kang Bartlett. With this outside help, Moskowitz and New Roots were finally able to look to a promising horizon instead of focusing on the present.
Eight years and many evolutions of the Fresh Stop Market model later, Al Mortenson continues to volunteer with the Fresh Stop Markets regularly. Although there is no longer a market at the Fourth Ave. United Methodist Church, Mortenson can be seen floating between several of Louisville’s nine Fresh Stop Markets. “I continue to actively participate with the Fresh Stop Markets because I have the same desire I had when I moved to Louisville in 1976—that fresh local produce be readily available and affordable to all persons living in the city, especially to those living in fresh food insecure neighborhoods.”
Many of the items that are part of the weekly Fresh Stop Market shares would not be possible without the work of bees, so it’s important for both farmers and those who support their work to promote behaviors that help keep bees healthy.
Dave Keal, who runs organic farm Field 51 Produce in Goshen, and his wife Meg Shea, who operates Dropseed Native Plant Nursery, said this area has not seen the issue with Colony Collapse Syndrome that has been in the news in recent years, but said bees are still struggling.
“They’re suffering from chemical use and there’s some things I’ve read about cellphone towers” among other issues, he said. “Nothing (definitive) that you can point to, but it’s also just degradation of habitat; bees don't have as much to feed on because people are planting things like grasses that don’t get pollinated by bees.
“In the country, it’s a little bit different because it’s more of a thing that farmers mow and don't let any flowers grow up around their soybean fields or things like that. Like I said, there is a degradation of habitat.”
Keal said diversity of species is something we should all be concerned about.
“Diversity of species is something that we need to maintain because bees are doing things that we really don’t know they’re doing,” he said. “We do know they’re doing a lot of things, like pollinating our food. Almost all squashes, all cucubrits – which are the melons, winter squashes – need to be pollinated by bees. Tomatoes, too, and anything that has a flower, it has been pollinated by a bee.”
Carson Nation, who operates Carson Nation Produce in Fisherville and Finchville, said organic practices helps promote bee health.
“We don't spray any harsh chemicals,” he said. “If we do spray any insecticides or fungicides, we like to do it early in the morning when the bees aren’t feeding.”
Nation, a sixth-generation farmer, said his family practices what they call “farmganics,” which is clean, mostly organic practices learned from and passed down through the generations.
“We try to be clean. I tell everyone that they can go to anyone of our fields, pick something and eat it there without having to wash it first,” he said. “If we grow in a clean way, we are promoting healthy bees.”
Nation and Keal both plant flowers on their farms to help bees and other wildlife.
“We have native beds in our gardening system so there is something always flowering for the bees to take advantage of,” Keal said. “They flower at different times throughout the season. You can also plant your cover crops in the winter and summer and let it go to flower, that really will help your bees as well. A good example of that is buckwheat.”
He also encouraged all farmers to refrain from mowing flowers around their fields. “That would also help birds in the winter months, there's all kinds of things it’s helping,” he said.
And planting a pollinator garden of perennials is a way for anyone in the city or suburbs to do their part for the bees and other wildlife.
“It has a bunch of plants in it that are native to Kentucky that flower at different times,” Keal said. “What you are doing is providing a nectar source for bees. You are also providing a nectar and food source for birds in the winter, butterflies for caterpillars, all kinds of things. It’s a multiple effect when you plant a pollinator garden.”
And don’t use harsh chemicals if it can be avoided. “The other thing you can do as a city person is don’t spray chemicals as much, especially if something is flowering, don’t spray around that,” Keal said. “The insects are drawn to (the flower) and if you spray that, you’re going to kill the insects, too.”
These days, the process of finding, ordering, and getting vegetables to New Roots’ 10 Louisville area-based Fresh Stop Markets is a relatively smooth process – with the occasional hiccup finding its way in just to keep things interesting.
But that was not always the case. The process has evolved since the organization was founded in 2009. For example, “this year, we haven’t had to go out to the farms and physically pick anything,” said Mary Montgomery, New Roots’ Uber Farmer Liaison.
“There have been times when we’ve gone out to the farms and picked vegetables and brought them back to the market so they would have what we forecasted,” Montgomery said. “Sometimes the shareholders don’t know the length and time that is involved in getting the food to the market for them.”
Despite the effort, she said it is worth it to make sure shareholders are not disappointed. “We love and enjoy seeing the community eat healthy and being happy,” she said.
Creating something from scratch has meant a learning curve for everyone, including the farmers who have partnered with New Roots. Montgomery said she and the farmers have had to learn to speak the same language.
“I have to work with the farmers because they like to sell a lot of their items by the pound, which makes financial sense for them, but we need to buy them by the ‘eaches,’” she said.
Each Fresh Stop Market share contains ten items, and when ordering things such as cucumbers, Montgomery said it has to be done per item, as sometimes an individual piece of produce can weigh a pound or more.
“If a particular market wants two cucumbers per share, I need to make sure I’m getting 72 cucumbers and not 72 pounds,” she said.
Montgomery gives a lot of credit to the farmers who have changed their ways to work with New Roots, which has proven beneficial for everyone.
But no matter how much New Roots works to continue to improve the Fresh Stop Markets, there is one thing that can’t be controlled – the weather.
“Trying to have all of the Markets eating on the same accord has been a task this season, because we don’t want any disparities in our markets,” she said. “And a lot is due to the weather as to when that crop is going to be available to us. They may have peppers one week for our markets and the next week (of the two-week cycle), they may not have enough to offer.”
Montgomery said they are always looking for ways to improve the process, but one of the most important things people can do is volunteer at the Markets.
“Be understanding, patient, and volunteer, because if they don’t help, then these markets go away,” she said. “We really do need the volunteers, not just buying the shares. Yes, we want you to enjoy the food, but these markets are alive and it takes volunteerism.”
It also goes the other way around. New Roots Executive Director Karyn Moskowitz reminds us that, “All volunteers really should be purchasing shares. We want everyone to gain access to this beautiful food, and leave the market and go home and experience delicious, nutrition-filled meals.”
For our Jewish shareholders, this time of year holds special meaning. On Wednesday evening, at sunset on September 20th, we ushered in Rosh Hashanah, or the Jewish New Year. Jews ushered in that evening and into the next two days the mystical “Birth of the Universe,” and celebrated it as the head of the Jewish year. It is a time of renewal and hopes for a year ahead full of peace, prosperity and blessing. Coming up on the evening of September 29th and lasting until September 30th, is Yom Kipper, the day of atonement and fasting, with even more holidays coming in October, most notably, Sukkot. This season, for many Jewish families, is also all about the food.
On Rosh Hashanah, special challah bread is dipped in honey to symbolize a prayer for sweet things to come in the new year. Challah is round on Rosh Hashanah, recalling the cyclical nature of the year. It is also symbolic of a crown, alluding to the desire to crown G-d as king. Apples are important on this day as well.
“Many Jews consider apples to be a perfect fruit—beautiful to the eye, the smell, and delicious to eat. Apples are dipped in honey during Rosh Hashanah for added sweetness,” says New Roots director Karyn Moskowitz, who is very immersed in her Jewish culture, especially the food. “I use this as an opportunity to buy a big supply of local honey from ValuMarket and use in all my Rosh Hashanah cooking so our upcoming year is sweet as well.”
Both the body and head of a fish are symbolic for Rosh Hashanah. Fish swim in schools and breed in plenty, and as a result, have traditionally been seen as representations of abundance.
Some foods are treasured because they are a play on words, meaning the word for the food sounds like something else you’d want to wish for in the new year. Egyptian Jews and others eat black-eyed peas because they are called Rubya, related to the Hebrew word rov meaning a lot, many. Black-eyed pea dishes, such as Hoppin’ Jack, are traditional New Year’s eats in the American Southeast. Ashkenazi or Jews of eastern European descent added carrots, “ma’rin” in Yiddish, which can also mean increase, in order to ask that merits be increased. Some say the sliced carrots in a dish like tsimmes look like gold coins, making this a way of asking for wealth.
Parkland shareholder Marcia Segal gives her take on tsimmes, “I love to make traditional tsimmes out of sweet potatoes, white potatoes, carrots, dried fruit like prunes, and a bit of honey. Tsimmes is a great dish because it is sweet and has beautiful Fall flavors and colors.”
For Yom Kippur, after a day of fasting, traditional foods cooked and served by Karyn to her guests include gefilte fish (both vegan made out of tofu and freshwater fish), as well as kasha varnishkes, or buckwheat groats and bow-tie noodles.
All shareholders who are interested in joining Karyn’s break the fast on Saturday evening, September 30th, can RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org. Space is limited so write soon!