Monday, June 30, 2008

No Phinney Farmers Market This Week

There will be no Phinney Farmer’s Market on Friday, July 4, because the farmers are taking a holiday too!

Meanwhile, save the Date of August 24 for “The Incredible Feast – Where the Farmers Are the Stars” - Seattle’s gathering of gourmet chefs and local farmers, with over 25 unique dishes made from delicious local farm products – plus live music, country-fair-style games, a wine & beer garden, and more!

The Feast takes place Sunday, August 24, 4-7pm, at the Phinney Farmers Market site. Tickets available starting mid-June on (adults $65, children aged 5-13 are $10, aged 4 and under are free). All proceeds to benefit the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance and the Good Farmer Fund. For more information, call (206)632-5234.

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Saturday, June 21, 2008


The world is not likely to run out of beer anytime soon, certainly not before the PNA's annual Summer Beer Taste on July 19th (see below), but I wouldn't be surprised to see a similar headline on at least one of Seattle's daily papers any time now. (You know which one I referring to!)

Perhaps you've heard talk or seen the news that brewski is costing more moolah lately because of that darn bio-fuel! Well, like most things in the news, it isn't exactly so. For a reasonable assessment of this crisis (sorry… I'm writing like a journalist again!) you could do worse than to read this article in the June issue of Geotimes magazine. Be sure to take the poll "If the cost of beer went up, would you change what you drink?"

Personally, I'm walking to the beach this July 4th and taking a big, not-plastic, jug of tap water!

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Talking Trash

Some PNA staff and community members are getting serious about waste reduction.

We want to send less to the landfill. We want to compost more. We want to recycle. The PNA has made the leap to weekly clean green pickup, which means we can compost all food scraps (meat and dairy too) not just veggies!

You can help.

Level one: When at the PNA, THINK about your garbage and where it should go. Can it compost? Can it be recycled? Does it need to go to the landfill? If you don't see the right place to dispose of it, ASK!

Level two: A team is forming to help improve composting and recycling options at the PNA. We are looking at the current systems and designing improvements that will make it easy for everyone who comes to the PNA to sort and dispose of things properly. New bins, clear signs, new waste vendors and programs, maybe even worm bins on site! If you want to be a part of this committee, contact

For instance, did you notice that most waste produced at the Phinney Farmer's Market is compostable? ALL of the food scraps (plate scrapings including meat, cherry pits, carrot tops, etc) paper plates, and napkins, should go in the compost bin. Pizza boxes are compostable if they are greasy, and recycleable if they are clean! They get stacked next to the bins.

Anything recyclable at home can go in the recycle bin here, too.

Really, if we get it right, just about the only things in the landfill-bound trash can should be plastic utensils, plastic lids, and drinking straws, (and if you must--disposable diapers and dog poop)! We may even get our vendors to switch to compostable utensils and cups, so keep your eye out for that!

Help us out, if you see something in the wrong bin, be a good neighbor and sort it out!

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

To Beer Or Not To Beer, That Is The Question

Don’t miss Shakesbeer in the Parking Lot, the 3rd Annual PNA Summer Beer Taste on Saturday, July 19, from 4 to 7 p.m. Beer tasting, music, snacks and fun takes place outside in the lower parking lot of the Phinney Neighborhood Center, 6532 Phinney Ave. North.

Tickets cost $22 for PNA members, $27 for the general public and $10 for designated drivers and can be purchased at the Phinney Neighborhood Center or online at Admission includes your choice of ten tastes from a variety of microbrews plus pub style snacks. Meet local brewers, learn about their brewing styles and enjoy the results.

Cheers to our Summer Beer Taste Sponsors, The Barking Dog Ale House, the Park Pub and Prost! Drink locally and enjoy a summer beer at one of these neighborhood pubs.

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New Preschool Programs At PNA

The Phinney Neighborhood Association is pleased to announce the addition of two new half-day preschool programs beginning in September. Each half-day preschool program will operate daily throughout the school year from 9 a.m. - noon. One will be onsite at the Phinney Neighborhood Center (PNC) the other will be at Whittier Elementary School in Ballard.

The PNA’s new half-day preschool programs are modeled after our popular Whittier Kids! full day preschool program. The new programs will offer preschool age children (ages 3 - 5) daily opportunities for learning and growth and will feature a low staff to child ratio of 1:6. The preschools will use the Creative Curriculum, a play based curriculum model for early childhood. Both new preschools will offer child centered play, circle time, field trips, music and dance, dramatic play, arts & crafts, science investigations, learning centers, sensory explorations and much more fun! In addition, the new preschools will offer flexible scheduling to best meet the individual needs of families.

For more information on the new half-day preschool programs, please contact the PNA at (206) 783-0851 or Registration information can also be found on our website at

[This post is from the current edition of the Phinney Ridge Review]

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Phinney-Greenwood New Business Round Up

By Travis Warren
[This post is from the current edition of the Phinney Ridge Review]

Thanks to the many new local businesses popping up along Greenwood and down 65th. this summer the Phinney-Greenwood neighborhood is filled with new possibilities for adults and children looking to learn, play, shop, drink, remodel or enjoy a meal.

First off, on the Phinney-Greenwood corridor a new café opened its doors in March at 8560 Greenwood Ave. The Sip and Ship is the second location... for this unique combination coffeehouse, gift shop and shipping center. Like its sister store in Ballard, the Greenwood Sip and Ship has a decidedly local feel. Upon entering you might notice the Greenwood gear in the boutique area to your right, while to the left there is a full service café stocked with local pastries and coffee from Olympia-based roaster, Batdorf and Bronson. Continuing on to the back of the store, a customer can ship packages at the shipping counter, set up a private mailbox or peruse the local art hanging on the ample wall space.

If you’re in the area without a package to ship or a coffee craving but you do have a toddler who’s full of energy, you might consider stopping by Playmatters on Greenwood at 77th. Playmatters is an 1100 square foot activity- focused facility, offering games, toys, and space geared towards children five and under. Owner Val Anker has applied her 20 years of experience working with children to the facility. From the organic cleaning products she uses to the various workshops offered in the evenings, Playmatters is an excellent resource for both parents and children. Playmatters is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. for drop in visits and Sunday for events.

After witnessing the bright greens, oranges and purples of Playmatters you might be inspired to create a bright new play space of your own. The folks at Space: a Design Build Collective have opened a new showroom on 76th and Greenwood and will be happy to help you with all aspects of your project. At the Space Design Center a person can expect to find advice and services on topics as varied as ecologically friendly building materials to the details of feng shui design. A design consultation onsite is available at a fraction of the cost of an at-home visit. The professionals who make up the collective offer comprehensive resources for any building or décor related task. The Space Design Center is open Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and by appointment Tuesday and Wednesday.

Traveling a little further south onto Phinney, Chef Tokara has some unique catering options for those who have perhaps just finished their dream remodel and are looking to entertain friends and family. Tokara Japanese Confectionery is located at 6208 Phinney Ave. If you peak through the gate you’ll be greeted by the sight of the sweetest Zen garden this side of the Arboretum. The confectionery is open only on certain days every year, generally coinciding with the dates of Japanese festivals. Those in search of traditional Japanese confections need not wait for the doors to open however, as Chef Tokara’s creations can be pre-ordered for special events or be found around Seattle at various cafés and restaurants.

Delicious Japanese confections may make a person thirsty and brew master Joel Vandenbrink is doing his best to quench that thirst at Two Beers Brewing Company. Located on 49th and Aurora, Two Beers is a distribution only brewery filling kegs and the occasional growler for local beer lovers. Currently available at the Park Pub, beer enthusiasts can expect to find the Crooked Belgium Wit, Two Beers’ seasonal offering. In addition to a rotating seasonal, Joel will also be filling kegs with his 20/20 Blonde Ale and Immersion Amber Ale, offered year round. Look for the fledgling brewery at this year’s Washington Brewers Festival at St. Edwards Park over Father’s Day weekend.

If Two Beers’ malted delights have made you thirsty for another tasty brew or if you’re looking for a fine establishment to enjoy a friendly football (soccer) match on the television, The Dray might be the place for you. Just opened on corner of NW 65th and 7th The Dray offers coffee, pastries and sandwiches for the whole family from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m., while catering to the 21 and older crowd from 9 p.m. until close. Much of the décor includes custom touches from local artisans and free wifi is available. Co-owner and bartender Travis Eaton will be standing by to serve a latte, pour a pint or fill a growler.

It’s been theorized that Asian-inspired tapas and beers go together just as well as soccer and beers but if you’re not one to take an expert’s word for it, the Dray’s next door neighbor, the Tiger Tail will give you a chance to test the theory for yourself. The Tiger Tail offers a full bar with an extensive list of saki and eight beers on tap. Stop in for an impressive $1 PBR happy hour offering from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday through Saturday and all day Sunday and stay to enjoy the Asian flavored décor and local art.

A day’s worth of playing, designing and drinking might finally lead a hungry neighborhood resident to Il Giardino, an Italian eatery just on the same block as The Dray and Tiger Tail. Il Giardino offers a full bar, patio dining on sunny days, as well as two floors of indoor seating. Live music can be heard on Fridays complementing the full traditional Italian menu.

With so many new businesses opening in the Phinney-Greenwood area, local residents are going to be hard pressed as to where to spend their time. Luckily, rain or shine, there’s something new to try no matter what you’re in the market for.

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Two P-Patches, Four Parks In One Morning Walk

The Phinney Neighborhood Center (PNC) at is a fine starting point for city walks in any direction. And most any direction provides a hill climb and a close encounter with a barista. This occasional series guides walkers on roughly six-mile jaunts with notes about points of interest.

By Peter Hendrickson
The P-patch program is alive and well in Seattle, and particularly well represented with five community gardens along the Greenwood to Fremont fertile crescent. Cross the street west from the PNC for a grande mocha latte and pumpkin scone to fuel a level and downhill walk north along Greenwood Ave. to soak in the heart of the Urban Village Center. With spring, the activity of the restaurants and small shops spills onto the sidewalks, inviting a stroll rather than winter’s quickened pace. Quick, name the business in the Becker Building.

At 85th St. (one mile) check the billboard at the Taproot Theatre, then head north... again on 1st Ave to monitor the Piper Village mixed use construction project. The absence of sidewalk is remedied at Sandel Playground on 90th, a great place to walk your dog, zip your skateboard down the curved asphalt, wade with the kids or chase a Frisbee. Head west to 3rd Ave then south to NW 88th where, a half block west, a white picket fence overhung with lilac signals the Greenwood P-patch, up the rosemary flanked salvaged pavement walk through the archway in a neighborhood of modest post-war homes.

Chat with a gardener or simply admire the edibles and florals. Don’t miss the impressive vine at the northern neighbor’s house. Exit east via 87th to the corner of Evanston Ave(two miles) for an illustrated history of Greenwood Park. The text and photos in the entry arch tell the story of Japanese market gardens lovingly tended then lost due to internment during the war, later to become the Otani Greenhouses. At the northern end of this 2.2 acre gem, the urban toilet demands kudos for the “Closed” sign which appears in the ironwork when the gate is latched for privacy—rugged aesthetics. The Seattle to Everett Interurban rail line ran this way with a 1910 inaugural electric trolley trip. By 1939 autos made the trolley redundant but the right-of-way is being reclaimed for cyclists and walkers.

Wander east on 89th St to Linden Ave. for a pleasant stroll south to 83rd St and down the hill to Aurora. Cross Aurora and take Green Lake Dr N (3 miles) towards Green Lake. Hug the shoreline where you can walk, run, stroll, cycle, skate or mosey past Bathhouse Theatre, keeping an eye out for the well lit crosswalk and light at 66th to cross Aurora.

Linden Orchard Park is two blocks away down Linden Ave. at 67th St. This wellcultivated P-patch/Park was once an orchard and kitchen garden but now sports an arroyo stream bed for play and water recycling. This wheelchair accessible gathering spot also features a tool shed with a turf roof, a stained glass window and mosaic pavers. Inscriptions on several paver tiles tell the story of strong community support. Like many blocks in the area, the curb strip planting is elegant. Only the entry gate at 67th St. seems a bit out of place on its galvanized supports.

P-Patch Community Gardens started in the early 70s when the City of Seattle bought the Picardo Farm (there’s the “P”). Historian Judy Hucka traces city gardens back to the Boeing Bust, hard economic times. UW student Daryln Rundberg Del Boca started Neighbors in Need, using part of the Picardo truck farm so Wedgwood Elementary students and families could grow vegetables in 8 by 8 foot plots. Surviving three decades, P-patches are now a cornerstone of City’s Department of Neighborhoods with seven full-time staff and over 2000 plots. Nearly a third of gardeners report they grow 50% or more of their food during April to October. Most gardens have waiting lists.

Return to the PNC with a brisk walk up N 67th St, pausing to catch your breath and the view at the bench on the corner of Dayton Ave. N, about 4 miles. This walk is half a Figure 8 walk. Next column the other loop will sweep south to visit three more P-Patches including the vertiginous Billy Goat’s Bluff, no relation to the Fremont Troll.

[This post is from the current edition of the Phinney Ridge Review]

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Strawberries Slo-wly Come Into Season In Northwest

By A-P Hurd

If you grew up on the East Coast, strawberries are a sign that spring has finally arrived. On the West Coast, spring creeps along slower and steadier, and by the time we have hot enough weather for local strawberries, it’s full-blown summer. But this year, the West Coast spring has been slow to arrive, with only a dash of warm sunny weekend days. So it may come to pass that when we see our first strawberries at this year’s Farmers Market, they may coincide with the first warm blast of summer, like they do back east.

Those first local strawberries have an intensity of flavor that can’t be matched by the well-travelled grocery store variety. Like tomatoes, great flavor and texture... seem to be incompatible with travelling any distance at all. In fact, the best strawberries I’ve ever had are the almost-over-the-top-ripe ones picked at a berry farm, on my knees on the muddy matted hay that lines the spaces between the rows. They come home in shallow trays or pans, where the weight of even a few layers turns the bottom ones to juice. These summer strawberries are so small and red and ripe that you can mash them with a fork on a piece of toast and they taste instantly like jam.

What you’ll do with them when they hit the farm stand is a good question to ponder. It may even warm your heart under these interminable gray skies. Pie? Milkshake? Angel food cake and whipped cream? In my book, when it comes to strawberries, less is more. Strawberries, pink lemonade, ice and rum make a mean daiquiri (or strawberry slush for the kids if you omit the rum). Even more traditional, sliced strawberries sprinkled with sugar and mint and left to sit for an hour are perhaps the ultimate ending to a summer meal. The juice that comes out in the bottom of the bowl tastes more like concentrated strawberry than anything in the world. If Patrick Süskind’s character Jean-Baptiste Grenouille had made essence of strawberry in the book Perfume, this is how he would have done it.

If you’re hankering for the red berries of summer, you could do worse than to start your weekends at the Phinney Farmers Market, which began this year on May 16. Or go fetch some right and ripe out of the field. A great website to find pick-your-own farms in the area is WAnortheast.htm Eat ’em while they’re here. Strawberries are a testament to the pleasure of eating local, and a scrumptious connection to this place and time of year.

[This post is from the current edition of the Phinney Ridge Review]

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Tutelage follow-up

Some time ago, I posted a blog regarding “Tutelage” and some upcoming, developing projects from the Education Program. We got some of our own ideas for a tutoring program, but we thought it best to look for the professionals in the “biz” to look for advice. Thus, a few days ago (last Thursday) we visited 826 Seattle, a drop-in writing/tutoring center in Greenwood. They’re roughly a mile or so away from the Phinney Center. Myself and uber-volunteer Cheryl...—also a contributor to this blog—were assigned as the envoy to the PNA to 826. Their place was pretty cool—it’s a “space travel” shop with a tutoring center in the back. I only recently found out... it was 826 simply by chance several weeks ago. I was in the Greenwood area eating lunch (Mr. Gyros!!!) when I passed by the “space travel shop” and noticed on a tiny corner of the windows was the sign “826 Writing Center”. I was shocked because (for other reasons) I’ve been trying so hard for the past several months to find 826’s location and it was right under my nose the entire time. Thank you, location-of-Mr.-Gyro’s-so-I-can-spot-826! =p

Anyway, Cheryl and I met their programming coordinator, Toffer (not “Topher”, heheheh) at 826. Great guy, very good sense of humor.

We learned a lot about their drop-in system of tutoring. Learned lots of great ideas about what the PNA’s tutoring program should and should not be. By no means are we trying to “compete” with these folks (in fact, check their website, it’s just that we want to see where this program can possibly take us if we do implement it next year.

Now, let’s turn the clock back 24 hours before that Thursday. That Wednesday we had an ice cream social/meet ‘n greet for the Filpino Alumni Chapter of Seattle University and our mentorship program. This is because I’ve developed a similar program at my old college (SU), except it focuses more on mentoring Filipino American undergrads rather than actual tutoring. I had a wonderful time—I finally met my “protégé”, a psychology major named Pauline (I was a psych major, too). She’s smart and funny and we hit it off quite well that night. We had a blast getting to know each and we barely even mentioned “psychology” I look forward guiding her as mentor, even though my “psychology skills” aren’t up to snuff lately. hahahah

Now you’re thinking: drop-in writing centers? Ice cream socials? Filipino American alumni at Jesuit colleges? Space Travel boutiques? Rex! You’re totally deviating from the main topic—PHINNEY NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION!!!

Well, think about it—if we indeed have this Tutoring Program for the PNA, think of the wonderful benefits that might happen. I think the “spirit of mentorship” can be applied to our little Education project next year. Perhaps, it’s not so much about teaching people a skill, or help write an college entrance essay or do calculus. Maybe—just maybe—it’s about neighbors who can identify with other neighbors through similar interests, skill sets or challenges that they can connect and build their own sense of community. Going back to my mentorship example, I feel that my protégé Pauline didn’t necessarily need someone to help her study for various psych tests, nor help her in her research. Maybe we just need someone who can relate and acknowledge our interests and challenges as a human being. I think we just need that someone to recognize us, even though we might be the students, the protégés, the neophytes.

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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Good to go!!!! (re: Phinney Center CTC)

Harvey Friedman...wonderful guy and super duper CTC volunteer.

I just want to take this time to give a special shout-out to Harvey for being an outstanding volunteer. He supervises open lab on Thursday mornings and teaches several computer courses in Linux and OpenSource programs.

He's always there for me to help me troubleshoot the PCs (being that I'm not the greatest of computer whizkids) at the CTC and recently got one our "out of order" computer up and running again! He even volunteered to upgrade the memory on that particular desktop!

Thank you, Harvey, for all your hard work for the CTC. We all appreciate it immensely--not just the staff or the patrons, but the neighborhood in general.

Now that I have your attention, if you read the email newsletter or have gotten a phone call or email re: CTC, you probably know about the survey we're doing for the CTC program. We want to hear your thoughts on what you like/dislike about our labs and our programming and how we can improve things for next year. To take the CTC survey, please click on the following link:

or, you may visit the PNA's website-- click on the link "technology survey"

dum laborus prosperous
* "As long as we are working, we are prospering"

Monday, June 2, 2008

Moving Shop, Phinney-Style!

Some of you may have noticed that Phinney Greenwood businesses seem to be playing Musical Chairs--Metropolis and Turabi switched places, the flower shop moved up Greenwood Avenue almost to 85th Street, and now Santoro's Books is moving in to the flower shop's old space!

Even more fun than that, with these short hop moves, our neighborhood businesses have been inviting their neighbors to help them move. Metropolis threw a moving party a couple of months ago. With generous help from so many friends and neighbors, they brag that everything was moved in 45 minutes!

Carol Santoro set her moving party for Friday May 30 at noon. I had missed the Metropolis move, so I was determined to get to this one, both for the great photo op and the fun of helping out.

As I grabbed a sandwich at Ken's Market, I could see the parade of hand trucks crossing at the light and heading up the street. What fun! How cool! I can't wait to help! So I headed across the street to Santoro's. When I got there at 12:05pm, I found out what I had seen was the very last load! They'd started by 11:30 and I'd missed the fun (and the photos)! Oh, no!

I went over to see the new shop and was invited to help unpack and shelve the books. Now mind you, to a book-geek with a gimp foot, this sounds even more fun than pushing hand trucks up and down the block! 15 or so of us stayed and had a wonderful time shelving books and visiting with our neighbors.

We each picked our favorite section, and with a little bit of guidance from Carol and the Santoro's staff, the alphabetizing and artful arranging began!

By 3 pm almost everything was unpacked and shelved. The staff was fine-tuning the spacing and remarking that they were at least a day ahead of schedule.

Many thanks for the generosity of friends, neighbors, and neighborhood businesses open to helping each other out.
That's how we do it in my neighborhood.

Howdy neighbors!

Welcome to the PNA Blog! This is my first posting and actually my first blog entry anywhere ever! Please pardon my neophyte enthusiasm and my technical fumbles as I figure out how this works.

I hear Stu has been talking about me already, so I can’t get away without posting a few photos in my next post after I introduce myself in this one.

I am a PNA spouse and uber-volunteer (I ask the rest of you staff-spouses--how can you NOT be and keep a happy marriage?) I have a particular fondness for several PNA programs and events.

Today’s Top Ten: (! at the risk of sounding like Ericka Newman! )

  • Farmer’s Market!
  • Day of the Dead!
  • Community Fruit Tree Harvest!
  • Mystery Book Exchange!
  • Gumshoe Walk and Mystery Week!
  • Greenwood Garage Sale Day!
  • PNA Auction!
  • Shop Talk!
  • Anything related to sustainability or neighborhood gatherings and gathering spaces!