You Say Tomato, I Say Palooza

Attendees of the Common Good City Farm’s first annual Tomato-palooza took home fresh produce from the event.

On a warm sunny day at the Common Good City Farm, which is adjacent to Bloomingdale’s Le Droit Park, 30 paid attendees gathered to learn the ins and outs of canning crushed tomatoes. Common Good’s first annual Tomato-palooza happened on Sunday, Aug. 21, at the local farm. The attendees listened intently as their instructor for the day, Cathy Barrow – better known as Mrs. Wheelbarrow – took them through her six steps of canning tomatoes. After starting by blanching, coring, and peeling the tomatoes and scooping out the seeds, the attendees crushed, boiled, mashed, scooped, ladled, and sealed over 100 combined pounds of tomatoes, which they took home to be stored for up to a year.

The event was put on by Washington’s Green Grocer and spearheaded by the organization’s owner and founder, Lisa Zechiel. The Green Grocer has been providing produce for 23 years. Founded in 1994 by Lisa and her husband Zeke, it distributes local fresh produce throughout the DC area. Their motto? “Were proud to sell you a lemon!”

Barrow addressed the group as they enjoyed a fresh lunch with a salad of vegetables from the garden at Bloomingdale’s The Pub and the People. Her calm manner and worn apron gave the feel of cooking at home. Mrs. Wheelbarrow, after teaching the group how to can, provided each person with a list of instructions on the process, along with a Green Grocer tote bag and some additional fresh produce. Her cookbook, “Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry,” is available at

Lisa Zechiel said that Washington’s Green Grocer has other similar events in the plans throughout the city, with topics and activities varying based on the season. In the meantime, for one of the area’s widest selections of fresh produce and fun recipes, visit online at

Common Good City Farm, located on V Street NW adjacent to Le Droit Park, will be hosting its annual event, “A Night on the Farm,” on Thurs., Oct. 6. Visit online at

Happenings in Bloomingdale

As the summer draws to a close, Bloomingdale remains a hub of activity. Here is a rundown of events as the seasons turn.

On Sat., Sept. 10, the Metropolitan Wesley AME Zion Church at North Capitol and R streets NW will be hosting a free block party featuring food and activities. The 100 block of R Street NW will be blocked off for the event. Also on Sept. 10, the church is hosting a crab feast, which it describes as a “restoration event.” Tickets for the feast are $65 each.

Yet again on Sept. 10, DC Water has extended a special invitation to residents of Bloomingdale and Le Droit Park to attend its first “Family Water Festival” at the Bryant Street Pumping Station (301 Bryant St. NW). The free event will feature face painting, balloon artists, and photos with DC Water mascot Wendy the Water Drop. The event is to celebrate the near completion of the First Street Tunnel. For more information or to RSVP, email

A six-week improv course will be starting on Mon., Sept. 12, at Bloomingdale’s Unified Scene Theater. It will run on Mondays from 7 to 9 p.m., through October, with the final week’s graduation show on Oct. 24. Students will learn about the basics of the craft, using games and exercises such as those made popular by shows like “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” This round of classes is sold out, but those interested in a future round should contact for more information. The Unified Scene Theater is at 80 T St. NW.

The monthly Bloomingdale Civic Association meeting will take place in the basement of St. George’s Episcopal Church at 160 U St. NW on Sept. 19.

Art All Night will take place from 7 p.m. on Sept. 24 to 3 a.m. on the 25th, on seven main streets throughout the city. This year’s festival, dubbed “Made in DC,” will feature art and collections from DC artists only. The art will encompass paintings and also photography, fashion, performing arts, and more. For more information on the festival visit

Finally, for those worried that their favorite farmers’ markets may be closing, there is still plenty of time! The Bloomingdale Farmers’ market will continue to convene every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in front of Big Bear Cafe, at the corner of First and R streets NW.

Max Moline is a communications specialist living in DC. He frequents Nationals Park and enjoys writing about food as much as he does eating it. He’s always looking for new places to try. Rooftops and cigar lounges are a plus! Get in touch:; @MaxMoline425.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.