Speakers Table

Alice Waters at the Sunday Market

January 22, 2012

I get so many benefits from visiting my local Farmers’ Market. First, are the people: Today, I bumped into my good friend, Ann Yonkers, the Co-Founder of Fresh Farm Markets, and with her, Alice Waters, Chef, Author, and Pioneer for a “Fresh, Clean, and Fair” Food Economy. Ms. Waters is in Washington, D.C. for several events benefiting Martha's Table and D.C. Central Kitchen.

When Fresh Farm Market opened about 11 years ago, it improved the quality of life for me and everyone who visits. The Dupont Circle Farmers’ Market is one of the few in the area open year-round.

Every Sunday morning in Fall and Winter, I’m there tasting which apple and pear variety is the best that week. Today “Pink Lady” got first prize. To me, it’s the epitome of a perfect apple: the ideal combination of crispiness, sweetness and tartness. But other weeks, I may prefer another variety.

I will be eating an apple-a-day this week with just a tad of Pimento Cheese Spread, bought from Keswick Creamery.

Today, I also picked up some carrots and parsnips, surprisingly tender and sweet right now. I love to puree them together to create "Mashed Carrots and Parsnips with Nutmeg."

I couldn’t resist  Toigo Orchard's Bourbon Peaches, picked perfectly ripe from their own orchards and flavored with, um, bourbon. DARN GOOD! I have many jars set aside to give as gifts to my grateful friends who don’t have access to my market. But I always have one set aside pour moi!

Tasting is one of my favorite parts of visiting the market; and that’s true for adults and children alike. When I teach children at the Capital Harvest on the Plaza (C.H.O.P.) Farmers' Market, it opens a whole new taste experience for them. It’s amazing how children can enjoy the differences in the apples: some are sweeter, others more tart, some are crunchier, others softer, there are even different colors outside and in! Children are very observant. One week, a child blurted out that the butternut squash looked like a peanut. Well, I had to agree… a giant peanut, anyway! After a visit to the market, I can confidently say those children go back to school and their homes begging for fruits and vegetables. Studies verify all it takes is positive exposure for children to prefer healthy food.

From my last market visit, I’m already stocked with onions, garlic, greens, and orchids. So I’m pleased to be able to enjoy another week of delicious, locally-grown fruits and vegetables. Nothing makes it easier – and better for you – than buying locally. The fruits and vegetables are picked at peak ripeness, ensuring maximum flavor and nutritional value. You’re helping save the environment too!

By Katherine Tallmadge

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It takes our village

January 16, 2012

This story illustrates that Georgetown is a village, in the truest sense of the word. What began as an idea for a Georgetown "House Party” grew into an amazingly entertaining evening on Friday night because of the tight bonds and deep love we neighbors have for each other. When we heard the son of Georgetowner, Nancy Flinn Aaron Flinn, a Vermont singer, songwriter and guitarist - would be in town, neighbor Eli Hengst, co-owner of Sonoma Restaurant decided to provide a venue.  Next, all it took was a word from Nancy, and at least 70 neighbors and their friends showed up for one of the most entertaining evenings of the season.

Aaron Flinn, Burnett Thompson and Nancy Flinn (Photo by: Robert Arnold) Aaron Flinn, Burnett Thompson and Nancy Flinn

Flinn, the son of Georgetowner Nancy Flinn was on the final leg of a northeast tour performing original songs showcasing his new CD Release, "Miss Ready Blossom and the Seed of Dreams."  Eight appearances in nine days, including Vermont, RI, NYC, Philadelphia, Washington DC and NJ, were capped off by Friday’s performance.  A local G-town house concert had been in the planning until Nancy’s Poplar Street neighbor, Eli Hengst, owner of Sonoma Restaurant, stepped up in a generous move to support Flinn’s music and offered the event room at Sonoma (in Capital Hill, but we won't hold that against him) to showcase Aaron’s performance.  

The evening turned into a Poplar Street Festival when 23 neighbors joined the crowd to celebrate the evening. Poplar Street moms and dads got babysitters for the night, singles invited friends and family, and many neighbors car pooled their way to Capitol Hill. Close to 70 people, ranging in age from five to ninety,  attended the concert which ran from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm. 

Robert Arnold, Katherine Tallmadge, and Tracy Gordon (Photo by: ) Robert Arnold, Katherine Tallmadge, and Tracy Gordon

Some music lovers were there having heard about the event through email invites, some through Facebook pages, some word of mouth, including a group from Rose Park’s Dog Park

After being introduced and lauded by fellow musician, Burnett Thompson, as  “Vermont’s State Secret”, Flinn mesmerized the crowd for nearly three hours with his music and guitar techniques.  His instruments include a voice that ranges from basso to falsetto, guitars, a ukulele and a harp guitar.

His mom, Nancy, was told she was kvelling and she was!  "Aaron has lived music since he was two, she said.  "By the time he was twelve, he could do a bass run right along with Paul McCartney of the Beatles.  He won band competitions, guitar competitions and his newest CD was named one of Vermont's best for 2011!"  

Concert attendees (Photo by: Nancy Flinn) Concert attendees
(In the photo at right:  Nancy Flinn, Sarah Pietragallo (with daughter Francesca),
David Keller with his goddaughter, Katherine Tallmadge, Dick Weiss, dogs Dewey & Alviar)

Flinn, a prolific musician and composer, is a graduate of Boston’s Berklee College of Music where faculty named him one of the school’s top singer-songwriters.  His new CD, his eighth release, is considered a great complement to his increasingly voluminous canon.  Bluegrass, rockabilly, breezy country and hard rock all rub elbows. Elements of folk, indie rock and classic pop combine with powerful vocals, poetic lyrics and finger-picking guitar.  Flinn has an impressive body of original work performed solo and with Salad Days, his band.  He described the evening at Sonoma as one of “the best, with an audience there to hear and appreciate music.”


By Katherine Tallmadge

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Sadness and anger over Harry Thomas, Jr.

January 6, 2012

When a politician takes a fall, whether you like him or not, there is a mix of sadness and anger.

In Harry Thomas, Jr.’s case, it is sadness that someone from a prominent family, who grew up with a lot of benefits others around him didn’t have, has managed to squander them all for ego and greed. Anger because his actions hurt not only his family but his constituents and the city as a whole. What he did perpetuates the belief that all politicians are crooks and out for themselves, and that the District of Columbia has more than its fair share of such politicians.

Neither of those two myths should stand.

The District has no more or less crooked or unethical politicians than anyplace else, and in the District most politicians are in it for the right reason. I am not saying they don’t benefit from being in office. Of course they do! We voters treat them differently. We are mostly deferential.

I am always amazed that when constituents meet with and discuss issues with their elected officials they often forget that they pay their salaries and they work for them. Too often politicians respond to constituent requests and ideas as if they are doing them a favor.  Many even think that favor should be returned with a vote the next time around. Instead it is the elected official who owes his/her best efforts to their constituents. What we forget is that we feed what must already be the huge ego needed to run for office.

When Thomas stood before the judge, one could only wonder what was going through his mind. He was pleading guilty to felonies which could put him in jail for between 36 and 47 months and strip him of not only his office but his dignity. He put his family in financial straits.  He must have understood that his children would never again see him in the same light.

He had to be thinking of his father looking down at him, watching as he squandered a hard-earned legacy. I know that many hope his time in prison will be spent repenting and figuring out how he ended up in this situation and how, in some way, he can make this up to his family as well as the people he was elected to serve. I don’t think Thomas is a bad person, but rather a person that got caught up in the trappings of office and totally lost sight of right and wrong.

Now is the time for the U.S. Attorney to move swiftly on the two other ethics cases he has in front of him involving District officials.

We need closure on those cases. Once that occurs, the District can move forward without this in the background eclipsing all the progress that is being made. If there is criminal activity, those responsible deserve the same fate as Thomas; if what they did was simply unethical or stupid but not criminal the public needs to hear that.  If they are innocent, that needs to come out as well.


By Peter D. Rosenstein 

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