Abby Paloma, who teaches at Yoga Vida in New York City, held her first Farm to Yoga event 4 1/2 years ago, when she had a surplus of crops and wanted to share and celebrate with friends. Since then, word of her sustainable dinner and yoga series has spread faster than you can say Om.
“The dream is that from physical connection there will be more cross-pollination between local yogis and local farmers,” says Paloma, a self-taught chef who helps design the menu for each Farm-to-Table dinner.
Each Farm-to-Table event features a tour of a local farm, outdoor yoga classes and a multi-course meal prepared by a team of holistic chefs, featuring fresh-picked organic produce in dishes like eggplant tahini dip, kale salad and raw vegan chocolate cherry pie.
“The project began from the desire to reconnect people to the nourishing earth, to their local food system and, ultimately, to what is sacred,” Paloma explains. “I realized that all people really needed an opportunity to set foot on a farm. In a world where it is so easy to be removed from the essence of food, I was super motivated to offer people a chance to see and learn about food right at the source.”
Paloma holds about eight feasts a year at Growing Heart Farm (a small-scale organic farm in Pawling, N.Y., 75 miles north of the Big Apple), as many as possible at Suzie's Farm in San Diego and, on July 29, she’ll host her first Farm-to-Yoga event at Brooklyn Grange, a rooftop farm in the heart of New York City (click here to register for the Brooklyn Grange event).
But you don't have to hop on a plane (or subway) to DIY your own farm to yoga event. “Visit your local farm or farmer's market,” says Paloma. “Buy some seedlings. Start a garden. At harvest time, invite some friends and your yoga teacher over. Practice together, harvest together, cook together and share a meal to remember!”
Here’s one of Paloma’s favorite recipes to get you started:
Abby Paloma's Spring Kimchi Miso Tahini Soup
6 cups water
6 turnips (save those green tops)
¼ cup wakame seaweed
½ cup cauliflower
½ cup kimchi
½ cup spring snap peas
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp tamari (it's a pretty basic Asian condiment like soy sauce)
1 tbsp tahini
Optional: ½ cup locally-caught flounder or any kind of white fish or tofu
Roughly chop kimchi, turnips, turnip greens, snap peas and cauliflower into soup size bites. Bring water to boil in soup pot. Add cauliflower first. Wait 5 minutes and add rest of vegetables and wakame seaweed. Keep stove on medium heat for another 5 to 7 minutes then turn off heat. Immediately add chopped fish or tofu. Stir in miso, toasted sesame oil, tahini and tamari to taste. Make sure miso is completely stirred in and serve soup over brown rice or rice noodles. Garnish with sliced green onions or shiso leaf.
—Dana Meltzer Zepeda