-->

Ramadan Reflections - Youth Perspective

This past weekend marked the end of Ramadan with the celebration of Eid - the festival of breaking the fast. Typically, the day is celebrated with community prayer, giving to those in need, visiting with friends and family, and eating sweets. At the start of Ramadan, we asked some of our teens to talk about their experience with practicing Ramadan during Covid-19 (check out our last blog post for those thoughts). Now that Ramadan is over, we followed up with them to hear their reflections about this important Muslim holiday.

Salman
Ramadan was a great month for me. Ramadan was about just trying to challenge yourself to fast for 30 days. Some things I learned is that people can improve their fasting if you really want to because last year I used to struggle fasting, but this year it was so easy that the month is almost done. It was great time with family.


Rifat
Ramadan was lonely this year. Just me and my family. But I got the chance to recite the whole Quran this month because of the free time. It’s a spiritual achievement for me. One common thing I like about Ramadan is that all our family members or people in the house come together at the table during sunset to break the fast. This is a gem for me as we don’t sit and eat at the same time usually in ordinary days. Instead of having a big prayer lead by an imam in the mosque, I lead the Eid prayer and also invited my neighbors upstairs. This was challenging and shocking at the same time, but I did it. On Eid I just went out on a long drive with my friend beside the sea. It was peaceful and wholesome.

Nina
I love the fact that I’m drawn to my god more and I feel so spiritual and my body just feel calming like I don’t even think about food and also when we fast we have restrictions on thing we can and can’t do, so like listening to music, being on social media - it’s not good because it distracts people and draws them to evil. Listening to Quran and praying five times a day is one of the best thing to do in the month of Ramadan. Giving to the poor is a big factor because you get more goodness. If I’m fortunate enough in the future I would love to give to people who need it the most.










Fatuma
Honestly Ramadan this year was really completely different. We can’t just simply go to the mosque whenever we feel like it sadly. It just feels so weird it doesn’t feel like a great Ramadan this year even though it went by pretty quick and I’m kinda glad that we can actually go to Eid prayer because that’s what we were worried about wondering if we were going to even have a Eid prayer which is pretty important, but other than that it was really weird due to the quarantine. Hopefully next year it’s better.
Amina
Ramadan this year was actually great, I got to spend more time with my family and learn new recipes with my mom! I’ve learned that I should appreciate my family more because I really wouldn’t have been able to get through this tough time without their support. One takeaway is to not take the closeness for granted, like I can’t wait to go pray as a whole, once the masjid opens back up. 



























Ramadan During the Pandemic: Youth Perspective

Today is first full day of Ramadan which marks the beginning of a month of fasting, prayer, and reflection that is observed by Muslims worldwide. Community and connection is also an important part of the traditions of Ramadan, but with the coronavirus keeping people apart, we wanted to know how this would affect MAP Youth who are Muslim. This week we asked them, "What are your thoughts on Ramadan this year?" and "How is Ramadan different for you and your family because of the pandemic?". 
Here are their thoughts:

Salman: 
I’m glad that I don’t have to go to school and work during Ramadan this  year because I’m not someone that is used to Ramadan and fasting is  hard for me. I plan on sleeping a lot, so that will be easy for me.

Rifat: 
As you probably know, we fast from sunrise and sunset and usually we go to the mosque during the sunset to break our fast with everyone. That's not happening now. We are breaking our fast at home. What will be different is that the fasting will be much easier for Muslims in general as they don't have to go out for work/school, But one of the main aspects of Ramadan is the socializing aspects. We love to go have iftar (eating at sunset) at others' house. 
For me, I plan on reading the Qur'an during Ramadan this year to understand more about my religion. I’ve been praying together more with my family which has been good and peaceful for me. When this is over, we will go back to praying more alone.



Nina:
I don’t really eat a lot so I’m used to it. One thing that will be different will be the type of food that I eat. If I fast, I don’t like eating food that has oil in it, like fried food, but now I will be eating food with more oil. I like to eat avocados when I’m fasting, but I don’t think I’ll be able to do that as much this time.







Fatuma:
Well, for this year I feel like things are going to be more different because, one, I'm not worrying about being at school all day long. I'll be at home with family and reconnect more with myself because it feels like when I'm at school all day long I feel so drained so when it's time to break my fast I barely eat anything. I get to reconnect with myself, do a little bit of exercises, and spend more time in the kitchen with my mom. It's very different with the whole pandemic going on because I actually get to see my family not just Saturdays and Sundays. Before my mom would work in the afternoon so she wouldn't be there as much, just my dad, and it just didn't feel right, but now it feels like this year it's going to be great. I don't know why, it just does.







Amina:
Well, many of Ramadan's rituals and traditions will be restricted this year. Many mosques have been temporarily closed so we can't perform Tarawih prayers or just any of the five daily prayers together. We also can't go to mosques to hear Qur'an recitations and stories of our Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) instead we have to attend religious lectures via Zoom, Facebook, or YouTube. All in all for me, my spirits have been darkened due to just not being able to come together and I'm just going to miss that connectivity. Also, Eid, the celebration that marks the end of Ramadan, this year will also be in a restricted manner due to social distancing which itself is quite sad.

♻️ Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Ya Gotta Frittata

Look at this beauty! Would you believe it's filled with all the bits of food leftover from three completely different dinners?! It is! It is!

A frittata is similar to a quiche, but without the hassle of a crust. It's best made in a cast iron pan but any shallow stove top pan you have that is also oven safe can work.

Looking for an affordable cast iron? Try looking for a Buy Nothing Project group in your area or check your favorite resale group (we like the Facebook Marketplace but Craigslist is a good choice too; please practice safe buying from strangers!) Even a rusty garage sale cast iron pan can be re-seasoned with a little googling and elbow grease.

For your frittata, you'll need filling, eggs and a milk product. The one pictured above contains almond milk. We have found pretty much any milk product to work. We also used cheese, but you don't have to.

When you're making dinner throughout the week, you can rest assured that you're not going to waste as much food as the average American (~290 lbs per year, according to the USDA). This frittata and the other recipes in this Reduce, Reuse, Recycle series will keep you in line to use up every last bit your toddler, picky family member, or full belly leaves behind.

Today, we will share a recipe that is filled with flexibility. We hope this inspires you to try something new, experiment, and maybe even get a little out of your comfort zone.

Kitchen Sink Frittata
~2 cups cooked "filling"
You can prepare your filling fresh or utilize cooked veggies you have on hand (We used caramelized onions, wilted spinach, steamed zucchini, sliced cherry tomatoes, and sauteed mushrooms. Potatoes and meats such as sausage, bacon, and ham work well, too)
6 eggs
1/2 cup milk or milk substitute (We used almond milk)
4 oz cheese (We used feta but cheddar, mozzarella, colby jack, or anything shredded will work)
Seasoning (We prefer thyme, oregano, salt and pepper. Play with flavors that match your filling choices)
Olive Oil

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Crack your eggs into a mixing bowl. Add milk and seasoning. Whisk until scrambled and set aside.

Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in your pan over medium heat. It's time to prepare your filling. If you're cooking fresh, you'll want to cook all the items down until all the water is cooked off of the greens or until veggies are soft and at least translucent. If you're using leftovers, you'll want to get them sizzling a bit in your pan. Leftovers take 2-4 minutes to cook through.

Once your filling is cooked through, lower your heat and spread the filling to cover the bottom of your pan (if you're not using cast iron, you'll probably need to add a little more oil to the bottom first). Add a layer of cheese. Pour egg mixture on top. Tip the pan around a bit to make sure eggs nestle down into the nooks and crannies of the filling. Leave the mixture to set up over medium-high heat for about 4 minutes.

Once your eggs start to set up a little around the edges of the pan, carefully transfer the whole thing to the oven. Bake for about 10 minutes or until eggs seem set with a jiggle of the pan. Allow to cool on the stove top. Serve warm.

Your mixture might rise up a bit in the oven and then settle when cooling. This is okay!

Pairs great with a simple side of dressed salad greens.

This recipe makes a fantastic breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It reheats and travels well. It doesn't turnout so great after freezing, so be sure to enjoy it all in a week's time. 

Meet Rifat!




The name is Rifat Chowdhury. A young filmmaker and currently, at the time of writing this blog, a junior at Leonardo Davinci High School. I’m relatively new to Buffalo and MAP was the perfect experience that could happen to me. Not only did I learn and interact with awesome MAP staff and amazing youth -but also became a part of this small loving family. I couldn’t be more grateful for this. Plus after my first day I told my mom “ I CUT ONIONS TODAY!". The journey has just started and can’t wait to see what’s ahead in the road for us.

TWO Recipes by Day!

During the second half of the school year, the MAP Youth are split up into different working groups or "tracks" based on their interests. This year, the groups are Farm, Enterprise, and Farm to Table. Working in these small groups allows teens to get a more focused look at one aspect of the food system. Over the last couple weeks, the Farm to Table group has been finding creative ways to work from home. They were given the challenge to document the creation of a recipe. This could be a recipe they made up or one they found online. This week, Day Yar P. shared two of her own recipes with us using produce that we delivered to her! She also shared some of her thoughts about her experience during this pandemic.


"At a time like this it's been very hard for me and my family because we don't have enough food, but it's harder to go grocery shopping because of this virus going on. During this quarantine I've been cleaning and exercising more. I always find new things to do whether practicing my new makeup looks, drawing, or finding a new dish to make etc. I've been thinking about things I want to accomplish when this quarantine is over, such as getting my ID since I already turned 18, and also sign up for a bank account and get my permit so I can start learning how to drive."

Here are Day's recipes for Thai Style Brussels Sprouts and Thai Shrimp Fried Rice

Thai Style Brussels Sprouts w/ Spicy Garlic Paste
Serves 2



Ingredients
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3-4 Thai chili peppers
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 small shallot, thinly sliced (optional
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts (optional)
  • 2 cups Brussels sprouts, quartered
  • Vegetable oil

Steps

  1. First we're going to make spicy garlic paste. Using a mortar and pestle, mash together garlic and chili peppers. Add fish sauce and lime juice. Then add thinly sliced shallots and let sit for a few minutes.
  2. Heat oil in frying pan. 
  3. Add peanuts and quartered Brussels sprouts. Make sure they are dry before you fry them. 
  4. Fry Brussels sprouts for about 4-5 minutes until the inside starts to turn a bit yellow, but don't over cook it.
  5. Lastly, mix in your spicy garlic paste with the Brussels sprouts and then you're done!!


Thai Shrimp Fried Rice
Serves 3

Ingredients
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 green pepper, diced
  • 1 cup carrot, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2-3 cups pre-cooked shrimp
  • 3 cups pre-cooked rice, chilled
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp chicken bouillon powder
  • 3 Tbsp Golden Mountain Seasoning Sauce (tuong gia vi)*
  • 1 Tbsp black soy sauce* (optional)
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste ( I used about 1/2 Tbsp)
Steps
  1.  Heat about 2 Tbsp of oil in a frying pan or wok. Meanwhile, scramble your eggs in a bowl.
  2. Fry eggs for about 1 minute then add carrots and green pepper and fry for about 2-3 minutes (don’t over fry).
  3. Add onion and fry for another 2 minutes.
  4. Add shrimp and fry for 3-4 minutes
  5. Stir in chilled rice. I use chilled rice because it helps the fried rice be less sticky. 
  6. Add seasonings and cook for another 2-3 minutes until rice is hot.
  7. Adjust seasonings to taste!

Notes
*Golden Mountain Seasoning Sauce is a popular soy-based condiment used in Thai cooking. It has a green cap and can be found in Asian markets.
*Black soy sauce is made from fermenting soy sauce with molasses or sugar and adds sweetness to a dish

Lastly, to enjoy these dishes like Day would, don't forget to add Sriracha! It goes on everything... even muffins! :)

CSA Round Up!

A few of you mentioned that you're interested in a CSA or produce subscription but aren't sure where to look. Back in February, MAP celebrated national CSA Day with an event called SIP & CSA Day. More than 20 of our local producer friends attended to share about their businesses. More than 200 of you attended to find your forever farm. It was great fun. We will definitely do it again next year. In the meantime, we've summarized some info about local CSA farms and local food subscription services for you to check out. 

While we've got your attention, please consider checking out a new group on facebook called, "Find Your Farmer in WNY." This group is an open forum for producers to share what they have to offer and consumers to ask questions. Some great discussions about the benefits of local food have occurred there, too. We are so grateful for the resource that the admins have created. Join in the fun! 

This list is organized into two sections, PRODUCERS and AGGREGATORS. What's the difference? 

Producers are farms and businesses cultivating, raising, and making the products they offer. This can include but is not limited to fruit and vegetable production, animal husbandry (breeding, raising and caring for farm animals), baking, fermenting, preserving. 

Aggregators are businesses that work with producers and wholesalers to build an inventory of products. Aggregators package products sourced from multiple vendors. Aggregators may even work with some of the producers listed here. 

One is not better than the other. There is no "best" share. There are so many configurations available, making it important to read through each business to find the most compatible share for your household, diet, budget, and lifestyle. Remember! Farmers are people!! Farmers are open to your questions. Have a partial payment? Call and ask if they will accept it! Need to pick up near your work? Ask around for different drop off locations. Want to split a share? Lots of CSAs will accommodate that! Now is the time to get to #knowyourfarmer and start eating hyper local. Happy hunting.


This list is limited to producers partnering with MAP and those that participated in SIP & CSA Day. There are definitely more options! Please reply with updates, missing information and farms to add. We will updated accordingly. Contact info is at the end of this post. THANKS!

Producers

Becker Farms and Vizcarra Vineyards is a farm, brewery, and vineyard located in Gasport, that features fruits and vegetables, u-pick patches, and a customizable CSA. You can add Becker Farms baked goods, Vizcarra Vineyards wine, Becker Brewing Company Beer, jams, and fudge to your fruit and vegetable share! Becker Farms offers a small share and a large share. There are pick up locations across Buffalo and Niagara Falls. https://www.beckerfarms.com/

Brewster Street Farm - Journey's End Refugee Agricultural Program is a natural urban oasis operated by Journey's End Refugee Services, where produce is grown exclusively by area refugees taking part in the Green Shoots for New Americans Refugee Agricultural program. Brewster Street's produce is sold at farmer's markets and to local restaurants, and is also offered as an affordable, seasonal CSA running from June to October!


Chestnut Hill Farm is situated in the hills of Boston, NY where the land boasts sprawling open pastures and a beautiful forest of Oak, Hickory, and Beech trees. It is in these woods that they raise our animals. Nature provides a wide variety of forage for the animals including an endless supply of nuts and acorns, a variety of grasses, wild grapes and berries, grubs, in addition to our ground cover of kale, clover, and turnip. They provide shelters throughout the woods and the animals also have constant access to GMO-free feed and running, fresh water. This free-range lifestyle allows animals the freedom to run, play, socialize, and express their natural behaviors which keeps them happy and stress-free. By providing exceptional care to their animals, they are able to offer our customers a superior quality, ethically raised product that everyone can be proud to purchase.
Chestnut Hill Farm currently offers their forest-raised, non-GMO fed pork for purchase by whole or half hog, Cut Collection Box, or as individual retail cuts. Custom orders for restaurants and food services are also available. This season, Chestnut Hill Farm is excited to launch an Organic Poultry line! Details will be available Spring of 2020. https://www.chestnuthillguesthouse.com/


Common Roots Urban Farm is located in Buffalo's Broadway Fillmore Neighborhood with views of the Central Terminal and many prominent church steeples. Josh & Terra grow on a 1/2 acre of revitalized vacant land that is chock full of fruits, veggies & herbs they plant by hand. Their CSA has both weekly & bi-weekly offerings that feature 8-10 veggies per share. They also offer a flower bouquet as an add-on! Common Roots accepts cash, credit, check and EBT for their CSA. More deets here: https://www.commonrootsurbanfarm.com/share-options


Crown Hill Farm is a beautiful historic farm home set on a hill in Eden, NY, with a view of Lake Erie from the front porch and 13-acres surrounded by organic hay fields, woods and a vineyard. Committed to diversity, honoring history and a passion for food, they grow all heirloom vegetables and raise heritage chickens, ducks and geese on pasture.
Crown Hill Farm offers Chicken and Duck Egg CSA opportunities as well as a small number of produce shares. Their produce are all unique heirloom varieties, mindfully grown with no-till/low-till sustainable practices bringing diversity back to your dinner plate. Their eggs are all Soy-Free eggs laid by heritage chickens, ducks and geese, all mindfully raised on pasture. This farm is very excited this season to be adding 2 sizes of Flower CSA Shares from Rambling Bramble at Crown Hill Farm grown by our flower whisperer, Nicole Vescio. Crown Hill Farm is dedicated to mindfully grown community, food, animals, and business with extreme care given to the land, it’s inhabitants & guests. Their purpose is simple: the pleasure of nourishment. Check out their new drop off point at Flat #12 Mushrooms! https://www.crownhillfarm.com/

Dirt Rich Farm located originally in East Aurora and now in Springville, is a USDA Certified Organic farm that believes "good food comes from good soil." Growing a wide variety of traditional and heirloom vegetable varieties, this farm has everything you could possibly grow hungry for! In addition to their produce being sold at the Elm Street Bakery, the East Aurora Cooperative Market, and through Fresh Fix, Dirt Rich also offers a seasonal CSA, available for pickup in East Aurora and Springville! Check out their new drop off point at the North Buffalo Farmers Market. http://www.dirtrichcsa.com/

Erba Verde Farms is a pasture-based farm focusing on milk and meat production. They are located in Aurora, NY. Erba Verde offers grass-fed no-grain raw milk shares. They also produce pasture-raised poultry, pork and grass-fed beef. You can pick up a share at 7 different sites including surrounding suburbs and places on both the east and west side of Buffalo. Check out their website for more info OR come and meet them at SIP & CSA Day! https://erbaverdefarms.com/pickup-sites-buffalo-western-ne…/

5 Loaves Farm goes "beyond organic" on Buffalo’s West Side. This urban oasis produces an array of seasonal vegetables. They also tend chickens and honeybees! 5 Loaves Farm provides a 22-week CSA that offers a pay-as-you-can sliding scale payment option AND they accept SNAP! https://5loavesfarm.org/

Flat #12 Mushrooms is an urban farm that produces gourmet mushrooms, year-round, right in the heart of Buffalo. They produce oyster, Lion's Mane, shiitake, and chestnut mushrooms. You may have seen them at the Bidwell Market or tasted their mushrooms at local restaurants. Flat #12 is new to the CSA game. They are offering weekly and bi-weekly shares of 1lb of mushrooms available for pick up at their spot on Chandler St, open daily 12-6pm stocked with items from several local producers! https://www.flat12mushrooms.com/

Native Offerings Farm is a USDA certified organic farm located in Otto, NY, in Cattaraugus County. Fun Fact: Native Offerings is the oldest CSA in Erie County, and has now expanded to offering meat and fruit shares in addition to its traditional summer vegetable share. Better yet, Native Offerings has pickup locations at their farm, on the West Side, in Amherst, and in Orchard Park, making connecting with this incredible farm super easy and convenient! https://nativeofferings.com/

Plato Dale Farm sustainable rural farm located in Arcade, NY. They raise Jersey cows, chickens, and vegetables. Plato Dale offers a market based CSA that allows both the benefits of CSA membership through a CSA buy down account and going to the farmer’s market. They attend the Elmwood-Bidwell Market and the Williamsville Farmer’s Market, mid May through November. New this year, Plato Dale is also offering a 22-week home delivery subscription service with several size/frequency options. https://platodalefarm.com/
Porter Farms CSA is a 3rd generation, certified-organic, family farm celebrating the 25th Anniversary of their CSA in 2020! Pioneers in the local organic movement, the Porter family grows the staples your family needs to eat healthy, organic produce without breaking your budget. They offer both Small and Full shares with Saturday distribution to over 10 sites in the Buffalo area, as well as Friday deliveries to local employers. Let Porter Farms grow for you - food the way nature intended it to be! http://www.porterfarms.org/

Promised Land CSA at Oles Family Farm is joining us for SIP & CSA Day! Promised Land CSA has share offerings year-round with six pick up options across WNY including right at the farm in Alden AND right on Mass Ave at MAP! Oles Family Farm offers a diverse veggie share with a fruit share option. You can subscribe weekly or bi-weekly in the summer and bi-weekly or monthly in the winter. They accept cash, check or credit card for their share. More info can be found at https://promisedlandcsa.com/csa/.

Providence Creek Farm is located in Clarence Center. Their farm mission is "to produce healthy, clean and delicious food for our customers." Focusing primarily on pasture-raised meat and eggs, the farm currently offers select beef, poultry, pork, and other assorted meats, including rabbit, goat, lamb, and turkey. Products may be ordered online via their website, or, as a monthly meat CSA! http://www.providencecreekfarm.com/

Sitka Salmon Shares is a collective of fisherman who home-deliver shares of premium, sustainable, wild alaskan seafood harvest. By joining their community-supported fishery (CSF), you become a member of Sitka's merry small-boat fishing family, distributed from a new WNY hub. Check out their website for details or talk fish in person at SIP & CSA Day tomorrow evening! https://sitkasalmonshares.com/

Aggregators

African Heritage Food Co-op is member-owned produce business with retail locations in Buffalo & Niagara Falls as well as mobile locations during the summer. AHFC offers a monthly buy-in program where you can purchase a whole or half box of conventional or organic produce for pick up or delivery. You do not need to be a member to purchase and no subscription is required. https://myahfc.com/shop/

FreshFix is a family owned and operated business that seeks to link the Buffalo community to fresh and local produce year round. Working with area farmers, producers, and distributors, FreshFix curates a weekly produce or meat subscription that meets personalized food needs, delivering each box right to your door! Boxes are customizable and flexible, making this a great option for busy and on-the-go types. https://www.freshfix.com/

George's Produce Market is a small grocery located in Williamsville, NY. They have recently begun offering a weekly produce box of vegetables and fruit. You can buy in using this form.

Produce Peddlers's goal is to help local farms thrive by connecting them directly with restaurants and consumers who are looking for organic, fresh, and local produce. They deliver to your doorstep in less than 72 hours! If you would like to have grocery delivered to your doorstep, order a CSA (community supported agriculture) box here: https://app.producepeddlers.com/

Spoth's Farm Market is a seasonal grocer located in East Amherst. Spoth's is offering a weekly produce box available for weekly curbside pick up at their location. https://spothsfarmmarket.weebly.com/

Sunset Fruit and Vegetable Company is a a locally owned and operated business, specializing in providing fresh produce and other food service products to grocery and convenient stores, restaurants, schools, nursing homes, hospitals and other wholesalers. Sunset is offering a CSA-style package called a "Q-pack" for doorstep deliver. Order online for drop off later in the week. Several configurations available. http://www.sunsetfruitandvegetable.com/

List updates and questions can be emailed to danielle@mass-ave.org
Farmer friends -- we are happy to add your info. Please provide a short paragraph and links to facebook and website (if applicable). Also, if you're interested in a new pick up location, MAP's Farmhouse is a great spot in the City of Buffalo. We are close to downtown, the 190 and 198/33; open evenings; have folks on hand to staff your pick up; and we have plenty of cold storage available. Shoot us an email to expand your CSA today! 


A little more about Alize!


Alize (far right) harvesting with fellow MAP Youth

I was born and raised in Puerto Rico on a small strawberry farm that belonged to my grandparents. I don't remember much because I was so young but I do remember waking up every morning to the smell of strawberry pancakes that my grandfather would cook up. After the meal I would go outside and run through the meadow with our dog, stopping along the way to eat some of the delicious strawberries that littered the garden. Strawberries were my day to day and some people would think that I got tired of them, but the truth is they brought my family together and will always be a part of me. I moved to Buffalo when I was 2 years old and that was the worse day of my life. The look of sadness on everyone's face was heartbreaking and it was raining that day so it looked like the strawberries were crying too. Every time I go back to Puerto Rico I visit my grandparents and the strawberries and it brings back so many of those small memories that I remember. But because of recent events, like the hurricanes and earthquakes, my grandparents farm is no longer in existence. It breaks my heart knowing that my siblings will never be able to experience what I did as a child. I think I appreciate strawberries and crops more because of my grandparents. Now every time I see or smell strawberries it make me think of home and wonderful memories.