Moosewood Restaurant has added a new grower to their list of local produce suppliers: Ithaca Children’s Garden’s Teen Urban Farmers (TUF)! TUF is providing herbs – primarily basil – to Moosewood, as part of a commitment to source food locally and organically wherever possible. Now Moosewood can add “youth-grown” to the list.
TUF has been a program of ICG since 1999, and provides skill training in horticulture, market garden management, entrepreneurship, youth development, collaboration, and leadership. TUF also runs a farm stand at the Garden, selling fresh produce, eggs, flowers and more every Wednesday from 9:30 am until 5:30 pm until Aug 31.
Moosewood has long been an Ithaca restaurant destination, made famous by its nationally renowned cookbooks and healthy vegetarian cuisine. The TUF kids are passionate about the Garden and their farm stand, and that passion is further fostered by the ICG/Moosewood partnership. One TUF teen says of the project,“We learned how to [harvest the basil] early in the TUF season, and got to interact with our co-workers and get to know each other. You could say the basil brought us together. It’s nice knowing that the work we do here affects the people who get to eat our produce!”
For some TUF teens, the work they do at ICG helps shape or inform a career path. One teen explains: “I think it’s cool to start selling [produce] from the garden – at the farm stand and Moosewood. I want to own my own cafe, so this is good preparation!”
Lauren Salzman, TUF Manager has been working with TUF teens to understand how supplying a restaurant differs from running a farmstand. “It’s a learning process. Everything we do here is about skill and confidence building to empower these teens to make a bright future, for themselves, their community and the world around them. Learning how to grow, harvest, and prepare a crop for a local restaurant that specializes in healthy, local eating is a lot of work and also a source of pride. We are glad that others are enjoying the bounty of our work!”
Wynnie Stein, Moosewood Co-Owner champions this project at the restaurant and is excited to see the partnership grow. “We are enjoying the basil this summer in our freshly made pestos and Moosewood’s Spinach-Basil house salad dressing, and we hope to have more herbs and fresh mint to use in our cooking and craft cocktails next season. Moosewood proudly supports local ventures, especially ones like Ithaca Children’s Garden’s Teen Urban Farmers that empower youth with employment and support healthful food choices.”