Sometimes, it’s easy to take DC for granted, especially if you’ve lived here as long as I have. But there’s no better way to get a different perspective than with camera in hand. Here’s a little walking tour, complete with a map, of some of my favorite green spaces and places in and around Columbia Heights, U Street and Dupont Circle.
Apparently, we are smack dab in the middle of beet season, as I discovered during my visit to the Dupont Circle Farmer’s Market today. Virtually every produce stand was overflowing with the gorgeous red vegetables. It was a little slice of beet heaven.
I’ve been a beet lover since my childhood salad bar days, although those canned beets don’t stand a chance next to their freshly picked cousins. Not everyone is keen on beets. Apparently Obama won’t allow beets in the White House garden. He’s missing out.
A few years ago, I finally worked up the nerve to cook fresh beets myself; in the past I had always feared staining my hands and fingers forever scarlet and had avoided beet cooking at home. Thanks to the web, I learned how to cook beets and created a pretty tasty beet, arugula and goat cheese salad–one that, dare I say, can compete with those from restaurants around town (most of which I have sampled). Enjoy.
Beet, Goat Cheese, and Arugula Salad with Nuts
3 medium sized beets, roasted, cooled and peeled
6 oz of goat cheese (fresh if possible)
1 bag of arugula
3 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
slivered almonds or candied pecans for garnish
Cut the beets into quarters or slices, arrange over arugula, toss in the goat cheese, and garnish with slivered almonds. Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and drizzle over salad. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves about 3.
City dwellers who want to experience “farm to table” up close and personal should head to Common Good City Farm, a green oasis in LeDroit Park that supplies freshly picked fruits and veggies to DC’s low-income residents*.
Volunteers are needed to work on the farm and help with weeding, planting seeds, painting, and building. Before you can get your hands dirty, you’ll have to attend a 45-minute volunteer training session, which takes place at the farm on the first Saturday of each month at 9:30am. Plants, produce and herbs from the farm are sold at the Bloomingdale Farmers Market (1st and R Street, NW) from 10am – 2pm on Sundays.
In addition to being an urban farm, CGCF is also an education center offering workshops on everything from from composting and pickling veggies to how to cook a healthy meal for the whole family for less than $5.
*Since January 2007, CGCF has provided more than 150 bags of fresh produce to low-income DC families, taught more than 200 DC residents in workshops, engaged more than 250 DC school children, and hosted more than 400 volunteers.