SOMERS, N.Y. – Elizabeth Taggart, owner of Amba Farms, with locations in Somers, Bedford Hills and North Salem, moved to Westchester from New York City just eight years ago, but “I’ve always grown things wherever I was,” she says.
Taggart grew up on a commercial farm in Maple Heights, Ohio, where her extended Slovenian family “lived here as they lived there,” she said.
“Uncle Joe had chickens and beehives and grew grapes and made wine. Uncle Ludwig specialized in orchards and sold some of his seed varieties to Burpee’s. And Grandpa Frank did a lot of produce. I spent my days with him and developed my love of gardening and growing there.”
Starting with a few acres and some trees on her own property, Taggart expanded her growing potential through the Westchester Land Trust, which matches farmers with landowners who have fertile soil. These days she has 11 acres at a horse farm on Baxter Road, six acres leased from Amato Farms in Somers and her own property in Bedford Hills. Collectively, her enterprise is known as Amba Farms.
It is family-operated and exclusively organic, and produces a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, berries and herbs. “We want to provide nutrient-dense organic food,” Taggart said. The name, Amba, is a Sanskrit word meaning “universal mother.”
Taggart’s attitude toward the Earth ties in with her interest in eastern philosophy and meditation. In fact, when she is not planning, filling orders, overseeing farmworkers and personally staffing her farm stand, she teaches Transcendental Meditation in Bedford Hills. If her produce tastes extra special, it is because the fields and orchards are treated to Vedic chants, as well as sunshine, water and organic nutrients.
Amba Farms supplies many local restaurants ranging from small eateries to the most prestigious. The produce is also available at Katonah’s John Jay Homestead Farmers Market on Saturdays and at Somers’ Amato Farms, Route 100 near King Kone, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3 to 7 p.m.
Profits from sales are donated to peace-creating groups around the world: The Maharishi Purusha Program, Mother Divine and Transcendental Vedic Pundits.