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This oil-free, creamy Italian dressing uses pantry staples and is sure to spruce up any salad situation. (Photo credit: Doug Young)

To be able to plant vegetables in our yards, stroll through bountiful farm stands or pick up a weekly CSA box of freshly harvested greens is a luxury many of us on the East End may take for granted. Communities outside our fertile and abundant landscape also deserve to grow their own food — right where they live.

Artist and Project EATS founder Linda Goode Bryant, center, will be on hand for a fundraiser and discussion at East Hampton’s LongHouse Reserve this Saturday. (Photo credit: Ari Marcopoulos)

Visionary artist Linda Goode Bryant, founder of Project EATS and the legendary JAM gallery, saw an opportunity to help residents grow produce on vacant plots of land instead of labeling them as “food deserts.” Project EATS living installations transform vacant rooftops and lots into food-supporting farm stands, pantries, and art programs that offer prepared food and support neighborhood communities. In partnership with residents of marginalized neighborhoods, non-profits and landlords use urban agriculture and social enterprise to produce and deliver fresh plant-based foods. The food grown on plots throughout Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the Bronx often comes from people in the communities who will benefit.

Want to learn more about this feel-good-plant-driven non-profit? You’re in luck.

This Saturday, June 22, at LongHouse Reserve in East Hampton, a fundraiser event and discussion will occur between Bryant and Thelma Gold, the director and chief curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem.

Another benefit of growing your own vegetables is enjoying the fruits of your labor throughout the season. For those of us with the time restraints of maintaining (and weeding) planted plots, joining a CSA is a better bet. Quail Hill Farm in Amagansett offers CSA members the opportunity to ‘pick their own,’ which can satisfy the farmer in you and help support our local community.

Cermaic bowls by Forme. (Photo credit: Doug Young)

Mid-June is the perfect time to harvest salad greens, with many farm stands offering interesting and flavorful combinations bagged for grab-and-go. A jaunt over to KK’S The Farm in Southold, you can find their ‘Spicy Mix’ of freshly picked arugula, scarlet and golden mustard greens, and  red Russian and Toscana kale — not your typical supermarket blend.

When dressing these flavorful and healthy leaves, it’s best not to overwhelm them, keeping it light with some Mediterranean flare. This recipe from the Project Eats Whole Cities Foundation website hits those notes with a healthy twist on a creamy Italian dressing. Blended with cannellini beans and seasonings, this oil-free dressing mellows the spiciness of the bitter greens while adding a zing of flavor.

A quick restaurant prep tip will make the salad even better: Wash and spin your greens in a salad spinner, cover with a damp paper towel, and place in the refrigerator for at least one hour before serving. Add your chilled dressing to your salad bowl first, then add your greens with a pinch of salt, toss, and plate into your favorite bowls—a great starter or meal with grilled chicken or heaped on top of your favorite flatbread.

Feeling good never felt or tasted so great!

Project EATS’ creamy Italian dressing

Cook Time 10 minutes
Serves 4 to 6 people


  • 1 15 oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 cup low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt


  • Combine all ingredients in a food processor until well-blended.
  • Adjust seasoning to taste and refrigerate for up to a week.
  • Toss with your favorite mixed greens and enjoy!