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Capital BikeShare Rolls into Bethesda

Capital Bikeshare Bethesda

Capital Bikeshare Bethesda

It’s a new year and like many, you may have resolved to “get fit.”  Thankfully, in Bethesda it has now become just a litter easier to meet that goal with Capital Bikeshare.  Recently the company installed stations in many convenient locations around town.  Also, there are bike stations situated all over DC, Montgomery County and Virginia.  If you’re so inclined, you can virtually get around “car-free” almost anywhere in the greater DMV region.  Here is the station map of current Capital Bikeshare locations where you can grab a bike and go.

The price is pretty good too.  You have four payment options: rent for one day (or by the hour), for a 3-day period, for a month or even for a year.  The first thirty minutes of any rental is free.  As of  January, 2014, the 24-hour daily rate is $7, the 3-day rate is $15, monthly is $25 and the annual rental rate is $75 (or you can pay $7 per month with an annual agreement).  Here are the current Pricing Options.

For safety, I guess a little planning ahead is advisable though because they do not rent helmets.  However, there are many convenient shops around Bethesda where you can pick one up including Griffin Cycle Bethesda (4949 Bethesda Ave), Big Wheel Bikes (6917 Arlington Rd), Freshbikes Cycling (7626 Old Georgetown Rd), City Sports (7121 Arlington Rd), Modell’s Sporting Goods (7201 Wisconsin Ave) and RnJ Sports (4945 Elm St).  Also advisable, while planning ahead, consider skinny jeans vs. bell-bottoms – always a better bet while biking!  Happy Cycling Bethesda!

Bikeshare kiosk

Bikeshare kiosk

Earth Day Bethesda 2013

Reduce, reuse, recycle….  It sounds simple enough but I will be the first to admit to the occasional laziness of tossing a plastic bottle in the trash because there is no readily available recycle bin or running the water while I brush my teeth once in a while.  The little things we do or don’t do can seem to be just too small to matter in the grand scheme of things.  Yet, when you multiply your actions by the number of people in our town, let alone our country, the cumulative effects of these “small choices” obviously make a BIG daily impact.  Earth Day reminds us to be aware.  Be aware of the choices we make that together add up to something significant.

Montgomery County has a great resource available on their website to instruct the public about how to recycle or dispose of wastes like household batteries, paint, cell phones, fire extinguishers, appliances, scrap metal, old furniture and more.

Bethesda Green Logo

Bethesda Green Logo

The town of Bethesda has made a collective effort to become aware and make better choices by forming Bethesda Green.  You can read all about Bethesda Green in our featured article written in 2011, It Ain’t Easy Being Green or by visiting the Bethesda Green website.  Bethesda Green offers all kinds of  resources to “help educate yourself about the environment, your community, and how you can help.”

Today, for Earth Day in Bethesda, why not check out Bethesda Green?  Perhaps you will learn something new, find an organization in which you wish to participate or simply make a small donation to further their efforts to better our community.

 

Day 17: BYOB Bethesda – Bring Your Own Bag…or Pay the Tax!

Buy One Get One Free Bags at Giant

This evening, after a nice long, relaxing walk on the Capital Crescent Trail in nearly 60 degree weather, I went to GIANT® Food Stores on Westbard.  My mouth was watering thinking about eating dinner after that nice long walk – never a good time to go shopping!

I pulled into the parking lot and grabbed my reusable grocery bags.  I have been trying to use them faithfully for months.  As I started walking towards the door to the store, I noticed that the crowded parking lot was filled with all kinds of people carrying in and out reusable grocery bags.  It made me smile as it dawned on me that the new 5 cent bag tax that went into effect on January 1st had truly made its impact on a critical mass!

Montgomery County Bag Tax

I saw one man in his nicely tailored suit (probably a lawyer – everyone in Bethesda is a lawyer) exit his car with one solitary bag in hand that he neatly folded as he walked toward the store.  I thought to myself, “5 cents means that much to you, huh?”  I wondered whether he used to carry in that bag before the tax came into effect or is he responding like so many others to the fact that a tax – even 5 cents – will be avoided at all costs!

As I walked through the store aisles I realized that almost without fail the shoppers had their bags in hand – some were nice canvas ones; others were paper shopping bags from department stores; still others were your garden-variety grocery store bags.  The age of the shopper didn’t seem to matter either – I saw a teenage boy carrying one.

The bag tax in Montgomery County came into effect on January 1, 2012 with the primary goal of reducing pollution in local streams and stormwater.  Apparently the plastic bags are one of the most common items to litter our local waterways. In addition to reducing pollution by encouraging the use of reusable bags, the County will also raise funds from the 5 cent tax towards a water quality protection fund.  They expect to raise roughly $1.5 million dollars in the first year.  I guess 5 cents adds up!

Apparently, Bethesda residents agree that the tax adds up as they carry bags with them everywhere they go.  As a self-professed “Greenie” I am very happy to see this new habit developing in our town.  However, even I was caught off guard at subway®  restaurant recently when I was asked whether I wanted a bag or wanted to pay 5 cents for one.  My knee-jerk reaction was, “What?  I can’t just have a bag here anymore?”  But then the Greenie in me kicked in and I just decided to carry my sandwich in its wrap and try not to drop the napkin.  We are not just talking about grocery store bags folks.  Any carry out bag – department store, grocery store, sandwich shop, etc. is included.  According to a January 2nd article in The Huffington Post “It does not, however, apply to bags for prescription drugs, newspapers, garbage, pet waste, yard waste, restaurant leftovers and good[s] purchased at farmers markets.” 

You know what’s next don’t you?  These bags will become a fashion statement and people will be paying big bucks for GUCCI® and Coach™ grocery bags.  It’s only a matter of time!  You know you want one!     ~Amy

Day 318: The Sights and Sounds of the Capital Crescent Trail

The approach to the Tunnel

The approach to the Tunnel

“Ting!” goes the bell as the biker passes by and announces, “On your left.”  Thump, thump, thump, thump as the runner jogs past on the other side of the trail.  Shhhhhh…the wind whispers through the trees as the dry fall leaves rustle and float down to alight upon the path.  Crunch! as I step on a dry brown leaf that crumbles underfoot.

As I round the soft bend approaching Mile Marker 6.0, the Dalecarlia Tunnel comes into view in the distance.  A woman is walking her dog toward the tunnel.  It looks like a golden retriever perhaps as its tail swishes from side-to-side.

The Ghost of the Last Train

As they enter the tunnel with its yellowish light bulbs all in a row lining the ceiling like bread crumbs to lead the way out, an airplane rumbles overhead as it zips toward Reagan Airport in Washington, D.C.  As I soon enter the tunnel behind her, I can almost hear the echo of the last train to run through it in 1985.  “Whoo! Whoo!” goes the whistle and I hear the distant clack, clack, clack of the wheels that once rolled over the track where now only the ghost of it remains.

The Light at the end of the Tunnel

The Light at the end of the Tunnel

The last vestiges of fall color the landscape as I emerge from the Tunnel and take in this perfect autumn 73 degree day – a rare and wonderful treat!  It may perhaps be the last warm day of the year and I am so glad to be able to carve out some time to walk the Capital Crescent Trail – one of my favorite treasures of Bethesda.

For those who are not familiar with the trail, it was formerly known as the Georgetown Branch of the B&O Railroad, created in 1910 and then converted to a trail 78 years later thanks to the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C.

The Capital Crescent Trail spans a 10-mile distance from Silver Spring, MD to Georgetown in Washington, D.C.  It’s a favorite of 2-wheeled commuters, athletes and people who just stay fit while enjoying the outdoors.  One of the spots I appreciate most on the trail is the Dalecarlia Tunnel which was constructed in 1910.  If you look closely when walking through it, you will notice 4 “duck ins” – carved areas that were made for people who were stuck in the tunnel when a train would come; the train was probably shipping coal from Cumberland, MD to Georgetown in D.C.  The Roman arch brick tunnel is 18′ wide and 341′ long.  You can find the Tunnel between mile marker and 6.0 and 6.5.  It sits almost right at the Bethesda-D.C. line.

Mile Marker 4.5 near River Rd

Mile Marker 4.5 near River Rd

There are many places to access the Capital Crescent Trail.  A popular spot is on Bethesda Ave., across the street from Barnes and Noble.  Take some time to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Trail.  At any time of year you will enjoy a beautiful and relaxing experience.  You may come across deer, a fox or even one of your neighbors also taking in this special place.  ~Amy

Capital Crescent Trail Map, Bethesda

Capital Crescent Trail Map, Bethesda

Day 293: Green Home Expo at Bethesda Green

Green Home Expo - Oct. 22nd, 2011

Tomorrow, Saturday, October 22nd, Bethesda Green located at 4825 Cordell Ave will host the Green Home Expo.

The Green Home Expo is a free educational event.  Attendees will learn more about the many ways to make your home more energy efficient and how to become a more effective environmental steward in the community.  Presentations will occur throughout the day from 10 AM – 4 PM.

You can learn more about Bethesda Green and RSVP to attend the Green Home Expo event by visiting their website at www.bethesdagreen.org.  Or check out our previous blog about Bethesda Green from Day 34: It Ain’t Easy Being Green.

RE/MAX Green Agent

Sometimes the best way to make a positive stride towards environmental sustainability is to just take one step or make one small change in your routine or habits.  Perhaps the Green Home Expo would be a great way to decide what that one step might be.     ~Amy

Day 240: Maryland's First Solar Power Pole

Solar Pole in Bethesda

I was getting gas recently at the Exxon Station near the Wildwood Shopping Center this month when I noticed something peculiar that I had not seen before.  The strange device looked like a gas pump that was powered by solar panels.  Turns out I was looking at Maryland’s first “Sun-Tracking Electric Vehicle Charger”- the Solar Pole.  I’m a techie at heart and this thing is cool.

Governor Martin O’Malley and County Executive Isiah Leggett were on hand August 8th to unveil the Solar Power Pole, Maryland’s first high-efficiency, sun-tracking electric vehicle (EV) solar charging station.  Advanced Technology & Research Corp. (ATR), based in Columbia, Maryland developed the device that tracks the sun as the earth rotates to capture clean solar power.  The solar power is converted into electric power and then stored in the utility grid.

Standing at 18′ tall the Solar Pole has six solar panels on top of the pole and features a very small footprint designed for urban environments.  The Solar Pole can charge two electric vehicles at a time and an hour’s charge on the Solar Pole will translate into about 20 miles of vehicle driving.

A local commercial real estate owner, “Tripp” Aubinoe, installed the Solar Pole in the parking lot of his medical office building at 10401 Old Georgetown Road to provide service to his tenants and their customers.  He said that he installed the device in anticipation of a “flood of electric cars” to soon enter the market.  Last July ATR was awarded an $1.1 million dollar grant from the Maryland Energy Administration as part of Maryland’s effort to develop a green energy economy in the state. ~Brian

Day 146: Bethesda Fresh Farm Market

The event logo from BUP

Located on Norfolk Avenue at Veteran’s Park between Fairmont and St. Elmo Avenues, the Bethesda Freshfarm Market is open every Saturday from 9 AM – 1 PM through October 29, 2011 – rain or shine!  The first Freshfarm Market was begun in 1997 at Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. as a non-profit organization dedicated to sustainable agriculture in our local area. Their slogan is Promoting Food with a face, a place and a taste in the Chesapeake Bay region

According to the Freshfarm Market website, “all markets open and close with the ringing of a market bell and feature Chef at Market demos by renowned chefs, cookbook authors and passionate home cooks, who celebrate cooking with the seasonal foods in our region.”  Demonstrations tastings and book signings are common.

Chef from Freshfarm website

There are currently 11 markets in the region.  This year marks the second season for the Bethesda Freshfarm Market.  The market offers wonderful opportunities to get the freshest and best veggies, fruits, herbs, baked goods, meats, eggs, flowers and plants all grown or produced by the farmers within a 150 mile radius of the area.  Enjoy the opportunity to sample the seasonal varieties available within our region at their best.  When you want to check out specifically what’s available at the market at different times of year, visit the Freshfarm website or download the attached brochure.

There is another wonderful feature on the Freshfarm Market website that you may want to check out – a recipe finder.  You check off the ingredients you like and then click “search” and the site will respond with recipes using those ingredients.  But not only do you get the recipe, you also get information about the name and background of the chef who created it!  Very cool!  Try it on-line right here.

Bethesda Urban Partnership (BUP) is the sponsor of the Freshfarm Market in our town.  If BUP is involved, you can rest assured that no detail is missed.  They have put together a terrific group of vendors for our local market including:

Atwaters Bakery

Black Rock Orchard

Four Seasons Nursery

Garden Path Farm

Gunpowder Bison

Knouse Fruitlands

Mock’s Greenhouse

Praline Bakery

Spiral Path Farm

Sunset Valley Farm

Zahradka Farm and others.

The best part about the market is the cost – it’s FREE.  Well, at least until you find that special somethin’ that you can’t resist taking home with you!      ~Amy

Day 143: Save the Trail 5K Run May 28th

Photo from Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail website

The second annual Save the Trail 5K and Family Fun event is scheduled for May 28th.  There will be prizes, t-shirts, tote bags and children’s activities at Elm Street Park located at 4601 Willow Lane at 9am. The cost of the 5K run is $25 and registration is available on-line.  Proceeds will benefit the non-profit organization, Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail.  Registration is also available at packet pickup on Friday, May 27 from noon to 7 pm at Chevy Chase Running Company located at 4461 Willard Avenue in Friendship Heights or on race day at Elm Street Park, but sadly those who don’t register on-line won’t get a tee-shirt.

So, what’s this race all about?  It’s about saving a large portion of the Capital Crescent Trail from destruction due to the proposed Purple Line which would wipe out 20-acres of mature trees and habitat.  The highly controversial plan to add a new rail line has long been a source of debate for all and angst for some.  Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail has posted a link to many news articles, resources and information about why this plan may not be as much of a benefit as it is a detriment to our community.  In addition, the non-profit organization, Purple Line Now!, has a website dedicated to their arguments in favor of the construction of the new rail line.

Study the facts and comment with your opinion here on Bethesda365.   As a fan of the Capital Crescent Trail and a self-confessed tree hugger, I personally would hate to see the destruction of a such a pristine and wonderful natural resource in our community that, once changed, cannot be un-done.  While traffic snarls are apparent all over the greater DC area and there is a real need for better public transportation, it seems there should be a better option.  What do you think?      ~Amy

Day 142: The Wilds of Bethesda

The southern most point of the trail head

While on our recent sushi picnic at Cabin John Park, Brian and I noticed a trail head near our picnic bench.  Curious, we investigated further, as it was taunting us to just follow the little brown trail.  But thankfully, we did not blindly attempt a little afternoon walk in our work clothes and shoes.  This “Cabin John Trail” appeared from the map to be one heck of a hike!  Upon closer examination, we learned that this little nature walk through the woods and wilds of Bethesda followed a meandering and sometimes steep path through the Cabin John Stream Valley Park, up Seven Locks Rd – past Greentree Rd – past Democracy Blvd – past Tuckerman Ln – through Robert C. McDonnel Campground and ultimately up to Goya Rd near the intersection of Gainsborough and Seven Locks Rd.  The little ole’ hike is comprised of 8.8 miles of natural surface trail with some very picturesque views and sites (and some not-so-picturesque parts like a short walk next to River Rd).  Now don’t let me fool you into thinking I have hiked the thing.  I absolutely have not.  But I must admit, I want to!

If you, like me, want to explore all or part of this trail, there are several ways to skin this cat (that’s a terrible expression really).  You could take the 2.6 mile section from McArthur Blvd (Cabin John Park) to River Rd; the 1.2 mile section from River Rd to Bradley Blvd. or you could even bike the 1.8 mile section from Bradley Blvd to Democracy Blvd., among other options.  Please note that the first 1.2 mile section from Cabin John Park to its intersection with Seven Locks Rd is open only to hikers and presents some challenges in the form of very steep terrain.

The beginning of adventure

So when you tire of the big city and need some fresh air, exercise and a little adventure, you might fill your pack with water and some healthy snacks, don your sunglasses, bug spray and hiking boots, grab your walking stick and head on out to Cabin John Trail.  Please let us know if you do!  I would love some insider information on what to expect if I should dare go on this hike.  The last time I went on a hike ill prepared and unaware was at the Billy Goat Trail in Potomac and I nearly stepped on a snake and nearly slipped off a cliff!  Who knew I would have such high adventure just a short distance from our little quiet town of Bethesda?!  Perhaps Cabin John Trail will offer a little bit of the wild side of Bethesda.      ~Amy

P.S. Here is a link to the full map:  Cabin John Trail Map

Day 138: Bike to Work Bethesda, May 20th

Bethesda Let’s Bike to Work!

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association and Commuter Connections (WABA) will be hosting our local events for national Bike to Work Day tomorrow, May 20th.  Plan to connect with your neighbors and friends and share a 2-wheeled, ride-to-work experience!  There are four “pit stop” locations in Bethesda where you will pick up your event tee-shirt and begin your ride – one at Bethesda Naval Medical Center, two spots on the NIH campus and one spot in downtown Bethesda at the corner of Woodmont and Elm by Barnes and Noble.  The Downtown Bethesda pit stop is open from 6:30 AM – 8:30 AM.

If you’re interested in riding with a group, plan to join a convoy.  Convoy times, routes and information is available on the WABA website.  Check the starting time for your ideal pit stop location.

Although the event is absolutely FREE, you do need to register so get you should get on that now!  Here is the link: WABA Registration.

The event will also include entertainment, raffle prizes, food, drinks and more at all the pit stops throughout the region.  As a real estate agent, I am for once bummed that I don’t have to commute because I would love to participate in this event.  However, I encourage everyone to give this a try whether it would be your first time commuting to work by bike or one of many times.

In the words of John F. Kennedy, “Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride.” 

~Amy

Day 132: Bethesda Central Farm Market on Bethesda Lane

Bethesda Central Market

I was walking past Bethesda Lane yesterday when I spotted the Bethesda Central Farm Market.  This is a small market (three or four vendors) setup on the Bethesda Avenue side of the Bethesda Lane.  The vendors had a selection of bread, produce, baked goods, salami and sausage available. I of course gravitated to the home-baked chocolate cookies.  They were quite tasty and very large and are rumored to have five cookies per zip lock bag but somehow only three of the cookies made it home. 🙂

Rudy of Cat's Paw Organic Farm

I struck up a conversation with one of the vendors named Rudy Medicus.  I noticed the sign for his business said “Cat’s Paw Organic Farm.”  Intrigued I asked him about the name of the farm and nature of his “organic” operation.  He told me that the name came about because a mountain lion was a frequent visitor to the farm which is located in Union Bridge, MD, just west of Westminster, MD.  That’s right folks –a mountain lion!

Turns out our farmer is a Harvard trained Ph.D and when I asked him about the organic nature of his farm he replied, “I was farming organically before I even knew what “organic farming” meant.  He and his wife Judy’s farm is a Certified Organic Producer of vegetables and herbs by the Maryland Department of Agriculture.  Rudy is about to publish a book called “The Organic Way of Life.”  He is in the process of choosing a book publisher and when he does I hope to give pass along some tips in our blog.

Amazing Strawberries

Organic can mean a lot of things to different people but the U.S. Department of Agriculture has defined the term from a legal perspective and governs its use as it relates to food production and distribution.  Here’s what Maryland’s Department of Agriculture has to say about the term “Organic.”

Fresh Vegetables

Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation. Before a product can be labeled “organic,” a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must be certified, too. Organic certification means anyone who produces, processes or handles organic agricultural products must be certified by a USDA-accredited certifier in order to sell, label or represent their products as “organic.” Organic certification is not a guaranty of quality or purity of the product. Rather, it is evidence of the operation’s adherence to a prescribed system of agriculture and food production.

Awesome baked goods!

The Bethesda Central Market is open on Bethesda Lane on Thursday with new hours from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  You can also find The Bethesda Central Market on Elm street,  in the parking lot near the Regal movie theater between Woodmont and Wisconsin Avenue, on Sundays from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  Stop by and tell Rudy that Brian said “hi” and the chocolate cookies were delicious! ~Brian

Day 102: Shred it Bethesda!

Let's Shred Together

On April 15 & 16th, Mid-Atlantic Federal Credit Credit Union is offering a FREE paper shredding event in Bethesda.   They are inviting anyone to come on by their office located at 4831 Cordell Ave. (near Woodmont)and bring all your old files, statements and documents for FREE on-site shredding (I wonder if they have enough capacity for all of my stuff???).  The shredding will be done on-site, so in case you’re one of those who is really concerned about privacy or identity theft, you can watch the shredder tear up every last slip of paper as it is chewed up and spit out.

And this is not just some boring paper shredding event.  No, not at all.  Mid-Atlantic Federal Credit Union will also be providing free food, drinks and giveaways on Saturday from 11 Am to 1 PM. Plus, Chili Amar will be there from Mix 107.3 playing todays’ best hits!  So you can eat, drink and rock out while watching that paper shred!

Here are the official shredding times

  • Friday, April 15th 11:30 AM – 1 :30 PM and 4 PM – 6 PM
  • Saturday, April 16th – 10 AM – 1 PM

4831 Cordell Ave

By the way, I recently met with a representative from Mid-Atlantic Federal Credit Union and I must say, I was impressed with their organization.  If you are a resident of Montgomery County, you qualify to join.  Credit unions are member driven organizations and typically offer the lowest fee banking options around.  They offer both business and personal banking options.  If you have some time to stop by while your paper is shredding, check out what they have to offer.  I was very pleased to hear that you can access ATM’s at any CVS Pharmacy or 7-11 surcharge free with your credit union account!  Nice!

So Bethesda, do some spring cleaning!  When you head out to mail your tax returns on April 15th (or April 16th), stop by Mid-Atlantic Federal Credit Union with all your old documents and shred ’em!   ~Amy

Day 96: Bethesda Central Farm Market Opens Sunday!

All things fresh from the farm

Although our weather can’t seem to make up its mind lately about whether spring has arrived or not, one sure sign is the re-opening of our local farm markets.  For the third year in a row, Bethesda Central Farm Market will set up shop downtown, beginning this coming Sunday, April 10th.  The market will be open from 9 AM – 1 PM on Elm street between Wisconsin and Woodmont Ave.  There is also a smaller market held on Thursdays on Bethesda Lane from 11-3 that includes produce, bread, sausage and salami, olive oils.

The founders of the Bethesda Central Farm Market, with their extensive & impressive resume of foodie experience, are people who seem to have devoted their careers and their lives to improving their communities and to promoting the availability of healthy, organic foods to all.  Mitchell (Mitch) Berliner and Ann Brody Cove are both actively involved in philanthropic endeavors and play an active role in promoting many charitable and civic organizations.  They even accomplish this with the Farm Market by supporting organizations that help feed the hungry such as Manna Food Center, and that promote environmental sustainability such as Bethesda Green.

However in addition to all the “good works” for the community, their farmers and vendors of the market are selected so that it offers only the best of the best of produce, meat, seafood, poultry, flowers, cheese, baked & prepared goods and specialty items.  The market provides wholesome, organic locally grown food that’s responsibly offered through a convenient venue.  Most importantly, it’s easily accessible to the consumer.

Mitch and Ann state on their website, “We believe we have created a wonderful shopping and gathering experience for the community by bringing together an amazing group of farmers and producers. Our goal is to grow into a pivotal place in the neighborhood that provides sustainable food, supports the environment, and gives back to the community by helping the hungry.”

The Bethesda Central Farm Market also offers a terrific kid’s club beginning May 1st from 10 AM – 12 PM.  The club offers kids ages 4-11 the opportunity to participate in creating art and other interesting activities while learning about healthy living and eating.  On May 1st, the kids will make a flower pot recipe card holder – an ideal gift for Mother’s Day.  Other planned activities in coming weeks include a kite day, make-a-chef’s-hat day (ideal for Father’s Day), make your own ice cream and more.  The complete calendar as well as registration is posted on the website.

So mark your calendar for this Sunday – or any other Sunday this spring and summer – to visit the Bethesda Central Farm Market.  It’s good for you and good for the community, and you might just have an old-fashioned good time too.  ~Amy

Day 96: Bethesda Central Farm Market Opens Sunday!

All things fresh from the farm

Although our weather can’t seem to make up its mind lately about whether spring has arrived or not, one sure sign is the re-opening of our local farm markets.  For the third year in a row, Bethesda Central Farm Market will set up shop downtown, beginning this coming Sunday, April 10th.  The market will be open from 9 AM – 1 PM on Elm street between Wisconsin and Woodmont Ave.  There is also a smaller market held on Thursdays on Bethesda Lane from 11-3 that includes produce, bread, sausage and salami, olive oils.

The founders of the Bethesda Central Farm Market, with their extensive & impressive resume of foodie experience, are people who seem to have devoted their careers and their lives to improving their communities and to promoting the availability of healthy, organic foods to all.  Mitchell (Mitch) Berliner and Ann Brody Cove are both actively involved in philanthropic endeavors and play an active role in promoting many charitable and civic organizations.  They even accomplish this with the Farm Market by supporting organizations that help feed the hungry such as Manna Food Center, and that promote environmental sustainability such as Bethesda Green.

However in addition to all the “good works” for the community, their farmers and vendors of the market are selected so that it offers only the best of the best of produce, meat, seafood, poultry, flowers, cheese, baked & prepared goods and specialty items.  The market provides wholesome, organic locally grown food that’s responsibly offered through a convenient venue.  Most importantly, it’s easily accessible to the consumer.

Mitch and Ann state on their website, “We believe we have created a wonderful shopping and gathering experience for the community by bringing together an amazing group of farmers and producers. Our goal is to grow into a pivotal place in the neighborhood that provides sustainable food, supports the environment, and gives back to the community by helping the hungry.”

The Bethesda Central Farm Market also offers a terrific kid’s club beginning May 1st from 10 AM – 12 PM.  The club offers kids ages 4-11 the opportunity to participate in creating art and other interesting activities while learning about healthy living and eating.  On May 1st, the kids will make a flower pot recipe card holder – an ideal gift for Mother’s Day.  Other planned activities in coming weeks include a kite day, make-a-chef’s-hat day (ideal for Father’s Day), make your own ice cream and more.  The complete calendar as well as registration is posted on the website.

So mark your calendar for this Sunday – or any other Sunday this spring and summer – to visit the Bethesda Central Farm Market.  It’s good for you and good for the community, and you might just have an old-fashioned good time too.  ~Amy

Day 91: Planet Aid and My K-Swiss

Planet Aid Bin

When I was 11 years old (1974) I got my first pair of K-Swiss tennis shoes.  K-Swiss was the first leather tennis shoe and made its debut at Wimbledon with my tennis idol and arguably the best tennis player to ever play the game, Björn Borg.  A big strapping blonde-haired Swede (can you guess what I wanted to be?),  he won 11 grand-slam tennis titles between 1974 and 1981. Four French open titles and five consecutive Wimbledon titles (tied with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer respectively, who by the way have better designed tennis shoes today).  Out he strode with K-Swiss tennis shoes and the rest was history.

Well today I retired a bit of my past when I deposited a pair of all-white K-Swiss tennis shoes into the Planet Aid donation box.  Planet Aid is a non-profit organization that collects and sells donated clothes and shoes to support development in impoverished communities around the world.  With 11,000 yellow collection boxes in 20 states, Planet Aid recycles 100,000,000 pounds of used clothing and shoes, the equivalent of 254 Boeing 747 Jumbo jets!   The clothing, rather than entering a landfill somewhere, is instead bundled and sold to exporters, who then reuse and sell the clothing at affordable prices in the developing world.  The proceeds are then used to fund programs in Africa, Asia and Latin America, where Planet Aid has supported 60 projects in 15 countries to the tune of $60 million.  These projects include emergency and disaster relief, health, education, food production, and income generation for some of the world’s most impoverished people.  My K-Swiss tennis shoe donation today is a small part of reusing the discarded items from the rich part of the world to help my fellow brethren who did not “win the birth lottery” of the developed world, as Warren Buffet has been quoted as saying.  Here are a few of the locations where you can donate:

* 7-11 parking lot on River Road
* Citgo gas station on Westbard Avenue
* Western Market parking lot

Do you own a business?  You can host a bin if you have a 3×4 area that is easily accessible for pickup.  Click here to learn more.  The bins are emptied several times a week.

So my K-Swiss are headed to the developing world.  Perhaps a young person will slip them on and begin the journey to Wimbledon or the French Open, or perhaps just have an easier trek to the market.  Everything we do makes an impact somewhere.  Keep Planet Aid in mind next time something fits a little snug (which happens often to me because I am lucky to live here where food is abundant). According to the latest annual report from the qualified non-profit (IRS 501(c)(3)), 82% of the revenues the charitable organization receives go directly to supporting programs abroad.  ~Brian

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