Steffen Schneider has over three decades of experience as a biodynamic farmer and herdsman. Currently he is the Director of Farming Operations at Hawthorne Valley Farm.  He holds a masters degree in agriculture from the Justus Von Liebig University in Giessen, Germany.  

Steffen was part of the team that brought the farm back to economic solvency and success in the early 90’s. He has served in senior leadership capacity for the past 20 years, allowing Hawthorne Valley to experience tremendous growth and diversification of its farming operations including a more recent major infrastructure upgrade of its farmstead.

Since 2007 he has been on the Board of Directors of the Biodynamic Association of North America. Currently he serves as President; he has also served as Treasurer and Vice-President.  Steffen has keynoted national and international biodynamic conferences in the US, Switzerland and New Zealand. Additionally he has conducted workshops at organic and biodynamic conferences in the US, China, Switzerland, and New Zealand.  He is a member of the faculty at the Hawthorne Valley Farm Learning Center and serves as adjunct faculty at the Pfeiffer Center in Spring Valley, NY. 


Rachel Schneider is Director of the Hawthorne Valley Farm Place Based Learning Center which focuses on farm based educational programming for children and families and professional training in the vocation of agriculture. Rachel holds a masters degree in Waldorf education.

As part of her work at the Learning Center, Rachel brought the Farm Beginnings whole farm planning program to the Hudson Valley from its original home with the Land Stewardship Project in Minnesota, organized a yearly Biodynamic Winter Intensive training at Hawthorne Valley and developed and initiated the “Kids Can Cook” summer camp, specifically targeted to underserved children in the Hudson community. Her most recent projects include creating curriculum for the “Real Food Business Planning” course and working with the Bard Prison Initiative to bring a lecture series on the “Emerging Real Food Economy” to inmates at the Woodbourne Correctional Facility in Sullivan County NY.

Rachel has been part of management at Hawthorne Valley Farm for the past 20 years. Prior to her current role, she held the position of market gardener and CSA coordinator for Hawthorne Valley Farm. During this time she was able to develop the CSA program and participated in founding the farm apprentice enrichment program called CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training) both of which began in 1994. 



Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Vegan and G.F.


Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

4 large Portobello mushrooms, stems removed and saved 

1 onion, diced

1 long Japanese eggplant, diced

2 t. minced garlic

½ cup diced Swiss Chard stems

¼ cup chopped sage leaves

2 cups chopped greens (I used Swiss Chard and Kale)

¾ cup diced assorted peppers

Olive oil

¼ t. Salt and 1/8 t. pepper

½ cup White Wine

2 Tbs. Tamari

½ t. dried tarragon

¾ cup chopped walnuts

2 Tbs. parsley, plus more for garnish


Optional- Either Cheddar or Gruyere Cheese for top


  1. Wipe the mushrooms with a damp cloth. Scoop out the dark underside of the mushroom. Chop the stems and set the tops aside. 
  2. In a heavy skillet, sauté the onions in a little olive oil for 5 minutes, until translucent. 
  3. Add the garlic, mushroom stems and eggplant and sauté for 5 more minutes, then add the chard stems and cook another 5 minutes.
  4. Push the vegetables to the outer rim of the skillet, and add a little more olive oil in the middle. Then add the sage leaves to the oil, and let them brown for a few minutes. Add the peppers, and continue cooking until soft. 
  5. Add the 2 cups of greens, the white wine, the tamari, the tarragon and the salt and pepper. 
  6. Add the chopped walnuts and parsley. Taste, and add more tamari if desired.
  7. Stuff the mushrooms with vegetable mixture. Bake covered for 20-25 minutes, until the mushroom is thoroughly cooked and soft. 
  8. Optional- If choosing to use cheese, add grated cheese to the top and cook for another 5 minutes until melted.
  9. Remove mushrooms from oven and serve on a platter, garnished with more fresh parsley.