Fall’s Delicious Bounty

July 26, 2011


-The coming of fall is symbolized for each of us by different events and moments: the first turning of leaves, a bracing snap of cool air, rediscovering a favorite sweater, children returning to school, the palpable shortening of September and October days.

For me, one of the harbingers of autumn is the huge array of beautiful vegetables, such as winter squashes at my local farmer’s market. Squash, technically a fruit, comes in a dazzling array of sizes, shapes and flavors. Butternut is one of the most popular, flavorful and nutritious.

Winter squashes, particularly butternut, are far richer than the summer squashes and zucchini in terms of taste and nutrition because of their deeper color and higher carbohydrate and nutrient content. The most potent squashes are the more deeply colored varieties, especially pumpkin and butternut. Their color is provided by one of the most powerful nutrients: beta-carotene.

Characterized by a chubby bowling pin shape, a buff, beige color on the outside, and a deep orange on the inside, the butternut is an exceptional source of beta-carotene, an antioxidant which converts to vitamin A in your body. Beta-carotene is critical for your immune system, skin, vision, bones, reproductive systems and more. Studies show that people who eat foods high in beta-carotene and people with high blood levels of beta-carotene have a lower incidence of certain cancers. But you will not get the same results with a beta-carotene supplement. Study after study has shown disappointing
results with the supplements. So only the food will do! But that’s a good thing for us squash lovers.

Each squash is a bustling little factory of nutrients and phytochemicals the plant compounds
into potent, potentially healing properties. When acting synergistically in a food, these nutrients pack a more powerful health punch than the individual nutrients alone. Some of the most important nutrients in squash are antioxidants, such as beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, and vitamin C, which are substances believed to reduce inflammation, improve immune function, and help prevent heart disease and certain cancers.

But there are other good reasons to eat butternut squash and other similar winter squashes. They are a great source of fiber (good for your gastrointestinal system), potassium (important for your heart and lowers blood pressure), magnesium (important for improving muscle function, the heart and bones, while preventing blood clots and diabetes), manganese (important for metabolism and bone formation), and calcium (important for your heart and bones). Another big plus — they are low in calories, with only 82 calories per cup of baked squash cubes.

Speaking of low in calories: broccoli is especially delicious this time of year and can be found in abundance at farmers markets. Broccoli belongs to the family of food called “brassica,” which has extremely high nutritional values and contains high levels of antioxidants and nutrients such as vitamin C, selenium, calcium, potassium, folic acid, and choline, as well as soluble fiber, which reduces cholesterol and helps level blood sugar. Brassica, a huge category of foods including cabbages, mustard seeds and greens, also contains potent anti-cancer compounds which help detoxify carcinogens in the liver before they continue to circulate in your bloodstream. These compounds also aid your immune response with antiviral and antibacterial properties.

Broccoli Soup with Carrots, Potatoes and Thyme

Makes 6 – 8 servings
2 Tbsp Canola Oil
1 Cup Chopped Sweet Onion (about 1 medium)
1 Clove Garlic, crushed
½ tsp dried Thyme or 1-1/2 tsp fresh Thyme (or more)
5 Cups Chicken Broth (or Vegetable Broth)
6 Cups Fresh Broccoli, Chopped (about 1 medium head)
2 Cups Wax Potatoes, Sliced (about 2 medium)
1 Cup Carrots, Sliced (about 2 medium)
Salt (1/8 to ¼ tsp) and Freshly Ground Pepper to taste
Optional Garnish:
Top each bowl with a 1 Tbsp dollop of fat free, plain yogurt, salt, and pepper

Heat oil in large iron skillet or dutch oven (soup pot) on fairly high heat. Add onion, garlic, and thyme. Saute until golden. Add 4 cups broth and the rest of the vegetables. Cover, lower the temperature, and let simmer about thirty minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Let the mixture cool down a bit, add the rest of the broth (2 cups) – or milk – then puree in a blender or food processor.

NOTE: Instead of using the 2 cups of broth for the puree, you could use 1% milk or buttermilk for a “creamier” soup (this only adds 200 calories to the whole pot of soup, but adds protein and nine essential nutrients!).

The entire pot of soup makes about 8 cups and is about 650 calories (850 with the milk).

Butternut Squash Soup with Curry and Ginger

About 6 servings
1 Butternut Squash
4 Cups Water
2 Tbsp Canola Oil
1 Cup Chopped Sweet Onion (about 1 medium)
1 Clove Garlic, crushed (2 cloves, if you like it spicy)
1 tsp Curry Powder (2 tsp, if you like it spicy)
1 Tbsp fresh Ginger, about 2 inches, grated (2 Tbsp, if you like it spicy)
1 Cup Chicken or Vegetable Stock
Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper to taste

Cut Butternut Squash in half, lengthwise. Scoop out seeds. Place squash face down in baking pan with 4 cups water. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until soft when pierced by a fork.

While the squash is baking, prepare the aromatic vegetables and spices: Place the oil in a large iron skillet or soup pot on medium-high. Add onions and garlic, and fry until golden. Stir in curry powder, ginger, and a pinch of salt, and simmer on low for a few minutes.

When the squash has cooled to the touch, pour the water in which the squash was cooked into the skillet and stir to scrape up the bits of aromatic vegetables and spices. When squash has cooled, scoop out the butternut squash meat, leaving the skin, and stir into the mixture in the skillet. When room temperature or cool, puree the vegetable and spice mixture in a blender or food processor with the broth.
NOTE: Adjust seasonings by adding more salt, pepper, or spices if desired. Adjust consistency by adding more water or broth. Also, any similar winter squash will work well if Butternut is not available.

The entire pot of soup makes about 6 cups and is about 500 calorie.

Nutritionist, Katherine Tallmadge, M.A., R.D. Author, “Diet Simple: 192 Mental Tricks, Substitutions, Habits & Inspirations” www.KatherineTallmadge.com

Georgetown Garden Tour is Living History

Gardens are living tableaux that change with seasons and with owners. But for a few hours in May, the Georgetown Garden Tour permits visitors to peek at the constantly evolving private gardens of the neighborhood.

Saturday May 7th marks the 83rd annual Georgetown Garden Tour (10a.m. to 4p.m., sponsored by the Georgetown Garden Club). Large and small private gardens in both the East Village and the West Village will open their doors to visitors throughout the day, accompanied by garden accessories features by Bo and Alison Jia of Middle Kingdom porcelain arts, and the secrets to Persian cooking by local cookbook author Najmieh Batmanglij. Tea and light refreshments will be served from 2 pm to 4 pm at nearby Christ Church.

The Georgetown Garden Tour is a self-directed walking tour that leads visitors to nearby private gardens that are formal or eclectic, large and small, but which all reflect their owners and designers. Tour volunteers expect about one thousand curious gardeners on Saturday to participate, rain or shine.

Originally started by the matrons of Georgetown society, the garden tour was put in place to help fund a school for the neighborhood’s domestic staff—The Children’s House, which still stands on N Street. Local historian and co-chair of this year’s Garden Tour, Edie Schafer, explains that starting in the 1920’s, Georgetown society supported the school with activities that included the Georgetown Garden Day. After many years, The Children’s House closed, but the Georgetown Garden Tour soldiered on, supported by the efforts of a few committed volunteers, including Schafer. In the late 1990’s Schafer and the other tour organizers combined forces with the Georgetown Garden Club and the current incarnation was born.

This year about fifteen club members join Schafer and co-Chair Jane Matz in identifying nine homes for the 2011 garden tour. The homes selected as part of this year’s tour range from an old farmhouse on a hill, to a garden that embraces an unusual Georgetown home with a lap pool tucked into geometric pavings. East Village gardens include the former home of Abraham Lincoln’s son and the Evermay estate.

Garden Club members responsible for selecting gardens for the tour explain that prospects are identified by word of mouth. To be part of the annual garden tour, gardens may be large or small but should reflect a point of view and the personality of the owner. A garden with unusual plants or one that cleverly breaks up the omnipresent rectangles of Georgetown lots can be very attractive. Several years ago, the tour even included a “plastic garden” on Cambridge Place, which was carefully crafted to fool viewers into seeing a living space.

Helen DuBois has been a Georgetown Garden Club member for nineteen years, and her garden will be part of the 2011 Georgetown Garden Tour. DuBois does not want to give away too much, but she is delighted to open her garden on 35th street across from Visitation as a stop on the 2011 tour. She explains that her garden can be appreciated by both experienced and novice gardeners and that she hopes it will be an inspiration to visitors looking for ideas to enhance their own garden spaces.
Selecting the gardens begins about seven to eight months before the tour date. Some of the gardens invited to participate have been identified earlier, but owners ask to be included the following year because they want extra time to prepare their garden.

Past projects supported by proceeds from the Georgetown Garden Tour include Trees for Georgetown, Tudor Place, Montrose Park and Book Hill. In addition, local urban students have participated in outdoor activities in partnership with the Student Conservation Association and the Georgetown Garden Club.

The sixty-member Georgetown Garden Club is an active member of the Garden Clubs of America. This year the Georgetown Garden Club’s congratulatory “stakes project” has been suspended. In past years, these mysterious stakes appeared in visible plots, tree boxes and front yards signaling the garden club’s appreciation for the gardener’s efforts to beautify Georgetown. Because of the controversy around how to care for the trees in the tree boxes, the Garden Club has decided to take a hiatus on this tradition.

Tickets for the Georgetown Garden Tour are $35 and are available by calling 202-965-1950, or visit GeorgetownGardenTour.com. Tickets are also available at Christ Church on the day of the tour.

The Importance of Interns

If conventional wisdom and all the pundits are correct, studying journalism or communications in university these days renders you nuts or divorced from reality. After all, if the media is dying, as so many seem to say, how will any student get a job when they graduate? Or, at least, how will they get a job that they can survive on?

And pity the poor college educators who are valiantly striving to make sure they are educating their students to compete in tomorrow’s media. That is virtually mission impossible when new media trends grows old over the course of a single semester. Twitter goes from hot to old-hat. Facebook surpasses Google in hits. Blogs rapidly morph into old media.

I had a recent conversation with a former student who works in new media for NPR. She told me that I now need to teach a new form of writing: “writing to the swipe.”

The reality is that mobile news requires yet another nuance in how tomorrow’s journalists are going to have to cater to both old demands (no, print is not dead yet) and new ones from technologies not yet even invented.

Which all makes DC a new frontline in media education for so many of those who will make tomorrow’s media. New York may have Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart and a wealth of magazines, but DC has the news. And politics. And documentaries. Local journalism. New online news enterprises. Non-profits now putting out their own content. The government.

And DC has the interns.

Welcome to journalism education circa 2011, where the turnover in media is so rapid that a 25-year-old at the new media meteor known as Politico considers himself one of the old guard. The tradition of working your journalistic way up the ladder has largely disintegrated. For many, there is no ladder any more – just a large boulder to try and hop on. And many media companies are using internships today, even more than in the past, as a preferred recruiting tool for good jobs, often new jobs with a future.

“Some places may still have students push paper and get coffee, but the ones that understand what internships can be use it strategically to identify talent. For new media companies it also helps us understand the mentality and ideas of the next generation,” says Brittany Cooper, Director for Recruitment and Corporate Culture for New Media Strategies, one of the fastest growing social media marketing companies in the world.

With one estimate that there are as many as 40,000 interns a year in DC (although in many areas besides media) and many more on the way, DC has become the world’s capital for experiential education, a bridge between traditional media education and the work place, and the passport to that first real job.

Tucker Carlson, of Crossfire/MSNBC/Dancing with the Stars fame, and founder of the newest new media news organization The Daily Caller, admits he was never an intern himself. However, he says, “depending on the office they’re in, they’re apt to learn a lot. Maybe more than in class. Interns have been great for us, not necessarily for the work they do, but because we watch them carefully and hire the smart, hardworking ones. We’ve hired a bunch so far. “

The price for this entrée is that, unfortunately, most DC media internships are unpaid, today often out of financial exigencies but previously out of competition among applicants for these opportunities. The Labor Department’s rules governing internships date back to the 1930’s; they frown on unpaid internships, although there is an ambiguous exemption for internships with academic purposes. But it is a catch-22 where federal regulations would otherwise prevent the very goal of experiential learning and the kind of job creation that students might not otherwise get.

The smartest students often find the best opportunities in less obvious choices. Sirius/XM Radio offers one of the best internship programs in the country, with a program that ensures students get the training and support they need. Nature’s Best Magazine, a private version of National Geographic, offers its interns a magazine experience that will define a career. This very newspaper and its effervescent publisher Sonya Bernhardt have nurtured a decade’s worth of young journalists who have gone on to media success.

Ross Herosian is the Manager of College Programs and HR projects at Sirius/XM, and a former intern himself. “What traditional collegiate academia provides,” he says, “is a very strong base foundation, skills and practices that are ever present, no matter how much media changes. We can build on that and find and nurture the best talent. Today we have a good number of employees who are former interns, who are now mentoring themselves. From my perspective, it is completing the circle and a strong part of our culture.”

So then, perhaps college journalism programs should not even try to keep up with a media evolving so fast that their professional columnists can’t keep up. Instead, no matter how much it changes, the media will always need from their interns what Universities do best: a solid foundation of a well-rounded education. That is something no internship, no matter how good, can provide.

An Individual Work Experience

The One City Youth Employment Summer Program, a product of the Department of Employment Services, has a tougher twist.

Offering a more individualistic work experience, with a heavier focus on youths being matched to appropriate jobs, the number of employees accepted to the program for the coming summer has been scaled down.

“We have put cap of 12,000 [students] for this summer to give the young people a more enriching experience,” said Neville Waters, Communication Director of the Department of Employee Services (DOES).

The Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) received 12,000 applications in the first three days they were available at the end of February. The deadline closed March 11 when more than 20,000 applications had been received.

The SYEP team, including Program Director Gerren Price, has been hosting a number of Eligibility Certification Events at area high schools and the DOES office.

The Certification Events are an opportunity for the youth to turn in their eligibility documents. According to Waters, the overwhelming turn out at the events caused the applicant certification hours on the final Saturday, March 19, to be extended.

“We wanted to make it as convenient as possible for folks,” said Price.

According to Price, the program is going to be “very solid” this year.

The program was revamped when Dr. Rochelle Webb was recruited as Employee Services new director. Along with Mayor Gray’s administration, Dr. Webb made reorganizing the program a high priority.

In effort to enhance the program, half the number of students would be selected to participate as were accepted in previous years. For the first time in the program’s 32-year history, applicants had to complete a more rigorous application process. After applying, the employee hopefuls had to be certified. This included submitting picture I.D., social security card, proof of residence and a submitted resume or online profile.

This is much different than the previous operations, where the students effectively registered and received a paycheck, and which included 22,000 youth employees. The students will now be matched to jobs more suitable to their interests, while learning the actual steps involved in obtaining employment.

“For the first time we’re going to be doing a lot of work to make it more of an individual experience,” said Price.

The program is open to District youths between the ages of 14 and 21. The hope of Employee Services is that students can gain real work experience and applicable skills throughout the summer. Younger ages experience their first job and learn the basic skills of what is expected. The older students are placed in positions where they can utilize these skills and potentially carry the job beyond the summer.

“I feel really positive about the future and what we’re doing,” said Waters.

A DC native himself, Waters’ first job was through the SYEP. His summer working with the public school payroll was a valuable experience, which has now come full circle, as he offers a similar experience to the District’s youth 30 years later. According to Waters, a large responsibility for DOES is also to supply a well-trained work force for employers.

Employers offering jobs though the program include CVS, Georgetown University, Howard University, Cardinal Bank, Wachovia Bank, Madame Tussaund’s and the DC government.

The Apple of Charlottesville’s Eye

In 1998, a great barn was built in Keswick, VA on the Castle Hill estate, just a stone’s throw from Charlottesville and Monticello. Located on a 600-acre plot of rolling, endless hills, the barn was designed to accommodate cattle auctions for the surrounding ranchers. Like much of Keswick, the land is undeveloped and still entrenched in the natural beauty of Virginia, with a prominent view of the Southwest Mountains.
When architect and landscape designer John Rhett saw the abandoned barn in 2008, with it’s 8,000 square feet of open space and 25-foot ceilings, he had other plans for it.

He became involved with the current owner of the property fixing up the house and beautifying the grounds, but it was clear that there was much more to be done, especially to the barn. When Rhett was approached about putting a vineyard on the property and converting the barn to a winery, his answer was a bit more interesting than a simple yes or no. “I prefer trees to vines,” he said. “I said, why don’t we think of planting an orchard and starting a cidery.” And so the Barn at Castle Cider, a cidery and the area’s newest event space, came to be.

The barn has been completely transformed since Rhett, now General Manager, began renovations. At one end of the barn is a beautiful fieldstone fireplace with white oak paneling, where ranchers used to mingle before the auction. “That’s our tasting room,” says Rhett, who is building a limestone bar and small kitchen into the area. The tasting room is designed fittingly for cocktail parties, rehearsal dinners and other small gatherings. The library, located directly above the tasting room, has its own working fireplace and an upper porch with a breathtaking view of the outlying meadow and mountain range.

“The other end of the barn is where they used to wash down the cattle,” says Rhett. “We’re going to convert that room to our tank room for the cider.”

In the center of the barn, with the cavernous open space, Rhett is building a stage and a loft. The loft connects to the library by a catwalk, and each end of the loft has wide doors that open to views of the estate.
Rhett then designed terraced lawns by the barn, which sit above a stream and small lake. It is almost too easy to envision a wedding ceremony by the water, with the great white barn in the background, surrounded by mountains and apple trees.

Beyond its rustic beauty, the Castle Hill estate holds historical significance to the area, and Rhett did not want it lost to the public. “There’s a lot of history here,” he says. “This place was built in 1764.” Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Castle Hill was originally the home of Colonel Thomas Walker, Thomas Jefferson’s guardian and mentor.

The land’s local historical significance, and a mission to build the community through the making and partaking of cider, was much of Rhett’s inspiration for designing the barn as a public and private event space.
The rich history of Castle Hill bleeds into the apple orchard Rhett planted in the fall of 2009. Made up of 600 trees with 28 different types of apples, its most prized variety is a largely forgotten breed named the Albemarle Pippin. “It’s an apple that became a favorite of Queen Victoria’s,” says Rhett. “She was given a basket of them, and she liked them so much that she removed the tariff from the apple just so it was cheaper to import them.”

The Albemarle Pippin got here by the hands of George Washington himself. Originally from New York, Washington gave a cutting to Colonel Walker (the very same Colonel Walker from before), who planted it in Albemarle County. “We’re bringing it all back to Castle Hill by planting them here,” says Rhett.

The apple varieties will all be fermented individually to retain their unique flavors, and then blended to create different hard ciders. Rhett has gone back to the origins of cider production with his fermentation process. He has brought in amphoras from the Caucasus Mountains in the country of Georgia, called kvevri. They are lined with beeswax and buried in the cool earth, wherein the cider is poured and the fermentation works it’s magic.

“The cider never touches modern material to impart any flavors,” says Rhett, who dislikes the metallic taste he finds in wine fermented in steel tanks. “There’s no one really in the world making cider this way anymore.”

The kvevri are buried alongside the barn, protected by a large overhang. Fifty feet away, the very same cider will soon be served at the bar in the tasting room. “You walk into the barn and you smell apples,” says Rhett. “It’s really nice.”

The Barn at Castle Hill is a warm and stunning host for any affair, a space that begs to be filled with life. Its high walls echo with the expectations of history experienced, and history waiting to be made. The barn has been hosting fundraisers and events, and they have their first wedding booked for June. I imagine this place will be filling up fast. The next time you visit Charlottesville, stop by the big white barn, have a glass of cider and see for yourself.

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Talbot County: A Sailor’s Paradise

From George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River in 1776, to the Kennedys’ iconic yachting excursions that captured in celluloid the idealism and spirit of the late 1950s and early 60s, Washington D.C. has scattered bits of its history on the water. The Potomac and Anacostia Rivers wind through our neighborhoods, their beauty and power never failing to refresh the senses. If ever you’re feeling blue, take a walk along the Mt. Vernon trail up by Roosevelt Island beside the Potomac River, watch the birds take flight, breathe the air, wrap yourself in the billowing silence and tell me if you don’t feel at least a little better.

And in the Delmarva area, there is one place agreed upon by sailors and seafarers as the best of waterfront escape. Talbot County, Maryland is the only area with the charm, history and abundant seaside culture to suit everyone from weathered, Kennedyian sailors to eager day-trippers. The towns of St. Michaels, Oxford and Tilghman Island offer events and recreations throughout the summer—charter boats and guided sailing tours, as well as antique boat and seafood festivals and even cardboard boat racing—all devoted to the wonder of life at sea.

St. Michaels

St. Michaels is a historic town that dates back to the middle of the 1600s, having served as a trading post for tobacco farmers and trappers. Throughout the 1800s and into the 20th century, the town’s economy was focused largely around shipbuilding and seafood processing from the Chesapeake Bay. Now they are well known for great restaurants, community and access to the waters of the Chesapeake.

The 24th annual Antique and Classic Boat Festival is returning to St. Michaels, June 17 – 19, at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. Taking place on Father’s Day weekend, this is the largest event of its kind in the mid-Atlantic region, featuring more than 100 antique and classic boats, building demonstrations, maritime artists and craftsmen, craft vendors, classic used boats and motors and even a nautical flea market. A selection of regional and grilled foods, beer and music will be provided throughout the festival.

This year’s featured attraction is boating legend Garfield “Gar” Wood’s (1880–1971) award-winning Miss America IX, a 30’ Mahogany hydroplane racer that was the first boat to ever achieve 100 mph. The event also showcases a variety of antique and classic wooden and fiberglass boats.

National and regional artists and artisans including painters, sculptors, photographers, wildlife carvers, jewelers and furniture and model makers will be on hand with boat-related wares. Boat builders, boat restorers, boat kits, boat products and boating safety resources will also be available throughout the event. The Museum’s ten exhibit buildings and working boat yard will also be open throughout the festival. For more information visit ChesapeakeBayACBS.org or CBMM.org.

Dockside Express Cruises and Tours are specialists in group charters. They offer eco-tours of the surrounding wildlife, as well as a number of themed cruises, like crab feast cruises, wine tasting cruises, champagne sunset cruises, ghost tours and even Parrot-head cruises for all the Jimmy Buffet fans out there. You can book weddings and larger events aboard their ship, the Express Royale. For more information visit DocksideExpress.com.

On June 4th, St. Michaels will be celebrating the Eastern Shore’s strawberry harvest with over 40 artists displaying crafts of all kinds, and of course droves of strawberries, at the 22nd Annual Strawberry Festival and Craft Show. Hosted at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church (304 Talbot Street, St. Michaels) from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. No admission fee. For more information call the church office at (410) 745-2534.


Another historic town, one of the oldest in the country, Oxford was a trading post for British imports. The town took a turn for the worse after the Revolutionary War and didn’t bounce back until railroad systems came in the late 1800s after the Civil War. The Chesapeake Bay oyster industry took off then, with canning and packaging methods greatly improved and the business boom brought prosperity to the town. Soon thereafter, boaters were the first to recognize Oxford for its tourism potential and seaside luxuries.

An annual summertime tradition in Oxford is its cardboard boat races on the Tred Avon River, where participants build their oftentimes flimsy, rickety boats from cardboard and race for the finish. This June 25 will mark The 23rd Annual Oxford Cardboard Boat Races, benefiting Special Olympics of Maryland, taking place on the Oxford Strand. This year’s race will be the Battle of the Brave, featuring local fire companies, law enforcement, Coast Guard and volunteer organizations. There are also a number of other races, including the Corporate Challenge among local merchants and area businesses, the Little Mates Race (ages 5-12) and the Funny Race, featuring those boats with more character than buoyancy.

Added to this year’s event are two new categories: the IronMates, which will be a longer race to test one’s strength and endurance; and the new Teen Challenge race for ages 13 – 19. For more information on the event, building and entering your own boat visit CardboardBoatRace.org.

The Oxford-Bellevue Ferry is a great way to see the surrounding area. America’s oldest privately owned ferry established 1683, crosses the Tred Avon River between Oxford and Bellevue, Maryland. It’s a quick trip, 7 to 10 minutes, 20 round trip, but a lot of fun and St. Michaels is a pleasant seven mile bike ride or drive from the Bellevue landing. The ferry can carry cars and motorcycles. For more information visit OxfordFerry.com

Captains Dan and Elizabeth Cole run a coastal excursion charter company out of Oxford, combining their love for the water and hospitality. Their experience and personality is just the ticket for a weekend on the water.

They learned the ropes early aboard Tall Ships plying the waters of New England and the Great Lakes. From there, they landed in the yacht industry traveling extensively on a wide variety of sail and motor yachts. For the past three years, they have hosted and entertained discerning charter guests on mega-yachts worldwide. Creative and inventive, Elizabeth has her bachelors in Education and Art, while Dan studied sports management with a passion for American History and everything nautical. Guests aboard their charter can choose from a wide variety of activities including art lessons, fishing, kayaking, skeet, archery, water sports, sightseeing and boat skills. Pets are also welcome aboard their ship. Whether you desire to tour down to the Florida Keys or explore the historic ports of the Eastern seaboard, their enthusiasm and attention to every detail will ensure you will have a memorable adventure. For more information call (954) 347-1885.

Tilghman Island

Known as the pearl of the Chesapeake Bay, Tilghman Island is separated by the mainland by Knapps Narrow, but is easily accessible by drawbridge. Tilghman Island is a true working watermen’s village with excellent fishing and fresh seafood. It’s also home to the last commercial sailing fleet in North America, the skipjacks, which are on display at its Dogwood Harbor. There are a number of great Inns and Bed and Breakfasts on the island, and its just minutes from the surrounding towns of Oxford and St. Michaels.

The Summer Seafood Festival on June 25 is worth packing your vehicles, be it motorcar or motorboat, and speeding over to enjoy live music, dancing, crab racing and of course more fresh seafood than you can handle.

The Chesapeake Lighthouse Tours are a unique look at Chesapeake’s lighthouse heritage, which has assisted the passage of boats for centuries. Captain Mike Richards, who guides the tours, has over 35 years experience on the Chesapeake Bay and shares stories of these historic lighthouses and their surrounding areas. Half and full day tours leave from the Bay Hundred Restaurant at Knapps Narrows Marina, through October. For more information visit ChesapeakeLights.com.

The Tilghman Island Marina is a popular destination spot with transient boaters and boating clubs and groups all throughout the bay, who also offer boat rentals and various charters. The picturesque marina overlooks the Chesapeake Bay and Nature Area. Offering a quaint ambiance in a park-like setting that caters to boating groups and guests, it’s a great place to enjoy a Chesapeake Bay sunset from the comfort and privacy of your own boat. You can also jet ski, sail, bicycle, fish and take waterway tours. Walk, ride or dinghy to all Island attractions, Inns and restaurants. For more information visit TilghmanMarina.com.
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Loudoun Goes Fresh

The fresh food fad is sweeping the nation. As consumers become more educated and concerned with the quality of their food, and cultivating a growing interest in where and how is it being grown, farmers across the country are listening. They are engaging in healthier practices, often choosing to grow organically, and investing a greater interest in feeding their local community. And in Loudoun County, the Piedmont Environmental Council is on the forefront of this movement.

The Piedmont Environmental Council has jumped on board with Buy Fresh Buy Local, a national non-profit organization and campaign dedicated to rebuilding local food systems. Chapters are developing all over the United States, promoting and connecting consumers with fresh produce from local farmers.

In Loudoun County, Buy Fresh Buy Local is working with the community, facilitating a boost in the local economy by offering an array of restaurants and local markets serving up the best food local Loudoun and its surrounding farmers have to offer.

Participating in the campaign in Loudoun can be as simple as being aware of which local restaurants and farmers markets offer fresh farm produce. Directly connecting with the Piedmont Environmental Council is a great way to get involved, and the Buy Fresh Buy Local campaign guides make the search available to all.

The Council’s guides point visitors to the freshest food in Loudoun, divided into a number of categories from caterers to vineyards.

There are seven farmers markets in Loudoun, including Leesburg Market where visitors can find more than just fresh veggies. The market offers an array of produce from locally butchered meat and poultry to specialty fresh pasta, baked goods and even hand made dog treats. Local wine is, of course, also featured. Most markets are open year round, offering a variety of seasonally fresh food.

The guides also point foodies towards local restaurants which use fresh and local ingredients. The Wine Kitchen in Leesburg is one of a number of restaurants in Loudoun offering farm-to-table dining. The menu features seasonal American bistro such as sizzling local lamb sausage from Lothar’s Gourmet Sausage and crisp garden lettuce with tangy vinaigrette from three local farms. Decadent chocolate desserts from Gourmet Amore Desserts are also some of the highlighted fresh dishes that keep customers coming back for more.

In order to sustain the local agricultural industry, the word about buying locally has to be spread. To help get the word out, the Piedmont Environment Council has partnered with Armfield, Miller & Ripley Fine Properties (AMRFP) of Middleburg for a series of farm-to-table dinner benefits that will raise money to further awareness of Buy Fresh Buy Local.

Marc Schappell is a partner of AMRFP and, as a farmer himself from upstate New York, understands the necessity of community support. He knows first-hand the hard times facing the farming industry and how much effort farmers put forth to produce great food.

When the Piedmont Environmental Council approached the real estate company about hosting the benefit dinners, Schappell was excited to take the first step to raise awareness. “I know how hard it is for farmers to stay alive these days,” he said. “And if we all bought more local, I think we’d be doing a good thing for them, and just as importantly, for ourselves and the community.”

The first of the benefit dinners, “Meet the Farmer—Farm to Table,” will be held in early April when longtime community member Robert Duvall (yes, THAT Robert Duvall) will open the doors to his Byrnley Farm estate in The Plains. Along with his wife Luciana, Mr. Duvall has been very involved in the community for some time, supporting efforts like Buy Fresh Buy Local.

Claire Lamborne, of the famous Claire’s at the Depot, will cater the dinner. Bringing rich Mediterranean and Southern Caribbean flavor from her Warrenton restaurant, the dinner will feature and spotlight locally grown food.

The “Meet the Farmer—Farm to Table” dinners are open to the public and tickets are sold through the Piedmont Environmental Council. The benefit will allow the community to meet local farmers and taste the wonderfully prepared, locally produced food. As an opportunity for people who care about sustainable agriculture to share stories similar to Schappell’s, the goal is to raise awareness and develop more chapters of Buy Fresh Buy Local in the region.

Hoping to reach out to the greater DC area, Schappell wants to give Washingtonians the same opportunity as those living in the country. He knows people living in the city are just as concerned with healthy, sustainable food as anyone as evidenced by the number of neighborhoods in DC that are willing to pay more for fresh, high-quality food from farmers markets and grocery stores.

Founding Farmers is one restaurant in Washington serving up farm fresh plates. Offering breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks, Founding Farmers also has a vegan menu and all their food is locally grown.

The Dupont Farmers Market, the largest farmers market in the city, supports local food by only selling what farmers grow or produce themselves, ensuring that purchases go straight to the farmers’ pockets. “We’re all more environmentally conscious today,” Schappell said. “We all want to reduce our carbon footprint.”

A Window Into the Wine of Charlottesville, Virginia

While new wineries continue to pop up across the East Coast from New York to North Carolina, there is no region gaining more ground in both quality and recognition than the greater Charlottesville wine region. Farmers over the past 200 years cultivated the soil for fruit crops like apples and peaches, which set an ideal stage for what is now known as the Monticello American Viticultural Area (AVA).

One major factor in its success, according to King Family Vineyards owner David King, is precisely its lack of newness. Time has already proven many of the rolling Blue Ridge slopes conducive to cool-climate fruit production, and with the help of Virginia Tech’s viticultural research department and some recently acquired expertise, Monticello has lived up to the wine-growing potential that Thomas Jefferson foresaw there centuries ago.

Luca Paschina, Italian-born winemaker of Barboursville Vineyards, came to Virginia in 1991 after years working in Italy and California, to one of the worst vintages Virginia had seen in decades. After surviving that initial challenge he now produces some of Virginia’s fully ripe and high-quality grapes. “In good years,I really can’t see that much difference from the growing seasons of Piemonte,” says Paschina, whose expertise and education comes Piemonte, the renowned winemaking region in Italy.

While Monticello has the climate, soil composition and slope elevations favorable to growing a wide variety of grapes, choosing the varietals most suited to a particular site is the most important factor, Paschina explains. The clay-like soil common in Monticello is fairly rich in nutrients and a grape like the Cabernet Sauvignon may grow too vigorously. This in turn would produce flat, underdeveloped wines.

Over the past twenty years, an increasing number of wineries have been honing in on a few varietals that are poised to become the flagship grapes of the region.

While some producers continue to experiment with different grape varietals, Viognier and Petit Verdot, in addition to Merlot and Cabernet Franc, have produced excellent, complex wines that prove unique to their Virginian terroir (a term denoting the characteristics of the overall qualities of the land). For Monticello to gain acclaim as a world-class region within the international wine community, wineries must focus on these high-performing varietals and build an original niche in the market. As the region forms a cohesive identity, it’s reputation as the Napa of the East grows.

While the region lends itself to vital viticultural growth, elevations can go from 500 to 2000 feet with each site’s microclimate varying drastically. This means that while most wineries are evolving toward growing the same varietals, there is still a wide spectrum of fruit expression and winemaking strategy.

Paschina say that Monticello, unlike many other East Coast wine regions, has few “hobbyists” left, and is comprised of a large number of winemakers formally educated. This concentration of expertise has produced wine comparable to that of Europe and the West Coast. “Making wine is easy; making good wine is quite complicated,” Paschina says.

Michael Shaps, a consultant for Virginia Wineworks and Pollack Vineyards, a producer of his own private label and the owner of a vineyard in Burgundy, France, brings old-world winemaking techniques with him when working with vineyards such as picking grapes earlier than usual to produce more a more elegant and balanced taste, as opposed to tannic or jammy.

While Shaps says he sees some wineries trying to follow the consumer-driven trend of New-World California-style Cabernets, the biggest producers in Monticello follow his more European-style philosophies. Jake Busching, winemaker and General Manager for Pollak Vineyards, sees each varying vintage as a new opportunity to express the distinctive character of that year’s fruit and its soil. Busching says that the nuanced differences from varying winemaking styles only benefit the diversity within the region.

As more consumers have discovered the burgeoning industry right in their backyard, wineries are able to employ state-of-the-art methods and improve marketing strategy because of the new capital. While necessary for greater acclaim, there are still many challenges and misconceptions that must be overcome.

As the volume and quality of wine continues to increase, the government of Virginia and the commercial and historical tourism industries facilitate growth for the wineries around Charlottesville. David King attests that there is still a large local market in Virginia and its bordering states that has yet to be tapped, and with the state legislators helping to promote local wines in more shops and fine dining establishments, consumers have more opportunities to support local growers.

“We sell everything we make,” says King. “Yet wine made here is only 4.5% of the wine consumed in the state. Our biggest goal right now is merely to make more wine.”

There are also several brand-new operations such as DelFosse Vineyards & Winery that dove into producing old-world style wines that found immediate favor with many of Charlottesville’s wine lovers. Michael Shaps see in-state sales as non-essential to the greater goal of international exposure and recognition, though in-state sales may provide a backbone for sustainability. Often, wine drinkers in other regions are unaware that the East Coast produces wine at all.

Shaps, Paschina and many other Virginia winemakers periodically stage blind tastings and enter into competitions where their wines consistently come out equal to if not better than their European counterparts. Yet stigmas are still rampant outside of the immediate area.

It inevitably takes time for vines to become expressive in a new terroir and then for the wine region to develop its own identity. Paschina, for one, continues to experiment with varietals, pulling out underperforming vines and trying out clones that may have similar growing patterns to the ones that have shown the most success. With innovators like this, Monticello will continue to evolve for decades to come. However, with the number of Viogniers, Chardonnays, Merlots and Petit Verdot blends now being produced by the wineries it is about time that the greater wine world began paying more attention.

“When there is more than just wine, when you have wine and great food, wine and a beautiful landscape, a history, a story,” Paschina says. “When you create this full experience, that’s when wine is best and most interesting. And here in Virginia, we have it all.” [gallery ids="99669,106134,106146,106139,106143" nav="thumbs"]

Scandinavian Midsummer: Feast the Night Away

Diet Simple (June 2011, LifeLine Press)

Swedish cuisine is the ultimate “nouvelle” cuisine. It is simple, fresh, and is naturally local and seasonal. It’s elegant, yet down-to-earth, which is also a perfect description of the Swedish people, and even Swedish design.

I’ve had a life-long love affair with Sweden, its culture, cuisine and people. I’m so grateful that finally the world has caught on that my beloved Sweden is a recognized culinary destination.

The daughter of a Swedish mother and an American father, I’ve been visiting Sweden since I was a little girl. During my regular visits, I soaked in every possible aspect of Swedish food and cooking. I took many fishing trips in the North Sea on my Uncle Olle’s small motor boat. I received early lessons on cleaning, smoking, grilling, pickling – and any other method one could name – of preparing fresh fish.

I was raised in the Swedish culinary tradition. I’ve picked wild blueberries, strawberries and mushrooms in the Swedish archipelago, then watched as my grandmother (Mormor) and Aunt Ingrid prepared treats with the bounty. Growing up, I and my mother dined regularly on crepes with lingonberries and cream – one of my favorite dinners (though now I use yogurt instead of cream! Naturligtvis!). I’ve delighted in all the unique foods my family introduced me to: the grainy rye breads, the special cheeses and yogurts, the smoked reindeer meat, the delicate, sweet, and tiny Swedish shrimps, caviar, crayfish, and of course, meatballs and lingonberry sauce!

If you are not a Swede or Scandinavian, you may not know that this is the most special time of year. For weeks on end the sun never sets in Sweden’s summertime. It’s daylight round-the-clock.

Every ear, during one of those “white nights” – the Friday nearest the 24th of June – the nation turns out to feast until morning. After long winter months of what seems like never-ending darkness, sun-starved Swedes join the rest of Scandinavia in celebrating the summer solstice – the year’s longest day.

Swedes call the celebration Midsummer Eve. It is more than just a holiday, however. Midsummer Eve, often lasting through Saturday – and sometimes the whole weekend – is the national excuse for the biggest parties of the year. The revelry is non-stop.

Beginning Friday morning, families gather to set the scene. Every spare piece of furniture is moved outdoors, setting up a festival atmosphere. Large wooden crosses are turned into maypoles decorated with flowers, ribbons and leafy branches.

The maypoles are raised, and hours of dancing, singing and community wide camaraderie get under way. By late afternoon the revelry has served its purpose. Gnawing hunger has prepared the celebrants for the main event: the feast, Sweden’s famed smorgasbord.

Smorgasbord is a Swedish invention and is literally a table of open-faced sandwiches. Though its origin was a simple array of hors d’oeuvres, smorgasbords today are exhaustive buffet-style spreads, the Swedish version being the best known.

There are appetizers, salads, main courses and desserts. The dishes signal summer’s first harvests: freshly clipped dill, tender root vegetables, fish and other seafoods, and strawberries grown in the country.

There are cured ingredients, as well. Pink rolls of cured salmon are wrapped around dill sprigs, with yellow mustard sauces and peppercorns alongside. There is marinated herring and coarse salt, as well as dill and other pickles. Dairy products also are important, including eggs, cheese and cream.

The traditional drink is aquavit, Swedish vodka spiced with anise and caraway. It is served in tiny schnapps glasses. The Midsummer toast, which loses something in translation, usually amounts to a unanimous gulp followed by a chant of “rah, rah, rah, rah.”

Actually, preparation of Midsummer food usually begins a couple of days before. Local fishermen stack their just-caught salmon in rickety wheelbarrows, roll them into town and go door to door displaying their wares for inspection by anxious cooks.

The fish are carefully examined in solemn transaction, the cook – usually my Grandmother – signaling the final selection with an abrupt, “This will do!” The fisherman nods, satisfied, and carries the fish to the kitchen where it lands on the table with a thud. The smell of the sea enters the house with the day’s catch. The best knife has been sharpened for this moment: the start of Midsummer Eve cooking.

Aquavit and Marcus Samuelsson’s Gravlax Club Sandwich
(excerpted from Diet Simple (June 2011, LifeLine Press)

This sandwich is such a popular item in Aquavit’s café that it is never off the menu. It combines the velvety textures of guacamole and gravlax, with the crispy nature of iceberg lettuce and great chewiness of whole grain bread. If you want to make this sandwich and don¹t happen to have any gravlax on hand, you can substitute smoked salmon with equal success.

I’ve used this recipe at parties. Just cut the sandwiches into smaller appetizer size sandwiches, into quarters, and place a tooth pick through all layers for easy grabbing. It’s always a hit.

Makes 5 sandwiches.

2 avocados
Juice from 2 limes
1/2 medium size red onion, finely chopped
1 medium-size ripe tomato, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, cored, seeded and finely chopped
8 sprigs cilantro, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
10 thin slices of whole grain wheat or rye bread
5 thin slices of Gravlax
1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce

1. Mash the avocado with a fork and add the limejuice. Add the chopped onion, tomato, jalapeno pepper, and cilantro and toss everything to mix well. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

2. Toast the bread slices lightly and let them cool.

3. Place a slice of gravlax on a slice of bread. Spread 1 to 2 tablespoons of the avocado mixture over the gravlax and sprinkle with shredded iceberg lettuce. Cover with a second slice of bread. Repeat with the remaining bread slices and gravlax.

1 Gravlax Club Sandwich: Calories; 300, Total Fat ; 15g, Saturated Fat; 2g, Cholesterol; 5mg, Sodium; 740mg, Total Carbohydrate; 38g, Dietary Fiber; 15g, Omega 3 Fatty Acids; 0.82 g, Protein; 11g

2-1/2 pounds fresh salmon
4 Tbsp Sugar
5 Tbsp Coarse Salt
1 Tbsp White Peppercorns, coarsely ground
1 Bunch Fresh Dill
Lemon and additional dill for garnish
Mix sugar, salt and pepper in a bowl. Set aside.
With half of the dill, cover the bottom of a shallow baking pan just slightly larger than the fish. Pour two-thirds of the sugar, salt and pepper mixture evenly over the dill and place salmon on top, skin side up.

Cover the salmon with the remaining mixture and remaining dill. Cover pan with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for two days (at least 24 hours).

To serve, scrape off the marinade, slice fish thinly and roll. Garnish with lemon pieces and dill. Serve with mustard sauce on the side. Serves 8 to 12.

Mustard Sauce
1-1/2 Tbsp Chopped Fresh Dill
3 Tbsp Gulden’s Mustard
1 Tbsp Sugar
3 to 4 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
All ingredients should be at room temperature. Place mustard in a small bowl, add sugar. Blend in the oil slowly. Add the dill and mix thoroughly.

Nordic Food Days June 19 to 26, 2011
The embassies of the Nordic countries are bringing five of the world’s best chefs from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. Among the events: Nordic Jazz and Cuisine on the rooftop of the house of Sweden in Georgetown on June 19, and June 21 to 26: Nordic Restaurant Days at select DC restaurants. For more information, go to: NordicInnovation.org/NordicFoodDaysDC

I will see you there!

By Katherine Tallmadge, author Diet Simple: 195 Mental Tricks, Substitutions, Habits & Inspirations (LifeLine Press, June 2011), designs personalized nutrition and wellness programs for individuals and companies. www.KatherineTallmadge.com

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Soothing Summer Sensations

Grocery store items aren’t the only summer goodies that can be compared in Georgetown, so this week we brought you a whole new perspective on pricing. After experiencing the heat wave with triple-digit weather last week, we realized items to protect and moisturize your skin might be good to explore. Plus, let’s be honest, these sorts of items smell great!

So this issue for “Is the Price Right?” we looked into summer skin goodies at Lush, Sephora, Blue Mercury and CVS.

CVS faired the best this time as the cheapest place to buy your summer products. Yet we’re not sure if we would say CVS is the highest quality, especially when compared to Lush, Blue Mercury and Sephora.

For a lotion that sooths sunburn, CVS charges $6.49 for an 8-ounce bottle of their name brand item. Lush’s 8.8 ounces of Dream Cream Lotion, which soothes the skin and contains chamomile and lavender, is $24.95. Blue Mercury has Kiehls lotion with aloe vera at $19.50 for 8.4 ounces, and Sephora has a 7-ounce bottle of Lavanila Laboratories lotion for $15.

To keep your skin moisturized and safe from UV rays, we checked each store for SPF lotion. CVS had Olay Complete All-Day Moisturizer with SPF 15 at $9.99 for 6 ounces when it is normally $13.19. Sephora was the most expensive at 2 ounces of Baby Block SPF 40 for $20. Blue Mercury was the second cheapest for their 8.4 ounces of Kiehls for $22. An 8.4-ounce of Ultra Light SPF 30 at Lush was $49.95. Lush’s lotion is designed to protect your skin from sun, wind or cold and can even be mixed in with your foundation.

After a long day of walking around the city, everyone could use some ocean salt scrub to soften their feet. Blue Mercury has a 12-ounce container of Bliss Hot Salt Scrub for $36 and Sephora has the same brand as Blue Mercury at 14.1 ounces for $36. Lush has an 8.8 ounces of Ocean Salt, containing lime and coconut for $34.95. At CVS you can’t get a salt scrub, but a 6-ounce Neutrogena Sugar Scrub is $12.29.

Then for a special treat, we chose one summer item from each store. Lush has Glorious Mud Body Mask squares for $5.95, while Sephora has a sun safety kit, which contains 12 sun protection products, two single-use UW monitor bracelets and a travel bag for $25. Blue Mercury has a Bliss Poetic Waxing Kit for $45 and CVS has two for $3 Bioluxe Hair Products.

Check out our next issue for another new spin on “Is the Price Right?”

Lotion – 8.8 ounces for $24.95
SPF Lotion – 8.4 ounces for $49.95
Ocean Salt – 8.8 ounces for $34.95
Special Summer Item – $20

Lotion – 7 ounces for $15
SPF Lotion – 2 ounces for $20
Ocean Salt – 14.1 ounces for $36
Special Summer Item – $25

Blue Mercury:
Lotion – 8.4 ounces for $19.50
SPF Lotion – 8.4 ounces for $22
Ocean Salt – 12 ounces for $36
Special Summer Item – $45

Lotion – 8 ounces for $6.49
SPF Lotion – 6 ounces for $9.99
Ocean Salt – 6 ounces for $12.29
Special Summer Item – 2 for $3

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