Our Bounty- Blue Stone Press
by Susan Krawitz
Rural geography can provide sustenance for the body as well as beauty for the eye.
Holly Shelowitz wants you to eat your landscape.
She’s a certified nutritional counselor who’s passionate about connecting people to food sources, and she’s planning to bring her talents to the Rondout Valley in an upcoming series of RVGA sponsored cooking classes.
Though food and nutrition have been of lifelong importance to her, they haven’t always been her career. A Long Island native, she spent seventeen years in New York City working as a commercial photographer, but she was always interested in health and healing and how the two fit together. “At one point,” said Shelowitz, “ I wanted to increase my knowledge of my own nutrition, so I went to school to study it, with no intention of changing my career. But very soon into the curriculum, it became apparent that this was my life’s work.”
The school was The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Utilizing seasonally available food was a big emphasis there, and so was teaching clients how to best prepare it. “I think the thing that was so fantastic about school was the fact that it taught me how to integrate cooking classes into nutritional counseling,” Shelowitz said. “It’s one thing to talk about food and health and then hand out a recipe, and another to get together and prepare it in a group.”
Shortly after becoming a certified nutritionist, she realized another major change was needed. “I was always really drawn here, to the upstate area– I felt like I was suffering in the city. I went to the Union Square farmer’s market every time it was held, and I’d walk through the market and wonder, how would it be? How would I get here?”
A permanent move came six years ago after several years of back and forth. She’s currently a Rosendale resident, with an office is in the brand new Stone Ridge Healing Arts building on Route 209. She offers individual nutritional counseling, leads groups, teaches classes and provides workplace nutrition programs for corporations like UPS and the Eileen Fisher clothing company. People seek her out for a variety of different reasons, Shelowitz said; “from women’s health and reproductive issues , digestive problems, weight loss issues, people who don’t feel well and want to learn to eat better, people with cravings, like sweets and carbs.”
Hers is a food-focused nutrition based practice, with major emphasis on “superfoods,” not supplements. The supplements she does recommend are ”nutrient based, like cod liver oil, and fermented foods, like kefir and yogurt.”
Emphasizing fresh, available food is another main focus. “As a culture, we’ve lost touch with the sacred aspect of growing our own food. Eating with the seasons is so much more than eating; it actually creates a spiritual connection with food and the people who grow it. Biting into a crunchy cucumber in January isn’t as good as it is in August—eating a steaming bowl of oatmeal in August isn’t as soul satisfying as it is in January.”
Her upcoming series of cooking classes will incorporate foods from the autumnal harvest. The classes will be held in the kitchen of The Depuy Canal House Restaurant in High Falls, which is owned by chef and RVGA board member John Novi. They’ll be held on November 2nd, 9th, and 16th, from 6 to 9 pm.
All recipes will be suitable for preparation with meat or with vegan, and vegetarian options, and all ingredients will be provided by RVGA growers. The price for each class will be $65, or $180 for all three. Each participant will receive a printed set of recipes and a full dinner featuring the fruits of the group’s culinary labor. Class size is limited to fifteen, so early registration is encouraged.
Shelowitz plans to offer a spring series of cooking classes as well, to make use of early season produce. Another plan for a future workshop is a class that will start by visiting a farm to select the fresh produce they’ll prepare. “I encourage people to have a relationship with the people who grow their food,” Shelowitz said. “ It effects us in a very holistic way. Cooking more of our food creates community, strengthens family, creates health and wellness. It’s pleasurable, creative fun.”