Food News

Another Successful Tomato Fest!






by Sara J. Rosen

photos courtesy of Jason Schwartz, clockwise from top left: Alica Walter & Sam Alberts; Marja Samsom; Naxielly Dominguez's Un-Cookoff "helpers" - Angeline Dominguez and Emma Deutsch; and Teen Battle Chefs Adam Garcia & Lorenzo Gallese


The Great Tomato Un-Cookoff hosted by Food Systems Network NYC and New Amsterdam Market on Sunday, August 26th was a rousing success.  Hundreds of tomato enthusiasts meandered through the market sampling awe-inspiring dishes created by an impressive roster of chef participants. Each creation captivated our taste buds in a different way. While we honor all of our chefs for their tomato mastery, the following chefs took home a special prize for distinguishing themselves in the following categories:

  • People’ s Choice Award (voted best dish from our attendees): Alexis Delaney for her Tomatoes with Homemade Stracciatella and Anchovy Breadcrumb Salsa
  • Judge’s Choice Award (voted best dish by our judges):  Naxielly Dominguez for her Tomato Tortilla Soup w/Chipotle Goat Choose & Chimichurri Oil
  • Most Creative Use of Tomatoes (selected by our judges): Renee Baumann for her Zesty Gazpacho Granita
  • Best Interpretation of Un-Cooked (selected by our judges): Alicia Walter & Sam Alberts for their Tomato Watermelon Salad

These lucky chefs were awarded unrivaled experiences that included a guided tour of a local Greenmarket; lunch at the Green Table; and sunset drinks and snacks at the new Table Green with the Network’s very own culinary and market experts.  Our fourth prize was two tickets to New Amsterdam Market’s upcoming Cider Rival and tasting event in October.

Wish you had sampled (more of) the tomato recipes featured at Tomato Fest?  Here’s your chance to see if you can re-create some of these dishes at home.  Thanks to our chefs for providing the great recipes below!


August 26: Tomato Fest!! Chef Particpants Announced for The Great Tomato Un-Cookoff

When:  Sunday, August 26, 2012, 12:00-4:00 pm

Where: New Amsterdam Market - South Street (Between Beekman Street & Peck Slip), New York, New York 10038

Ticketed event features: tomato tasting of multiple varieties (heirloom and other non-GMOs); FSNYC’s Great Tomato Un-Cookoff; All ticket proceeds benefit FSNYC.

Attendee tickets: $15 FSNYC members (w/ discount code); $20 non-FSNYC members;  $30 non-FSNYC members + FSNYC membership. Buy tickets in advance or purchase day of (cash only).

FSNYC's Annual Tomato Fest and inagural Great Tomato Un-Cookoff at New Amsterdam Market is fast approaching! Attendees can:

  • Learn how to can tomatoes with Spicy ‘n Sweet (1:00 - 3:00 pm)
  • Talk heirlooms with on-site experts
  • Enjoy tomato inspired creations from New Amsterdam Market vendors
  • Taste and profile 15 varieties of height-of-the season tomatoes (ticketed)
  • Sample the tantalizing, tomato-centric creations of 9 chefs who are competing head-to-head in FSNYC's first Great Tomato Un-Cookoff! (ticketed)

Tickets available at

All ticket proceeds benefit Food Systems Network NYC.


Renee Baumann - Zesty Gazpacho Granita

Before studying pastry at the French Culinary Institute,  Renee studied architecture and she will forever blame all of her persnicketiness on having a formal design training.  She can sometimes be found teaching culinary skills through Skillshare and at  Cooking Matters classes organized by City Harvest, By day, she draws technical things on a computer. By night, she cooks, reads, writes, tends to two emotionally needy cats, and occasionally instigates experimental dinner parties.


Tim Cavaretta - Zapamole

Tim Cavaretta is the founder of local harvest catering outfit Bittergreen. Starting with the best ingredients the region has to offer in any given season, he aims to combine flavors in ways that surprise and satisfy. Tim grew up in Massachusetts and studied Anthropology at NYU. Meet his tweets @eatbittergreen.



Alexis Delaney - Tomatoes with Homemade Stracciatella and Anchovy, Breadcrumb Salsa

Alexis Delaney has been cooking in New York City restaurants for the past five years, first at mas (farmhouse) in the West Village, and more recently at mas (la grillade). Her interest and passion for simple, seasonal cuisine took her to Rome, Italy where she worked at the Rome Sustainable Food Project. She is thrilled to be part of the tomato "uncookoff!"

Naxielly Dominguez - Fresh Tomato Tortilla Soup with Chipotle Goat Cheese and Chimichurri Oil

Naxielly teaches culinary arts and baking in Kingsborough Community College. She works as a food service coordinator for the nonprofit organization Children's Aid Society creating healthy and nutritious meals for young children. In her spare time she loves to make sweet materpieces as a cake designer.


Mitchell Greenberg - BLT S'more

Mitchell Greenberg is the resident culinary guru of MitchMallows, handcrafted artisanal marshmallows. A lifelong marshmallow romance convinced Mitch that now is the time to bring this evocative and beloved oldfangled confection into the 21st Century. Say hello to the Ginger Wasabi, Churros, Wine & Cheese and Pretzels & Beer mallows to name just a few of our 36 flavors! You’ll never think of marshmallows the same way again.


Jessica Henesy - Tomato Jam BLT

Jessica is a recent graduate of FCI's Classic Culinary Arts program. When she is not working as a sales representative for Sea to Table, a sustainable seafood purveyor, Jessica enjoys putting her culinary skills to work at home.





Margrethe Horlyck-Romanovsky - Tomato Smørrebrød with Goat Cheese and Chives

Margrethe is the founder and executive chef of Babette's, a private catering service specializing in Nordic cuisine. Growing up in a family of hunters, gatherers, cooks and farmers she has been cooking for company since she was 14. Margrethe's passion for local food, nutrition education and food access has shaped her multifaceted career including ten years of development and expansion of various hands-on nutrition and health education programs reaching more than 17,000 New Yorkers a year; a cookbook and nutrition manual for large Danish institutional kitchens; and catering for numerous Nordic events hosted by the United Nations. Margrethe is pursuing her doctoral studies in Public Health Nutrition at the CUNY Graduate Center, where she focuses on food access, particularly subsidized supermarkets, while teaching food and culture at Brooklyn College. Margrethe's cooking is reminiscent of her mother and grandmothers' kitchens and inspired by New Nordic Cuisine.


Marja Samsom, the "Dumpling Diva" - Tomato-Basil Dumpling

Marja is an international chef, Dumpling Diva, and downtown bicyclist.

Teen Battle Chefs - Pico De Gallo & Ricotta on Flatbread

Two talented Teen Battle Chefs, Lorenzo Gallese (pictured left) and Adam Garcia, will dazzle you with their recipe! Teen Battle Chef is a youth development program exploring culinary, food systems and gardening education, while battling obesity and chronic disease






Alicia Walter & Sam Alberts - Tomato Watermelon Salad

Alicia Walter and Sam Alberts are co-chefs of La Scuola at Eataly.  They celebrate local New York produce during Pranzo, a pop-up lunch restaurant, which focuses on the food, history and culture of the twenty regions of Italy.  By night, the space transforms into a demonstration cooking school to satisify both your inner geek and glutton with classes ranging from producer-led wine tastings to educational 4-course dinners. For more information on classes at Eataly, please visit Eataly's La Scuola.




Q & A with Robert LaValva: A Fresh Perspective on the New York State Council on Food Policy

by Amanda Berhaupt-Glickstein

photo credit: Terese Loeb Kreuzer

On July 18th, Governor Cuomo’s New York State Council on Food Policy (NYSCFP) met for their Annual Summer Meeting at the State University of Albany in Albany, New York (SUNY Albany).  Amanda Berhaupt-Glickstein met up with new member of the NYSCFP, and founder of the New Amsterdam Market, Robert LaValva, to get a fresh perspective on the NYSCFP and an update from their annual meeting.

Takeaways: July's Open Networking Meeting on Distribution of Local Food to Restaurants

by Sara J. Rosen

On July 24, 2012, a crowd of more than 65 people gathered in the Thompson Warehouse of the South Street Seaport Museum to discuss innovations in local food distribution to New York City restaurants.   Robert LaValva, President of the New Amsterdam Market, welcomed everyone to the historic Seaport neighborhood.  Robert described how the area had been home to food markets dating back to 1642.  This setting, reminiscent of our local food system heritage and home to a new bustling local market, set the tone for the evening’s panel discussion.   

FARM BILL 1.12: The Shortest Distance from here to a 2012 Food and Farm Bill may not be through this Congress

by Ed Yowell

August 3, 2012

The present 2008 Food and Farm Bill expires at the end of September, 2012… next month!  

The full Senate approved its version of the 2012 Food and Farm Bill, the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012, on Thursday June 21, 2012.  The Senate bill reduces the deficit by $23 billion. Historically, it reforms commodity programs…most significantly, ending direct payments to farmers.   And, largely because of amendments passed during a two day debate on the Senate floor, the Senate bill supports and reforms a number of important programs, including rural development and beginning farmer, soil and water conservation, crop insurance (subsidy limitations and crop insurance for organic and diversified farmers), commodity payments, and farm to school (pilot innovations).

"What's Organic About Organic?" Now Available for Home Streaming and Screenings 

 Photo Source: blogs.westword[dot]com


How many times have you heard someone ask "Why should I pay more for organic? Is it really better for me? Does it really make a difference?" "What's Organic About Organic?", a lively, engaging hour-long documentary now available both online for home streaming and for public screenings, provides compelling answers to those questions and asks us to contemplate a few more:

  • What will it take to protect our environment?
  • What is conscientious consumption?
  • How do we make agriculture sustainable?

FSNYC Leadership Committee Co-Chairs' Address

Thank you to all who attended our 2012 Annual Meeting on June 12th. We heard from our active sub-committees on their projects from the previous year and on what they are looking forward to for the rest of 2012. We also reconnected with some who helped to shape FSNYC into what it is today, including Harvest Home Farmers Market Founder and past FSNYC Membership Co-Chair Maritza Owens, who inspired us with her keynote address on her work developing community-based farmers markets.
  Read more below...

Food Workers and Food Justice Conference: Food Workers Unite!

by Diana Robinson

photo credit: Food Chain Workers Alliance


*Any opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not constitute the opinions of the Food Systems Network NYC.

In this day and age, we find ourselves questioning where our food comes from, how the animals are treated, the impact of food production on the environment, whether food is organic, and ultimately, whether or not it’s all together sustainable.  So it comes as no surprise that large food corporations have caught on and participate in “nutri-washing,” a term coined by Michele R. Simon of Eat Drink Politics, playing to our low-calorie, environmentally friendly and organic needs. But how sustainable is an organic apple if the worker who picked it works under dangerous and hazardous conditions and doesn’t even earn minimum wage? This is the very question the Food Chain Workers Alliance wished to address at the Food Workers and Food Justice Conference on June 6, 2012, in New York City.

Plan to Ban Large Sizes of Sugary Beverages Draws Mixed Response

by Rosalin Luetum and Gabrielle Blavatsky

photo source: blisstree[dot]com

Last month, Mayor Bloomberg proposed a big soda ban that would outlaw the sale of soft drinks larger than 16 ounces -- larger than a can of soda, but smaller than a bottle.  The proposed ban includes drinks with at least 25 calories per eight ounces. Diet sodas, fruit juices, and dairy-based drinks are exempt. If approved, the ban would take effect March 2013.