FOOD: Season Kick Off of the Falls Church Farmers Market Chef

April 12, 2013 by · 4 Comments 

BY Kathleen Nixon
April 12, 2013
Falls Church Times Staff

As the weather has warmed up – considerably – we welcome the earlier hours of the Falls Church Farmers Market and the fifth season of the Farmer’s Market Chef Demonstrations. Last weekend the farmers’ market started opening up earlier, now at 8:00am, with a few vendors from the summer market.  We won’t be seeing the full contingent of summer vendors until later in May but a few will trickle in like Clear Spring Creamery.

The Farmers Market Chef series will kick off on Saturday April 20th with a market and series favorite, Willow Restaurant. The chef series always kicks off around Earth Day to remind us that eating locally and seasonally is another way to be green. The chef series will include other program favorites such as Bertrand Chemel, 2941, Will Artley, Pizzeria Orso and Andrew Dixon, Madfox Brewing Company. A new addition this year will be Lebanese Taverna and we look forward to seeing what they cook up later in the season.

All of the demonstrations occur in the Falls Church Farmers Market utilizing the produce and products available in the farmers’ market. Tastings and recipes are also provided throughout the two hour demonstration.

2013 Farmers Market Chef Demonstrations

April 20 Tracy O’Grady Willow – Restaurant and Nosh

May 18 Will Artley – Pizzeria Orso

June 15 DC Central Kitchen

July 13 Andrew Dixon – Madfox Brewing Company

August 10 Bertrand Chemel 2941

Sept 14  Lebanese Taverna

October 12 Steve Mannino American Tap Room

November 9  Tracy O’Grady Willow

FOOD: Spring Traditions

March 29, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

BY Kathleen Nixon
March 29, 2013
Falls Church Times Staff

Easter is second biggest chocolate selling time behind Christmas. But why do we crave those little chocolate eggs and bunnies at this time of year? The shapes of our chocolate delicacies revert back to the time of the Pagans. Eggs represented fertility and spring was celebrated in the Pagan belief as the festival of Eastre, which is the goddess of springtime. This goddess would make her earthly presence known each year in the form of a rabbit.

Why chocolate? As you may have heard in the 16th century Queen Elizabeth I banned hot cross buns because of her belief that the cross was a symbol of Catholicism. However, she did allow the pastry to be consumed during Easter and it was a big hit. The bakers throughout Europe were thrilled and very successful at selling pastries that the chocolate makers jumped at the chance to capitalize on the popularity.

It is not only the symbols that are a spring tradition; it is the bright and fanciful colors. These symbolize that it is time to shake off the dark grey clouds and coast of winter, and look to eye catching colors of spring.  So when I was invited in by a sign saying “Chocoholics enter here” a few weeks ago, it wasn’t the prospect of chocolate that captivated me it was the bright colors.

Artisan Confections, now in Mosaic, features fanciful chocolates with dazzling colors. You won’t find bunnies and eggs here, but neatly decorated chocolate squares. “Tiny works of art from your local micro-chocolatier” is how they put it. These freshly made masterpieces feature Valrhona chocolate from the south of France. Each work of art is then created adding in unique ingredients such as teas, mint, spices or liquors. The colors will entice, the flavor explosion will saturate your being.

When looking at the wide descriptions of flavors you run from comfort food standby such as Peanut Butter and Jelly, or Salted Caramel with sea salt, but it is the more exotic that will cause you to ponder the selection – Port Wine Fig, Earl Grey Tea or the Arnold Palmer with dark chocolate, lemon and black tea. My favorites? It’s hard to choose. I like the spice of the Ancho Chile or Madagascar Pepper, but the Lavender flower caramel was also too yummy to pass up.

The other spring tradition for me was always watching the Wizard of Oz. Spring break, Easter Sunday and Dorothy Gale that is when I knew spring was here. While it has been a long time since Toto danced across my television screen, I did thoroughly enjoy the new film Oz The Great and Powerful in 3D. There have been many 3D movies out for some time, but this film finally showcases how 3D can truly enhance a story.

Artisan Confections

Mosaic District Fairfax – in the same building as Target

2910 District Avenue Fairfax, VA 22031


Hours: Monday – Saturday 11am-7pm, Sunday 12pm-5pm

FOOD: March is the Cruelest Month

March 22, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

BY Kathleen Nixon
March 22, 2013

March is the cruelest month. This week we had snow, then 70 degree weather and then snow forecasted again for Monday. The Falls Church Farmers Market has been plagued with bad weather several Saturdays in a row according to Howard Herman, Farmers Market Manager. Usually this time of year, we hear from the farmers that they want to bring in early summer goods, but not this year.

What do you find now that is fresh? Kale is coming back and the tender greens are perfect for salads. Last fall, one of the Little City’s favorite chefs Andrew Dixon of Madfox Brewing Company did a kale salad with butternut squash bacon for a Falls Church Farmers Market Chef Demonstration. Fortunately we have a special video of Andrew making the salad for the crowd at the market. The demonstration series will start up in April and shortly thereafter we can welcome back many of the familiar and new farmers’ market vendors.

March is when we start putting things in the ground such as potatoes and peas. Around our house we call it March Madness, not the basketball brackets but the bareness in the garden that drives you crazy that you think you need to put more plants in the yard to fill up all the bare spots. Take heart your garden will fill out in a month or two.

And while you may think warmer weather will never get here, have heart as there will be tomatoes soon! Spring Valley Farm and Orchards just posted on their Facebook page that tomatoes are showing up on the vines in their greenhouses. Other vendors have tomatoes started in their greenhouse as well. And why do we always use tomatoes as the temperature gauge for fresh food rather than look at what is seasonal and local?

FOOD: A Little Gem in Western Maryland

March 8, 2013 by · 3 Comments 

Falls Church Times Staff
March 6, 2013

As we settled into our sitting area a few winter weekends ago, my husband said “this really is a little gem” referring to our cabin at Savage River Lodge. After just under three hours away from the City of Falls Church and after a lovely stop for lunch in Frederick at Family Meal, our drive dipped down into a canyon, across a meadow stream and then up Savage River Mountain.

In the winter, if you do not have four or all wheel drive, you either have to call to be picked up or don’t bother coming. The road is plowed but still needs extra traction to get up to the main lodge and even some cars (Audis) still don’t make it. If you try to chance it and get stuck, it is a $250 charge to get pulled out. This seclusion is worth it because at the end of the road is a luxurious and sumptuous get away for you and possibly your favorite furry friend.

Once at the main lodge, you feel like you have returned to your family’s mountain retreat. Rough hewn walls,  comfy chairs and a huge fireplace welcome you to your retreat. This lodge has seen many of my family celebrations – birthday, anniversaries, holidays and the all important get a way.

Savage River Lodge is set on 45 acres surrounded by 750 acres of the Savage River State Forest in western Maryland. You are very far removed from traffic congestion, hub-bub of urban life and most importantly TV or electronics of any kind. The lodge was started by Jan and Mike Russell after forming Nature of Business, a management development program founded on the principle that nature can teach us personally and organizationally how to succeed.

After purchasing the land in 1990, the long road was started. Literally as the road and bridge to the main lodge was not finished until 1998 with the lodge and cabins completed in 2001. Each of the 18 cabins is a serene get away with a loft for sleeping, a cozy sitting room with gas burning stove and a porch.  All the cabins are similar in layout but offer different views of the forest, which is right outside your door. You can step out of your cabin and be on one of the many hiking or cross country skiing trails. The favorite and easiest trail being the Bodhi’s Green trail which circumvents the main property and allows secluded views of the forest and its valley’s to and from the main lodge or just to take a walk.

In following Jan and Mike’s environmental vision, many “green” enhancements have been made along the way to support their business venture. Biodiesel was first used in 2008 utilizing the restaurant’s cooking oil to power all of the equipment on the property and in 2010 350 solar panels were installed on the hillside behind the Main Lodge. Mike has done all this himself and provides many tidbits to interested parties. These conversations have been helpful to my family as Virginia and the City of Falls Church seems to be void of any green energy practitioners.

The lodge has a restaurant that may serve most of your meals. You do receive a lovely morning basket with muffins, juice and the daily lodge newsletter. The lodge restaurant serves breakfast/brunch/lunch on the weekends from 9am to 2pm and dinner all evenings. You can go off property for your meals, but you really won’t want to. A leisurely walk through the forest to the lodge where a sumptuous meal awaits is what getaways are all about.

During the warmer weather the restaurant offers a lovely porch with a commanding view of the meadow and surrounding forests. Hummingbird feeders and flower filled planters frame the view. In the winter, the dining room just beyond the bar is warm and cozy. The lodge works with several area farms for their ingredients including a new partnership with Firefly Farms for their goat cheese.

The new chef Tylor Dinteman has significantly expanded the menu including several vegetarian options including Grilled Trumpet Mushrooms served over black Beluga lentils and Heirloom Bean Cassoulet served with mushrooms and root vegetables. The rest of the menu has also been expanded to include several new dishes for brunch and dinner.

For breakfast I was enthralled with “The Hunter” omelet with caramelized mushrooms, melted leeks, smoked Gouda and wilted arugula. Omelets sometimes are too big and too wet for me, but this omelet was so perfect that I had it both mornings. The caramelized mushrooms and melted leeks supported the smoked Gouda, so the overall taste was warm and inviting with just enough bite from the arugula.  Maple glazed bacon – maple from trees on property – was thick and crunchy.

For dinner the Lodge Meatloaf is a favorite with its unique bland of wild meats, pork and beef with fresh herbs, spice and local maple syrup that is wrapped in apple wood smoked bacon, finished with cabernet mushroom demi glace. The new menu includes several new items such as a Lamb Cassoulet a lamb loin with braised lamb, Brie Stuffed Chicken Breast and a duo of Pork which includes a pork ragu tossed with fresh pasta served with a roasted pork tenderloin.

One of the new additions is a partnership with Firefly Farms and you can see this at its best with either a private tasting at the farm or for dessert by choosing the cheese plate. I am partial to cheese after dinner rather than dessert so I was thrilled to see this addition to the menu and impressed by the selection of cheeses presented.

For your dining pleasure there is an extensive wine list which has been noted by both the Wine Spectator and the Wine Enthusiast as being exceptional. I tend to agree.

In addition to the secluded and lovely location and the wonderful food, the Savage River Lodge is a very the dog friendly environment. The current lodge canine hosts are Koko and Karma who just celebrated their third birthday – 21 in people years – and they were able to enjoy their first micro brew.  Besides seclusion, luxurious hospitality and environmental responsibility, canine comfort is important to the team at Savage River Lodge. In your cabin there are supplies that all dog parents need – towels, bowls and bags. If you need any treats, they are freshly baked on the premises. If you would like to treat your pup to a gourmet meal, there is a menu to select from. And in your morning breakfast, you will find a sumptuous doggie treat for your pup along with your muffins and juice. Dogs are allowed everywhere on the property except in the Main Lodge and only need to be on leash in and around the cabins. There are plenty of puppy stations throughout the main property equipped with bags and trash receptacles. Ill behaved puppies and their families are noted and not invited back.

Savage River Lodge is located off of Interstate 68 just outside of Frostburg Maryland. The cabins are all the similar with differences being in size of the bed and view. They range from $225-$245. There is a pet fee of $30 per night. There is a two night minimum on the weekends, and a three night minimum on holiday weekends. The lodge notes that it is an adult centered retreat and does not have activities or sitting arrangements for children as well as a very limited children’s menu in the restaurant.

Savage River Lodge
1600 Mt. Aetna Road
Frostburg, MD 21532
Phone:   301-689-3200

FOOD: Cooking Primer – Good Food from Good Ingredients

March 1, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

BY Kathleen Smith
March 1, 2013
Falls Church Times Staff

Every now and then you need a refresher on basic cooking techniques; no matter how many reruns of Julia Child you watch, we all need a reminder of some of the basics. With so many diets, fads and trends that have clouded the landscape it is difficult to remember – do we use oil, butter or nothing? What is wet versus dry cooking? And not only how will this taste but how will it be good for me?

We recently attended a cooking class titled “Basic Meat Cookery Methods” which included Pan Searing, Braising, and Poaching. The class was part of a series of cooking classes taught at the Fields Of Athenry farm, outside of Middleburg which also raises beef, lamb, duck, turkey, chicken and goose while sourcing pork from a local Mennonite farmer.

The class setting is intriguing as it is part of a farm kitchen and many of the ingredients for the class could be purchased in the farm store. The farm, class and chef follow the Weston Price Foundation philosophies which believe that healthy lives are only possible if we eat nutrient dense foods and animal fats prepared in traditional manner from ingredients that are raised sustainably, organically and responsibly.

The class is taught by Chef Wes Rosati, formerly the Executive Chef at Landsowne Resort and now formally part of the Fields of Athenry farm.  Chef Wes has been a long supporter of sustainably raised foods, so he fits in perfectly with the farm which adheres to sustainable farming practices.

For our class, the menu was set: Steak au Poivre, Braised Lamb Osso Bucco with Red Wine Integral Jus, and Poached Salmon with Winter Vegetables all which we were able to see prepared and then enjoy lunch. It was a sunny cold winter afternoon, but the class kitchen was warm and toasty and while observing the class we enjoyed local cheeses complemented with local wines.

The basics of the class centered on understanding that there are two different types of cooking for meat and fish: wet and dry. Depending on what end result you were looking for, you chose the appropriate method. Chef Wes first built a vegetable broth that would be used to poach salmon. Poaching is a wet method that requires first building a broth, which he did utilizing seasonal vegetables that could poach, create a sauce and maybe later use as a nice soup base.

Onions were first sauteed in lard, but coconut oil or ghee could be used. Chef Wes shared that certain sautéing ingredients are easier for the body to digest, thus he uses lard, ghee or coconut oil. Then adding spices, primarily turmeric, which is especially beneficial in a diet, he then deglazed with some wine. After this he added in lemon, garlic and his other vegetables – kale, carrots, turnips, celery and covered them with water and simmered. He shared that when using herbs distinguishing between hard and soft herbs that will stand up to cooking; using the hard herbs – thyme, rosemary, first and then following with the softer herbs such as oregano, parsley or chives.

After cooking for 15 minutes the broth is ready to use to poach the salmon. The salmon is first prepared with sea salt – again a more easily digestible form and better for the overall diet – and pepper and set at room temperature. The poaching took about 10 minutes, 5 minutes each side and then was served with some of the vegetables in the broth. The vibrant colors and delicious taste brighten up the winter afternoon. What was even for sublime, was that my husband was able to recreate the entire dish a few nights later using salmon from the farmers market.

The next dishes – steak au poivre and chicken – featured the dry method but using a spice rub or just plain salt and pepper, and high heat to seal in the juices. The preferred cuts for this method were Sirloin, or Delmonico as well as just a plain chicken breast. The key in this method is to use a high heat and patience – just a few minutes. This allows the ‘sealing” of the meat which happens as the meat pulls away from the pan. The final dish involved braising which is a long slow cooking process again in a broth, a heartier one than poaching, and a cut of meat that is fattier. The slow cooking allows the fat in the meat to render down creating a melt in your mouth texture.

The next class available is on March 9th which will feature how to prepare proteins with an accompanying pan sauce, a basic Sauce Bolognese and vegetable cookery. The demonstrated dishes will be: Pork Tenderloin Medallions with an Apricot and Red Onion Compote, Beef and Lamb Bolognese, Roasted Cauliflower, Sautéed Garlicky Kale.

The team at Fields of Athenry is developing a spring schedule of classes, so check their website for updates on upcoming classes. The Fields of Athenry will also be providing the “pop up wellness café” at the March 10th Grow Your Health conference occurring at the Woodson High School in Fairfax. The Wellness Festival will be featuring a food documentary called “In ORGANIC We Trust” as well as gardening classes and local foods panel discussions.


FOOD: Winter’s Bounty at the Farmers Market

January 25, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

January 25, 2013
Falls Church Times Staff

It is hard to believe but vegetables do grow in the winter around here. Our region is fortunate to have temperate climate and hardy, ingenuous farmers which create a bounty of winter vegetables available at our local farmers markets.  Given the cold snap that we have had the last week, one can appreciate the hard work of our local farmers who get up and out into the single digits to not only tend the farm but also pick, pack and drive to set up at the farmers market by 9am on Saturday morning.

There has been a growth in the number of winter farmers markets throughout the country due to an increased interest in local seasonal food sourcing and farmers adapting efficient growing techniques to their climates. Winter markets – markets that operate at least once between November and March- now account for 24 percent of the USDA’s National Farmers Market Directory. There are 1,864 winter farmers markets in the country, which is up 52 percent from 2011.

Each winter season brings new vendors to the Falls Church Farmers Market and the return of many of the stalwart vendors who do not want to disappoint their regular customers. This season saw the return of many market favorites such as Atwaters, Blue Ridge Dairy, Cibola Farms, Valentines, Pancha Dulce, Flowers of the Forest, Mother Earth Mushrooms, Toigo Orchards, Stachowski’s, Bonaparte’s, Union Street Soapworks, Smith Meadows, Grace’s Bakery, Wisteria Gardens and Cavanna’s to name just a few. What this means is that you can still shop for your weekly groceries at the farmers market by educating yourself on how to prepare many of these plentiful winter vegetables and produce.

The winter market is also a time for new vendors to try the market out and for customers to get to know the new vendors. This is a trial period for both; a vendor may not have anticipated correctly the impact of a new market on their product supply; the community may not truly appreciate a vendor’s product or personality.

New this year is an array of vendors from salmon to vegetables, microgreens to prepared foods. You will notice that the winter market now wraps around the City Hall parking lot similar to the summer market due to the increase of new and returning vendors.

Nourish Market, the retail operation that took over Kennedy’s and Kasha Kitchen, is offering a variety of soups using Virginia farm raised chicken and organic vegetables along with gluten free and vegan soups using organic veggies.  Other items will include gluten free brownies and organic salad dressings

Spring Valley Farm and Orchard is from Romney West Virginia and they have been providing winter vegetables to area markets for seven seasons. They are able to do this because of their nine heated greenhouses as well as cold hardy vegetables grown in the field under floating row covers. They will be offering vegetables such as beets, Brussels sprouts, potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, salad greens, butternut squash, apples, Swiss chard, and edible pumpkins which were planted earlier in the fall.

New Day Farms is providing a new product class to the market: micro-greens which provide a higher concentration of nutrients than your regular sized vegetables. I tried this out with the wheatgrass and sunflower seed shoots. The wheatgrass was sweet and was sweeter when I added it to my juicer. The sunflower shoots are nutty and crunchy providing a nice munching snack in the dead of winter to replace the salty nuts that many of us crave but probably shouldn’t have too much. Micro greens are available now and green house heirloom tomatoes later in the season.

Bees’n Blossoms provides a wide variety of honey, pollen and creamed honey products which should help “most” get through the winter without Howie’s Honey.

And finally Cold Country Salmon providing King, Chinook, and Sockeye salmon as well as smoked salmon and crab legs. The salmon is awesome and what is better is the descriptions of travel and fishing by Traveler Terpening. Everything and anything you want to know about Alaska, salmon fishing or live in the great outdoors you can find out from Traveler. Grab your coffee and stop by to listen to Traveler spin you a tail. Cold Country Salmon also is offering “shares” of wild salmon similar to a CSA share. You order, Traveler and his family fish for it and deliver it to you by next September.

As to winter farming, if you would like to see some of this ingenuity such as high tunnels, double tunnels, passive solar or vermicomposting in action there are two remaining lecture-tours in the Winter Farming lecture series programs after this weekend. One will be at Eco City Farms, with the last farm on the tour being Falls Church Farmers Market’s own Tree and Leaf Farms.

We would also like to welcome the Falls Church Farmers Market to the social media space. You can now follow the Falls Church Farmers Market on Facebook, just like you can follow the Falls Church Farmers Market Chef.

And if you are looking for some recipes on how to prepare many of the winter vegetables, you can check out the Recipes section of the Falls Church Farmers Market Chef website.

John Michael Enright, 70, Former City Council Member

January 18, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

January 18, 2013
Falls Church Times Staff

Former long time Falls Church resident, and City Council member,  John Michael Enright, 70, died at home, Monday, January 7, 2013, with his wife Louisa and his sister Maryann Enright at his side.  John chose the outstanding staff of Kno-Wal-Lin Hospice and Dr. Ira Mandel to manage the last stages of his cancer, and they kept him so comfortable that he was out in the community up until the Saturday preceding his death.

John attended St. Clements High School (1960) and Tufts University (1964), both in Medford, MA.  He graduated from Tufts with a BA in Government.  Having completed the Tufts’ ROTC program, John was sworn in as an officer in the United States Air Force and was assigned to the 544th Aerospace Reconnaissance Technical Wing at Offutt Air Force Base in Offutt, Nebraska, where he worked in intelligence (1964-1968).  At Offutt, he met and married, in 1966, Louisa Philpott Enright, the daughter of Lt. Gen. Jammie M. and Lucy Bryan Philpott.

John worked at Planning Research Corporation from 1968 to 1992, first working in Intelligence Systems and then moving to Civil Systems in 1978, where he was made a Vice President.  He worked at Andover, MA-based Dynamics Research Corporation from 1992 to 2004 as their Washington, DC, marketing representative.

John and Louisa lived in Falls Church, VA, from 1968 to 2004.  John, at 32, was elected to the Falls Church City Council in 1974, the youngest councilman ever elected at that time.  He was a Commissioner of the Northern Virginia Planning District.  He retired to Camden, Maine, in 2004, and John often expressed that these years were the happiest of his life.

In Camden, John was on the Board of Directors of the Camden Area Futures Group, The Coastal Counties Workforce, The Camden Conference, and The Community School.  And, John served as Roger Moody’s Treasurer during Moody’s two successful campaigns for Knox County Commissioner.  John was a member of the Camden Rotary and the MidCoast Forum for Foreign Relations.

Even from Maine, John stayed in touch with Falls Church, often providing comments in the Falls Church Times and other local publications.  In particular, he was an avid reader of the Falls Church Times Food column and often communicated with the author about his experiences with the Falls Church Farmers Market and area restaurants.

John was predeceased by his parents, John Joseph Enright and Norah T. O’Connell of Ireland and Somerville, MA.  John is survived by his wife, Louisa; his sister Maryann Enright, a Sister of Saint Joseph in Boston, MA, and his brother, James Gerard Enright of Surprise, AZ; his sons and his daughter-in-laws J. Michael Enright and Tamara Kelly Enright and Bryan J. Enright  and Corinne Casacio Enright of Isle of Palms, SC; and his grandchildren Bowen, Kelly, Talula, Wilhelmina,  and Ailey.

John’s life was celebrated at the Camden Congregational Church in a service led by T. Richard Snyder and Maryann Enright, csj.  The Long Funeral Home has a memory book and information on donations to local organizations at their web site,  And, donations can be made also to Kno-Wal-Lin Hospice, 170 Pleasant St., Rockland, ME 04841.

FOOD: Winter Farming

January 4, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

January 4, 2012
Falls Church Times Staff

While winter may have us in its icy grip, we do still have access to local seasonal vegetables such as kale, spinach, carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, and a wide variety of Asian greens. Many farmers markets including our own continue to provide fresh local vegetables. But what about growing your own? Yes, it is still possible to have vegetables growing in your garden like spinach, kale and carrots like I have in mine throughout the winter, but you would have had to plant them a little earlier in the fall. But why share this with you now? If you are like me, the seed and gardening catalogs have started to arrive in your mailboxes. Out with the gift catalogs and in with fantasizing about perfect well weeded tomato, zucchini and pepper gardens.

What I have enjoyed about this year’s seed catalogs is the opportunity to learn about heirloom seed varieties that will do well in our area in the winter. As I plan my spring and summer garden, I also pick a few vegetables that I will put in at the end of summer that will continue to grow throughout the end of the year and be harvested next winter.

Many of the farms in our area practice four season farming to support various CSAs ( Community Supported Agriculture ) and restaurants. My favorite book on this is Eliot Coleman’s Four Season Harvest which I read frequently. While many may think that we cannot grow food year round in our climate, Elliot shows how he has done this in northern Maine for several years based on techniques he learned in northern France.

Better than reading about this, you can actually see how this is done locally through the Winter Farming Lecture Series provided by the Accokeek Foundation. They are offering a four Saturday lecture series starting January 12 at local farms that support the Washington DC area with winter produce. One of the farms featured is Tree and Leaf Farm in Unionville, Virginia who is a regular year round vendor at our local farmers market. You can go to one or all four of the lectures.

This is an opportunity to get out and see winter farms in action, pick up a few gardening tips and maybe think about growing your own vegetables next winter.

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