May 2009: Green Scene

May 2009: Green Scene

Buy green, borrow green

So, you’ve greened your utilities, duds, and diapers, but what about your mortgage? Green banks such as New Resource put an eco-minded spin on your finances. More than going paperless, these banks offer options such as equity lines for solar homes and a concern for the environment as well as the bottom line.

How do you say “green” in Pig Latin?

However, don’t think that a big green sticker automatically makes eco-banking a better option than your credit union or neighborhood Wachovia, since local banking itself means some waste reduction. Some stuff to ponder: in Green America’s recent attempt to rank banks’ green responsibility, Wachovia and Suntrust beat out Bank of America, but they could all stand to improve. Also, comparing mortgaging and home equity options, green often means slimmer pickings and less generous terms.

How do you know if green financing is right for you? If you’re thinking about building an eco-friendly home, banks like New Resource and E3bank offer financing options specifically designed for green projects; they also tend to be more flexible with funding for green retrofitting, and may offer advising services on the available options for those still brainstorming. Green loans for green houses? Makes sense to us.—Lucy Zhou

The market report

If it hasn’t already gotten underway, your favorite farmes market will probably kick off the season this month. Charlottesville’s big, beloved City Market has been going strong since April, every Saturday from 7am to noon, but a raft of smaller markets will join the scene in May and June. Rejoice!

Farmers markets are here, and strawberries are just the beginning!

Crozet Farmers Market starts May 2 and will brighten up your Saturday mornings, 8am-noon.

Forest Lakes Farmers Market kicks off June 3, bringing the good stuff to the 29N crowd every Tuesday 4-7pm.

Scottsville Farmers Market is underway now and happens not once but twice a week: Thursday 3-7pm and Saturday 9am-noon.

The City’s other market, in Meade Park, will start May 27 and run every Wednesday thereafter, 3-7pm.

More distant locales: Fluvanna Farmers Market has already begun (Tuesdays 3-7pm), the Nelson Farmers Market starts May 2 (Saturdays 8am-noon), and the Orange County Farmers Market starts May 2 (Wednesdays noon-5pm and Saturdays 8am-1pm).—Erika Howsare

Milling around

The black metal InSpire Wall is an amazingly simple, nearly cost-free way to heat industrial buildings.

When it’s your home, it’s okay to be fussy about the details—that’s why we’re delighted with the new Fluvanna millshop run by Better Living Building Supply, recently trumpeted for its green-thinking design. The facility, designed by local architectural firm The Gaines Group, was awarded a silver medal in the 2009 Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards, and makes some snazzy trim and moulding, to boot.

What caught the committee’s eye? Gaines Group architect Charles Hendricks lists a ton of green features, but the solar savvy InSpire Wall stands out. The wall, made from black metal and designed to capture solar heated air, is the facility’s main source of heat. “It’s so simple that it blows me away,” says Hendricks. “It lets the owner heat the whole 24,000-square-foot facility pretty much for free.”

LEED-certified, solar savvy, and water efficient, the BLBS millshop appeals for its dedication to green principles as well as offering custom millwork next time you need to replace a baseboard. While it specializes in period restoration, never fear: the millshop keeps it real with current equipment and green innovation.—L.Z.

Fertilize this

Fertilize the fishy way.

If you’re like us, you’ve got a nice little selection of young plants in your garden right now—cherry tomatoes in a container, kale in the ground, maybe even some garlic you planted last fall. It’s great to give those little guys a boost, but if you find yourself standing over the plants with a chemical fertilizer in hand, stop! Instead of the artificial stuff, which ends up in the watershed and creates sci-fi plant growth that, frankly, we find creepy, try organic fertilizers like Neptune’s Harvest (made from fish!) or plain old compost. Bigger yields and a nonpolluted planet? Everybody wins.—E.H.








Calling all ingredients…

Open your refrigerator crisper. It likely contains something which has been long forgotten and transformed into some primordial juice. So this month’s challenge? Let’s try using ALL the food in the fridge, whether from the farmers market, your CSA share, or the grocery store. Here’s how.

Take inventory and make a plan. Before you go shopping, check your refrigerator for the foods you already have. This allows you to incorporate those items as well as avoid doubling up on any one ingredient. If you need help, log on to where you can type the list of ingredients for which you need a recipe.

I swear by making a weekly menu. This helps me overlap ingredients, which is money-saving and food-saving.

Despite our best efforts, we may still have some neglected items. Popular ones, especially this time of year, include kale, beet greens, collards, and spinach. This frittata recipe is great for potluck parties. Make two and freeze one.

Check out Better World Betty’s local green living resource list at and blog at



4 cups of chopped kale or swiss chard or other green (take out the stems)
8 large garlic cloves (roasted with olive oil in a skillet or oven)
6 large eggs
1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese
olive oil

Beat the eggs, kale, garlic, salt and pepper.
Oil a 10” cast iron skillet with olive oil. Pour in the egg mixture, top with cheese and cook until the eggs set. Cook the remainder for two minutes in an oven set on broil.

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