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Montgomery County Farm Tour was Great!

August 4, 2012 Green Blog No Comments

Naomi Bloch

 

 

  • Montgomery County Farm Tour Montgomery County Farm Tour Brickyard Educational Farm sign painted by the kids that are learning about farming and planting.
  • Montgomery County Farm Tour Montgomery County Farm Tour Brickyard Educational Farm. Sophia Maravell stops to show group the drums used to hold the non-GMO and heirloom seeds.
  • Montgomery County Farm Tour Montgomery County Farm Tour Calleva Farm. Ben the chef. Buying some of their fresh farm produce with bus tour bus in background.
  • Montgomery County Farm Tour Montgomery County Farm Tour Rocklands Farm founder and farmer, Greg, taking a grill order.
  • Montgomery County Farm Tour Montgomery County Farm Tour Button Farm Living History Farm
  • Montgomery County Farm Tour Montgomery County Farm Tour Button Farm. Tony Cohen talks about and demonstrates slave collar devised to prevent runaways.
  • Montgomery County Farm Tour Montgomery County Farm Tour Button Farm. This is very heavy!

 

 

August 4, 2012

Potomac, Md

By: Naomi Bloch

I am here to report back on Montgomery County’s Farm Tour weekend.  It was a wonderful experience and was made even more so by the camp-style bus ride organized by Bethesda Green.

We first stopped by the Brickyard Educational Farm on Brickyard Road in Potomac.   Farmer Sophia Maravell explained to us how she and other young farmers have been teaching children in the area about growing food and raising chickens on the farm this summer.

Some of you may have heard about this controversial farm, also know as Nick’s Organic Farm.  For the last fifteen months I and hundreds of other concerned citizens have been fighting to save this unique treasure for the benefit of all students in Montgomery County.

The farm sits on  taxpayer supported Montgomery County School Board land.  In my opinion, and I am far from alone in this thinking, this land should first and foremost be kept and used for outdoor educational programs.  At least three separate pieces of legislation have been passed in Annapolis, Md requiring this sort of outdoor educational experience.  Yet sadly, this land is on the verge of being turned over to a private soccer organization to establish two, four pay-to-play, elite soccer fields.

And Montgomery County citizens were left completely out of the decision that farm land be turned over to the soccer organization.

This will remain a controversial issue and one that certainly will not get settled in a blog post.  I promise to re-visit this topic and update you all on the fate of the Brickyard Educational Farm in future posts.

For now, I simply want to express my deep appreciation to Bethesda Green for including this very special farm in their tour route last Saturday.  Bethesda Green included two farms that were not listed on the official Montgomery County Farm Tour weekend maps.

The other farm  was Calleva.  When we arrived at Calleva we were treated to pumpkin raviolis and fresh, still warm bread made for us by Ben, the resident chef and person in charge of the garden and the “Dirty Dinners” that Calleva hosts three times a year.  Check out the link above for more details on Calleva and all the various programs they offer.  After we all enjoyed our this locally sourced and prepared snack, Ben took us on a tour of the garden and showed us the chickens, pigs, cows, and even a donkey.  I look forward to returning to Calleva to experience it in different seasons throughout the year.   They even host a very scary haunted forest that is not for the faint of heart.  This is precisely why I will be skipping this particular offering.  But, if you have, or are a teenager, or older and are into being scared, then I hear it is a must-experience activity to celebrate Halloween.

Our next stop was The Rocklands Farm.  We had the chance to partake of some of the food they produce right on the property.  I enjoyed a juicy grass-fed beef burger.  There was a vegetarian offering as well as an Italian sausage option.  Check out Rocklands link to learn more about all that they do and offer and when you can stop by to enjoy an afternoon on this very pleasant farm.

Final stop of the day was at The Button Living History Farm where we were greeted by Tony Cohen.  Tony is a historian and founder of The Menare Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization that runs this farm and is dedicated to the preservation of Underground Railroad history .  Through assistance and training, Menare works with individuals and organizations to preserve the Underground Railroad legacy using history as a resource for community revitalization, race dialogue, and cultural growth.

Tony told us about plans for developing this farm into an 1850’s living history experience.  We were shown the working vegetable garden where they are growing and preserving seeds from the earliest days of this country.  They also produce “heritage” animal species, the latest additions being the “Cotton Geese”.   Tony explained that the geese were used by plantation owners to weed between the rows of cotton, especially after they could no longer use slave labor.

Tony then sat us all down in the outdoor pavilion and gave a captivating history lesson.  He told us about and demonstrated a device that slave owners used to prevent slaves from escaping.

In the photosyou can see this device and the young woman who offered to be the stand-in slave in order for Tony (with two other assistants) to show us all how this device would have been screwed around the neck of a slave.  This “collar” weighs about twenty pounds and with its barbed hooks at each point would have made escaping a virtual impossibility.

Tony has retraced the Underground Railroad path from Georgia to the Canadian border.  He thought of doing so part of the way while wearing this device, as some slaves still attempted escape even while locked into such a device.  Tony decided against it when because he could easily break his neck with the device on.

To say that this was a sad and sobering lesson would have been an understatement.  Tony explained that there had been other more tortuous devices created in attempts to prevent slaves from escaping.

My thoughts turned to all the historic films and mini-series I have seen in my life and museums I have visited where I can’t recall ever seeing or hearing about these barbaric and inhumane devices.  While this is still a painful shared history in our country, I urge you all to make a visit to The Button Farm and learn more about The Underground Railroad and 1850’s farming from a true expert.

The tour left us with a lot to think about.

On Sunday, my daughter, Andrea and I were determined to get some farm fresh, just-picked peaches.  This hunt took us to Heyser Farms, Inc., 14526 New Hampshire Ave., Silver Spring. Our mission was fully accomplished and then some when we left with not only white and yellow peaches, but jars of pickled asparagus, vanilla peaches, tomatoes, and various other farm fresh goodies.   It is peach season now, so if you and your family love peaches like I do, then I urge you to head over to Heyser Farm and stock up before it’s too late.

Happy exploring and eating over the remaining days of summer.

 

 

 

 

Pay for Local Tomatoes by Honor System in Harrisburg, Nc

August 1, 2012 Green Blog No Comments

 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Harisburg, Nc

By: Alex Stavitsky-Zeineddin

The back roads around Harrisburg, Nc still have working farms and a few surprises.  Just down the road from University of North Carolina’s Charlotte’s campus is Patterson’s Nursery.  Down the driveway and on the porch of an old brick colonial home sit the tomatoes that are sold per pound on the honor system.  The system works like this: bring some change, weigh the tomatoes, then put the change that you owe in the box on the table.  According to my mother, the old farmer says people always pay and do not take the money on the table!

  • Pay for Tomatoes by Honor System Honor system tomatoes sold at local nursery stand in Harrisburg, Nc Pay for Tomatoes by Honor System
  • Pay for Tomatoes by Honor System Pay for Tomatoes by Honor System Tomato sign showing the way to tomatoes displayed on a porch.
  • Pay For Tomatoes by Honor System Checking out the tomatoes and how to weigh them. Pay For Tomatoes by Honor System
  • Pay for Tomatoes by Honor System Weigh your tomatoes, sign in and tally tomato weight, then pay per pound. Leave your dollars on the table. Pay for Tomatoes by Honor System
  • Pay for Tomatoes by Honor System Pay for Tomatoes by Honor System 3lbs of fresh, locally grown tomatoes!
     

Take a Tour of Montgomery County’s Local Farms

July 25, 2012 Green Blog No Comments

Naomi Bloch

 

 

 

 

 

Potomac, Md

July 25th, 2012

By: Naomi Bloch

Mark your calendars for this weekend’s Montgomery County farm tour, July 28th and July 29th.

Many people who live in Montgomery County are not aware of  how central farming is to Montgomery County’s past and present, or that we even have an Agricultural Reserve.

This annual “open house” weekend is a really terrific time to go visit and experience for yourself some of the history and natural beauty we are so fortunate to have so close to home.

The MC Farm Tour link will give you lots of information about the many options you and your family have for  spending a day in county right here in our own “backyard”.

This Heritage Montgomery link below includes is a short series of videos about various driving tours you and your family can take of the Agricultural Reserve any time of the year.  So, even if you are not able to take part in the Farm Tour weekend you can refer back to this whenever you are trying to think of a good way to spend your weekend.   http://heritagemontgomery.org/montgomery-county/montgomery-county’s-agricultural-reserve-driving-tour

  I will be meeting outside the offices of  Bethesda Green  early this Saturday morning to join other folks on a bus tour of some of the great farms in the county.  It reminds me of school field trips or summer camp.   It is a really fun way to get to enjoy the day while also getting to hang out with like-minded people.

I love that Bethesda Green has planned this outing.   I  encourage you to check Bethesda Green’s link below so that you can get on the bus and join in the fun. http://www.bethesdagreen.org/Calendar/tabid/178/ctl/Details/Mid/850/ItemID/356/Default.aspx?selecteddate=7/28/2012

Following are links/information about the four farms we will be visiting on Saturday:

  Brickyard Educational Farm‘s mission is connect Montgomery County’s children with the land, food and water that sustain them.

  Caleva means “where the paths cross.”  Their mission is to get people of all ages outdoors, providing an educational and challenging environment that promotes personal growth, group cooperation and leadership skill through outdoor activities. For nearly 20 years, Calleva has built a reputation for excellence and innovation in outdoor education and outdoor adventure programming.

  Rocklands Farm is located on a historical property in Montgomery County, Md, thirty miles from Washington D.C..   It is one of the first farms within Montgomery County’s Agriculture Reserve, adjacent to Seneca Creek State Park and the Potomac River.  It is conveniently located just off River Road, a main road from the metropolitan area used by destination seekers of open space and scenic farmland.

  The Button Farm Living History Center is set on 60-pristine acres inside Seneca Creek State Park, and is Maryland’s only living history center depicting 19th century slave plantation life.  The site features a Civil War-era Barn, historic outbuildings, livestock pens, a museum garden, and a slave cemetery.  It is home to The Underground Railroad Immersion Experience, a dramatic re-enactment of the journey from slavery to freedom.

Whether you decide to sign up for the Bethesda Green bus tour, or go on your own, I hope that you are able to spend at least part of this coming weekend exploring the many joys that await you.

If you do go, I would LOVE to hear about your experiences!

 

 

 

 

 

As I See It- Greener Clothing

July 18, 2012 Green Blog No Comments

 

Naomi Bloch


 

 

 

 

July 17, 2012

Potomac, Md

If you haven’t already heard about Green America (formerly Co-Op America), then I urge you to check them out.  I think you will see what a fantastic resource they are for serious green/sustainability news and actions.

Green America is a treasure trove of information about better ways to green up your buying habits, including an annual “Green Pages”, a phonebook-style national directory of deeply vetted businesses and services.  They are one of the most serious groups fighting for legislative solutions  in the halls of the U.S. Congress.

So often we hear how horrible this-or-that company is.  That dire message isn’t followed by a suggestion or two of the better, greener, and more sustainable option/company out there with an alternative, similar product.  Green America helps you with this “part two” that is so often lacking.

This month’s issue (July/August 2012) of the membership magazine focuses on Green Fashion. I got me thinking about thrifts shops.  While this article points out how clothing is produced and brought to market, they helpfully break it down into a “good”, “better”, and “best” rating.   Can you guess what the “best” option is?

Second-hand clothing!  Things do not have to be thrown out or made from scratch and travel the globe and back again. What could be greener, when you think about it?  Not to mention the fun of an amazing “find” at far less cost than if you went straight into a first-run retail shop or department store.

Thrift shops are usually locally owned, which means that there is likely to be someone there to ask questions of and interact with,  unlike many department store shopping experiences these days.  You will also be helping the local economy and, in many cases, a local non-profit all at the same time.  That is what I call a win/win/win!
My youngest daughter, Candice,  got into thrift store shopping when she was in college.   Recently, she insisted that we go shopping around here in Montgomery County.   I was somewhat hesitant, but really enjoyed it. To this day I get compliments on my best find; a woven purse that I picked up for $5.00!

Naomi’s new purse

I bought three pairs of jeans an an outing to another thrift shop.  I love them all.  I don’t think I spent more than $8.00 for any of them, including the grey DKNY pair that I adore.

Naomi’s DKNY jeans

I hope that my musings have gotten you excited about checking out some of our local thrift shops options for yourself. And even better, that you find some real gems, like I have, that will convince you to make a habit of checking out the thrift stores first.

I have provided several links on a wide range of shops below (something for everyone) that I hope will only be the beginning of your own adventure.

Lipstick Lounge, Gaithersburg, Md  (Kentlands)

Mustard Seed Shop, Bethesda, Md

Green Jeans, Gaithersburg, Md (Kentlands) for kids 0-12

The Growing Years, Kensington, Md for kids

Unique Thrift Stores various locations (where I bought my DKNY jeans)

The Roost  Gaithersburg, Md (low cost women’s clothing)

Graceful Transitions  (list of charitable shops)

Finally, check out the link below for creative and easy ways to revamp clothing items.  Being a child of the 60’s, this link brought back many memories!

Use for your old clothes (repairing and revamping clothes, etc.)

I would really love to hear about your amazing finds!

ENJOY!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is Your Family Prepared?

July 9, 2012 Green Blog No Comments

 

Naomi Bloch

 

 

 

 

 

July 9, 2011

Potomac, Md

By: Naomi Bloch

First of all, I sincerely hope that you and your family came through the recent storm with minimal inconvenience.  If you, your friends, family and neighbors didn’t, I hope you have already begun to think about the critical importance of having a family emergency plan in place, even those of you that did not lose power.

Speaking for myself, and this may also be true for many of you, we still have not made a plan, though we have talked about it for quite sometime now.  Losing our power for 48 hours only brought this lack of an actual emergency plan front and center for me.

What really made me think that this cannot be overlooked any longer was that our oldest daughter’s townhouse, in Silver Spring, had a very large tree branch fall on her roof, which created a concussion impact that brought down the ceiling in her bedroom.

The room currently looks like a “mini-9/11”.  Everything is covered in a gray dust that is God-knows-what.  Fortunately, we have a spare bedroom  so she and her two kitties are able to bunk with us until all of this can be fully sorted out.  An advantage that many others might not have.

As a mother, I have to say that when a child of yours comes this close to genuine disaster it is a motivator like none other.  When you are forced to face the reality of  “what if”,  you can no longer put off having an emergency plan in place.

This is especially relevant since nowadays because we have to agree that these “weather events” (A.K.A. – Climate Change) are only going to become more frequent and more debilitating in the years ahead.  Seeing first hand that the various emergency response teams will be clearly overwhelmed means that you and yours will be on your own for what could be several days before any outside help arrives.

In these past few days, since our power came back, I have been searching the  local, state, and federal government websites for just exactly what should go into a solid emergency plan.

I also have been thinking that this sort of project might actually get done easier if there are family, friends and/or neighbors you could team up with and make this a team effort!  We all have hectic lives and my concern is that all of us have the natural tendency to forget the seriousness of following through regarding a plan as our lives quickly return to normal.

I found a few good websites that I wanted to share with all of  you as we each ferret out the various elements for assembling our own personal emergency kits.

http://www.redcrossstore.org/shopper/prodlist.aspx?LocationId=107&gclid=CJ60haXhhbECFYFo4Aod0CshKQ

http://www6.montgomerycountymd.gov/content/frs-safe/resources/index.asp

http://www.ready.gov/are-you-ready-guide/

https://www.facebook.com/FEMA

http://www.emd.wa.gov/about/documents/Business_ShelterInPlaceAtYourOffice.pdf

I would really love to hear what you and your family, your schools and places of employment are doing, or have already done to be prepared.

Let us help each other to better be able to help our own families and community members the next time some unforeseen disaster strikes.

Let the planning begin!

 

 

 

It’s Happening!

June 28, 2012 Green Blog 3 Comments

Naomi Bloch


 

 

 

 

June 28, 2012

Potomac, Md

I have to say that I am really becoming excited by the growth of green and sustainability-related happenings going on in Montgomery County and beyond.

Looking at just the last couple of weeks on my personal schedule, there have been many, and varied,  green-related engagements that I want to share with you.  So often, when one cares deeply about the environment and our collective future, it can seem like there isn’t that much happening on the solutions front.

Trust me, I have had those days myself.

I have been a “greenie” in my heart and soul since growing up back in the 60’s in San Francisco when I was writing term papers in high school about pollution issues and solutions.

When I moved to Maryland in 1989, I was dismayed by the lack of any apparent concern for these issues.  I had to look very hard to find a place where I could drop off the plastic milk cartons for recycling. I managed to find a place, thank goodness, even though the county’s recycling program was years away.

Back to here and now, the various events and activities I attended over the past few weeks makes me hopeful and happy to know that the environmental movement is gaining momentum.   I know that there are also so many more events happening in the DC metro area that I am not even aware of.   I hope readers will share with me what you are seeing and participating in.

On June 7th I attended the Bethesda Greens first Thursday of the month Happy Hour where 96 people crowed into a back room at Food, Wine & Company in Bethesda to learn about the new Farm to Freezer program from Sue Kirk, the director of   Bethesda Cares and Cheryl Kollin, principal of Full Plate Ventures.

Cheryl Kollin had approached Sue Kirk with the idea of freezing all the wonderful farm fresh bounty that the growing season brings so that the meals Bethesda Cares serves to it’s homeless clients could include wholesome produce through out the year instead of it ending up in a landfill.

Some of you may have even read the Washington Post article in last Thursday’s Food section mentioning that over 40% of food in this country, from farms, stores, restaurants and households is throw out in the trash!

So, this farm to freezer program is a real win/win solution to a local problem.  If you’d like to learn more and even volunteer to help (a good learning experience, too!) to help with the preparation of the fresh food for freezing, check out these links above.

On June 9th,  I tabled for Amicus Green Building Center at the Bethesda Green’s third annual “Solar & Green Home Expo” and it was the largest gathering of vendors yet.  The goal of this event was to provide homeowners and other interested parties an opportunity to get the latest information about area services and incentives to green their homes.

It is always so wonderful to see new vendors at these types of events because it means that more and more companies are being set up to work on some aspect or another of the new green economy.For more information about sustainable products and future Bethesda Green events, just follow the links below:

The following weekend, on June 16th, I again tabled for Amicus Green Building Center, but this time in NE, Washington, DC at the “Solar Flare” event, which was co-hosted by a division of DC Sun and the Ward 7 Solar Co-op.  This was a very well attended event.   It was clear to me that the elected leaders and residents living in DC’s lower-income neighborhoods are extremely interested in and up on all things green.

 https://sites.google.com/site/dcsolarunitedneighborhoods/

When it comes to becoming more sustainable, it really makes sense to be aware of what our neighbors are doing and the creative approaches they are employing to help make going solar, going green and saving energy much more accessible to more and more people every year.

On June 19th I attended the Green Wheaton Gala at Brookside Gardens in celebration of their first anniversary.  If you, or anyone you know lives in the Wheaton area, you/they should check out their website to learn more about what they’re working on toward making Wheaton a more green and sustainable community.

On Wednesday, June 20th I attended the third public meeting of the Montgomery County Food Council 

On Thursday evening, June 21st, I headed downtown to mix and mingle at the Green America Happy Hour where we enjoyed locally produced food and then listened to four speakers who are on the front lines of creating a vibrant local food economy:

1. Jim Epstein, founder & chairman of  Blue Ridge Produce — Blue Ridge Produce is an aggregator of Virginia-grown fruits and vegetables for sale to wholesale buyers in the Washington, DC region.

2. Margarita Morgan-Hubbard, CEO of Eco-City Farms Located in Edmonston, Maryland, Eco-City Farms harnesses solar and geothermal power for growing vegetables, raising chickens for eggs, and keeping  bees. From August through December they harvested more than 600 pounds of local produce.

3. Ted Rouse, co-founder of  Big City Farms — Big City Farms in Baltimore grows and harvests fresh organic vegetables, supplying restaurants, grocery stores, farmers markets, and local distributors, all while turning deteriorating urban land into job-centers and profitable green spaces.

4. Andy Shallal, founder of  Busboys and Poets — With four locations in the Washington Metro area, Busboys and Poets is more than a restaurant, serving as a community resource for performers, activists, writers, and local nonprofit organizations, and supporting local farms and local clean energy.

Hearing from all of these speakers and how they are each creating and promoting different aspects of  a regional and local food system was so inspiring and very hopeful.

It is happening, friends!  We are, collectively moving ever closer to the “tipping point” when all of these various efforts toward healthier, more sustainable communities and economy will only become stronger and more a part of our collective every day.

Together we will make the changes necessary to a more sustainable tomorrow.

 

 

As I See It- Heritage Days

June 16, 2012 Green Blog No Comments

Naomi Bloch

 

 

 

 

 

July 16, 2012

Potomac, Md

My family and I have lived in Montgomery County for nearly 23 years.  It wasn’t until I worked at the Montgomery County Council that I began to learn about all the amazing things going on in this county!

Because I too, at one point, did not know about all that we have to enjoy here in Montgomery County, I’m guessing that some of you may also not be aware of these wonderful local options.  In this week’s blog I want to tell you about one of these exciting events.

Heritage Days is in its 15th year next weekend, Saturday, June 23rd and Sunday, June 24th.  I want to tell you a bit about it so that you might partake in some of the happenings this year.  Even if you are not able to this time around, at least I’ve put it on your radar for next year.

This is a FREE, two-day countywide festival and is the signature event of the Heritage Tourism Alliance of Montgomery County. The festival was created to bring the County’s natural beauty, cultural diversity, and history to the attention of residents and visitors alike.

To get started, Montgomery County has five distinct areas: Bethesda/Glen Echo/Silver Spring, Gaithersburg/Rockville, Brookville/Olney/Sandy Spring, Germantown/Boyds/Damascus/Clarksburg and last, but not least, C&O Canal/Western Montgomery County/Poolesville.

I will touch on just a sampling of a few of the offerings in each of these five regions of the county and if these peak your interest, then you can get more details about these and other events that might be of more interest to you and your family at: www.HeritageMontgomery.org

If you love carousels, live music, arts & crafts, then you will want to check out the fun taking place at Glen Echo Park, 7300 MacArthur Blvd, Glen Echo: www.GlenEchoPark.org.  The festivities begin at 1:00 p.m. and take place on both Saturday June 23rd and Sunday, June 24th.

Right next door to Glen Echo Park is the Clara Barton House, home of the “Angel of the Battlefield” and founder of the American Red Cross.  Check out: www.NPS.gov/clba for further details.

Moving on to the Rockville/Gaithersburg area, probably the best place to visit for a good overview of the county’s Civil War history would be a stop by the Beall-Dawson House and Stonestreet Museum of 19th Century Medicine.  Check out: www.MontgomeryHistory.org for more details.

You can also easily take in the Redbrick Courthouse, 29 Courthouse Square, Rockville, as it is very close to the Beall-Dawson House.  There will be tours of this designated historic building on Saturday, June 23rd only at 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., and 3:30 p.m.. www.PeerlessRockville.org

Moving over to the Brookville/Olney/Sandy Spring portion of the county, you will want to check out the Oakley Cabin African American Museum & Park, located at 3610 Brookville Road, Olney.  Bring the family and enjoy guided tours, demonstrations of 19th century crafts and live music by Music on the Rise throughout the day. (Saturday only)  www.HistoryintheParks.org

Then, in Sandy Spring at 16501 Norwood Road, you can join “conductors” on guided hikes on a simulated Underground Railroad trail.  This is two-mile trail that winds through fields, woods and across streams to historic Sandy Springs.  Along the way you will learn of true stories of freedom seekers and how they eluded pursuers.  The 90-minute hikes begin at 9:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m., and are appropriate for ages eight and up.  Saturday only.  www.HistoryintheParks.org

If it is closer for you to visit the Germantown/Boyds/Clarksburg/Damascus part of the county, then you and the kids might really enjoy the King Barn Dairy Mooseum, located at 18028 Central Park Circle, Boyds.  Here, family activities include: milking a model cow, visiting with live animals, enjoying a puppet show as well as arts and crafts!  www.Mooseum.com  (Saturday & Sunday)

Also in this sector of the county is the Hyattstown Mill Arts Project, located at 14920 Hyattstown Mill Road, Hyattstown.  Here on both Saturday and Sunday you can view the multi-media art exhibition titled “Invasive” presenting imaginative interpretations of the environmental concerns of invasive species.  Enjoy live music on both days featuring “Shortbread”, “The Trio” and others.  And on Saturday night from 7:30 p.m. to midnight will be the Saturday Night Song Circle!  www.HyattstownMill.org

Finally, in the C&O Canal/Western Montgomery County/Poolesville portion of the county, you might want to cross the Potomac from Whites Ferry (24801 Whites Ferry Road, Poolesville) where J.E.B Stuart’s cavalry crossed in the Civil War.  This ferry crossing is for people (no vehicles) and departs every 20 minutes.  This free activity can be enjoyed both on Saturday and Sunday.

To wind up the day in a relaxed way, head over to the Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard where you can enjoy samples (for a small fee) of these award-winning wines from Montgomery County’s only vineyard/winery.  Take a tour of the fermentation and barrel rooms, (especially nice on a hot day!) and hear all about how this wonderful wine is made.   For more details: www.SMVWinery.com

Well, I have only given you a very small sampling of the many, many free activities taking place all over Montgomery County NEXT weekend in celebration of the 15th Annual Heritage Days Festival.

I do hope that you will be able to take in at least one or two of these wonderful good-for-the-whole-family festival offerings… Again, if not this year, then next year.

Please also consider going to www.HeritageMontgomery.org to learn about the other wonderful projects to bring history alive all year round for the residents of Montgomery County.

Happy Trails!

 

 

As I See It- Farmers Markets

June 8, 2012 Green Blog 2 Comments

Naomi Bloch

 

 

 

 

 

June 8, 2011

Potomac, md

This past weekend, my husband Byron, a neighbor, and I, all attended the opening day of the newest Central Farm Market, located on Rockville Pike between Old Georgetown and Montrose Roads.

We missed the official ribbon-cutting festivities because, quite frankly, we are not “morning people” and the opening celebration was at 8:30am!   The fact that early morning hours are normal for farmers is just one of the many reason I admire them so much.  How do they do it?

I love how there is someone for every type of job in this world and really appreciate that farmers do what they do so the rest of us can eat.  Without farmers what would life be?  Which actually brings to mind that the average age of farmers in the U.S. today is now 60 and the need for attracting young farmers is growing… no pun intended.

Here are some links so you can learn more about this essential issue:

http://www.goodfoodworld.com/2011/11/where-have-all-the-farmers-gone/

http://www.mocoalliance.org

http://www.brickyardeducationalfarm.org

So anyway, we non-farmers arrived at the Pike Central Farm Market closer to 11:00 am… a normal time for us to venture out on our typical weekend.  When we pulled into the parking lot, the place was humming.  And what a fun time we had.

The market is situated where the old Silver Diner used to be.  There is a nice grass area there now which is surrounded on all sides by tents with farmers and artisan food producers displaying their bounty.

There was live music playing (nice touch… always!) and a few places to even buy ready-made food that you could enjoy at a table in the sitting area as you watched all the people walking by with their children and dogs in tow.

Farmers Markets are increasing in number every year all across the country and our area is no exception.  I believe that this is in part due to the deep, almost instinctual need we have to be around other people.  We are social beings after all,  and meandering amongst other people in search of fresh food brings together two very primal needs.

We decided to walk around the entire market just to get the lay of the land.  There were over 35 vendors at the Saturday market.  I’d recommend that you walk the grounds first before settling on what and where you want to buy.

After we had taken this quick tour, I then went into serious hunting and gathering mode.  I ended up with strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, fresh bread, a dozen eggs, chard, summer squash, raspberry honey, some fresh French pastries and fresh-squeezed lemonade.  YUM!

I had brought along my reusable bags, of course, but also picked up a free red Central Farm Market bag that came in very handy.

I am so happy that this latest Central Farm Market is so conveniently located for me. It is open two days a week: Thursdays, from 11:00am – 3:00pm and Saturdays, from 9:00am – 2:00pm.

Check out the two links below for more information about the schedules, locations and vendors for the Central Farm Markets as well as list of Farmers Markets throughout Montgomery County.

www.centralfarmmarkets.com

www.montgomerycountymd.gov/content/ded/agservices/pdffiles/Farmers_Markets/2012fmflyer.pdf

Honestly, it is now quite possible to stop by a farmers market every day of the week on your way home and have the freshest food possible for you and your family!

Happy hunting and gathering!

 

As I See It- “Staycations”

May 30, 2012 Green Blog 2 Comments

 

Naomi Bloch

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, June 1, 2011

Potomac, Md

My husband Byron and I just spent the last few days with friends from California who are true world travelers. As we happily showed them around some of our favorite local sights they kept remarking how this place or that reminded them of Italy, France, or New England.

And as we wandered in and out of the Smithsonian museums, Union Station, and the Library of Congress, they kept commenting on how spectacular these places are and how amazing it is that they are all FREE, too!

Finally, we all started talking about how much beauty and cultural richness we have right here in our own country! I totally agree.

So often people feel that “real” vacations require long car rides or airline tickets, hotel reservations, unfamiliar food … and uncomfortable pillows! Not to mention the time zone changes, getting lost and all the other often unpleasant logistical realities involved whenever people take a “real” vacation.

How many times have you said… or heard others say, ‘I need a vacation after my vacation!’? Traveling is exhausting!

The costs of everything will also continue to rise as oil and natural gas becomes ever more expensive to find and produce. So, finding closer-to-home recreational options is a really good way of reducing our personal carbon footprint.  Not to mention keeping your money in the local economy to boot!

We happen to be truly blessed to live in one of the places that others travel to from all over the world to see. So, how about we simplify our summer plans this year (or next) and stick around here? I bet that if you do it will become one of your most favorite vacations ever!

Check out the various links below, and I hope that they will be just the beginning of a whole new adventure of exploration and discovery into our own magnificent part of the world.

Happy trails and I wish you and your family a safe, happy and very memorable staycation!

http://dc.about.com/od/daytripsgetaways/tp/FamilyVacations.htm

http://www.c-kayak.com/tour.asp

http://www.visitmontgomery.com/things-to-do/itineraries/

http://www.marylandlife.com/

http://www.midatlantichikes.com/md.htm

Introducing Myself

May 25, 2012 Green Blog 10 Comments

 

Naomi Bloch, greengaithersburg.com partner and blogger

 

 

 

 

Hello!

My name is Naomi and I am pleased to be joining Green Gaithersburg as a regular Blogger!

Let me tell you a little bit about myself, and why all things green and sustainable mean so much to me and what I believe it will take to expand and accelerate this critical movement.

First and foremost, I believe in making connections!  Not only in the proverbial “connecting-the-dots” way but also in making human connections between individuals, organizations and communities.

I believe in a strong sense of community because this is what human society is all about and it is one of the essential elements that I believe has been in very short supply for far too long in our country.

Because we are social beings I believe that it is this lack of a sense of connectedness that has lead to, (or certainly made more complicated!) the various problems that concern us today.

Problems of health and wellness, of sustainability, or economic insecurity, you name it.  I could probably argue that the solution to all of these concerns lies in all of us getting to know each other better and to begin to have the types of creative, solutions-based conversations that will lead us back into balance as a society.

I believe in balance.  And that ALL of these solutions will happen by all of us taking small steps in our own daily lives.  Steps toward each other and, at the same time, toward finding, sharing, and then adopting more earth-friendly and community friendly habits.

Because I believe in connections and community building so much, I want us to develop a genuine sense of friendship over the coming weeks and months.  I believe we all have great ideas and suggestions for ways to be more sustainable and neighborly way to share.  So, I want this forum to be one of the places where that sort of sharing can take place.

I look forward to sharing with all of you the various things that I have learned and all the exciting happenings going on throughout ALL of Montgomery County as I continue to practice my quest for creating a more inter-connected county.  I am even more excited at the thought of what you all will be sharing with me as we build that better tomorrow, together!

Stay Tuned!!

 

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Meatless Monday Recipes

Meatless Monday: Butternut Squash Soup with Sage and Parmesan Croutons

19 Nov 2013

A good friend, Denise Clark, sent in this vegetarian seasonal recipe.   1 3 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1″ cubes (5-6 cups) 2 tablespoons of olive oil 2 teaspoons of  kosher salt Pinch of freshly ground pepper 1 tablespoon butter 1 large onion, diced 1 tablespoon …

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Meatless Monday Butternut Squash Ravioli

4 Nov 2013

From Chef John at allrecipes.com Ingredients  Original recipe makes 6 servings 1 cup mashed, cooked butternut squash 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 pinch cayenne pepper 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese 1 egg yolk 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1 (16 ounce) package round wonton wrappers 2 …

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Meatless Monday Proclaimed by Montgomery County Council

22 Jul 2013

July 22, 2013 Gaithersburg, Md By: Alex Stavitsky-Zeineddin I was so pleased to find out that Montgomery County Council has officially endorsed Meatless Mondays, a nationwide effort to choose more plant-based foods. For more information about this news read Compassion Over Killing’s website.  Also, Naomi Bloch sent in a Meatless …

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Meatless Monday Recipe- Roasted Cauliflower

17 Jun 2013

  This recipe sounds delicious and I am going to try it tonight because I have a cauliflower sitting in my fridge and I need to cook it! Will let you know what it tastes like!- Alex Stavitsky-Zeineddin Recipe is from BonApetit Ingredients Roasted Cauliflower 2 1/2 cups dry white …

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Meatless Mondays-Caramelized Onion Tart

20 May 2013

Here is a vegetarian recipe for an Onion tart. I just read up and now understand that a tart is made in ribbed dish, the bottom part of the pan can come out, and the tart can be all sorts of shapes vs. a quiche is in round pie dish… …

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