Monthly Archives: February 2011

Planting Seeds

Last week my mother hand-delivered an afghan my grandmother crocheted for us. “It’s garden inspired,” Mom said. “I have to tell it like Grandma did. . . ” She went on to describe the afghan’s carefully selected colors and the meanings behind its reds, greens, oranges, and yellows. “The red stands for tomatoes, the green is for beans, the orange is the carrots, and the yellow is for butternut squash,” she remembered.

Grandma's garden-inspired afghan brings hope and the blessings of spring.

The afghan was such a wonderful gift from Grandma and got me excited for the hope that comes with spring. Around Hilltop lately, buds have been forming on deciduous trees and shrubs. Safeway has been stocking bulbs for a weeks and lately we’ve spotted them carefully making their way out of the ground. Soon the sounds of the Daffodil Parade will be ringing throughout Tacoma and beyond. While the warmth of spring may seem like forever away, this week’s freezing temperatures are only a minor setback compared to what we have to look forward to. 

During my snow day yesterday, I read Paul Fleischman’s short book, Seedfolks. It is a story about neighbors in the city whose paths grow together and change for the better as they each take on their own part in a community garden. One of the community members, Amir, says, “When I saw the garden for the first time. . . I thought back to my parents’ Persian rug. It showed climbing vines, rivers and waterfalls, grapes, flower beds, singing birds. . . Those rugs were indeed portable gardens (58-59).” That is what my grandmother’s afghan is to us–a portable garden–something that will remind us that springtime is always near.

Community gardens offer city dwellers so many things. They give us a place to learn, build memories, fulfill dreams, teach each other, succeed, grow our own food and flowers, and so much more. Hilltop has come a long way since its years of notoriety and is ready for more community sharing and spaces. Friends of the community have worked hard to get us to where we are today.

This year, two spots on Hilltop have been proposed as possible community garden sites. Let’s hope we are fortunate enough to get support from the City of Tacoma so we can plant some seeds.

Tacoma’s Community Garden Program supports gardens city-wide and offers free gardening workshops for city residents. For more information about Tacoma’s Community Garden Program, visit their website.

Surviving the Sun

The day after the storm, the snowman braves the rays at the house on the corner.

Snowman at the House on the Corner

The 5'7" snowman arrived at the house on the corner during February's snowstorm.

Tempest Lounge Seeks Live Musicians

Hilltop’s Tempest Lounge, a small cocktail lounge located at 913 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, is currently seeking live musicians to add to its evening entertainment line-up. Wednesday nights, Tempest showcases live music and would like to expand upon its talent base. Tempest is looking for local live musicians, duos, or small bands.

If you know of an interested musician, duo, or group, please email MP3 samples to or bring a CD by in person. For more information on Tempest Lounge, check out their website or call (253) 272-4904.

Applicants can submit music selections via email or drop them off in person.

Hot Food Has Arrived

Hilltop Safeway’s newest round of improvements are completed, bringing hot deli food to the store. Near the store’s old entrance and close to the bread, customers can find hot items including fried chicken, chicken tenders, and whole rotisserie chickens.

Hilltop Safeway now offers hot fresh deli food.

Bainbridge Island Legacy

After a long and tiring week, we decided to find our spirits in some Friday night spirits. Imagine my dismay when I entered the busy liquor store to find our favorite (if you could call it that) vodka sold out. Vodka spirits have always been a bit hard for me to swallow, so I was left amidst a sea of clear bottles feeling dismayed and lost. I didn’t want the throat-burn or bite of many of the regular vodka choices and cringed at the thought of settling on a less-than-tolerable bottle of the clear stuff.

After a few minutes of standing there staring at the shiny bottles, I found the most beautiful label staring back at me. It was a pewter-colored label advertising a product from here, from just down the road–Bainbridge Island. With nothing to lose, I picked up this comparably priced-bottle and took it to the register, leaving behind the bottles of flavored Ciroc, Smirnoff, Platinum, Absolut, Pinnacle, and so many more.

Legacy, the organic vodka made by Bainbridge Organic Distillers, is wonderful. It is smooth and sweet without being too sweet and has a slight hint of vanilla. It is our new favorite.

Legacy, Bainbridge Organic Distillers' vodka, is made from wheat grown in Washington.

In addition to batting a-thousand on taste, Legacy has other great selling points. It is a local product made by a family-owned distillery that uses 100% USDA Certified Organic products. Bainbridge Island is beautiful and supporting anything from our state just makes sense. Also, since Bainbridge Organic Distillers is still in its infancy and small, it needs help getting its products ready for the public. Saturdays it offers family, friends, and supporters a chance to come in and help bottle as part of the BOD Squad. BOD Squad participants get free organic t-shirts.

In addition to vodka, the distillery offers organic Heritage Gin and Battle Point Whiskey. Neither are available in liquor stores at this time, but in time we hope to see these products alongside Legacy Vodka in state stores. Presently, customers can purchase the gin at the distillery and sign-up on a waiting list for the whiskey, which is distilled in limited batches.

Bainbridge Organic Distillers is now open for tastings, tours, and sales Mondays through Fridays, 10-5, and Saturdays, 10-3. For more information, visit their website or call (206) 842-3184.

French Toast and Mirrors

Not too long ago, we introduced our first-ever crew neck sweatshirt. It was fun to find community interest in our product. We learned that our blog has much support from Hilltop and residents of the surrounding Tacoma area. Even more exciting is that many fans of Tacoma’s thriving hip-hop scene support us 100%. So many of them have strong ties to Hilltop and believe in supporting our town, putting Tacoma “on the map.”

Our first pieces of Hilltop Tacoma clothing went to some of Tacoma’s die-hard supporters, including Andy Hyppa, Pat McSweeney, and Glenn Allen (also known as EvergreenOne, one of Tacoma’s best live hip-hop performers.)

Andy Hyppa is a Hilltop native and supporter of all things hip-hop in Tacoma.

Pat McSweeney grew up in the Tacoma area and now resides on Hilltop.

We are currently working on new designs for‘s expanding clothing line, including more crew necks, hoodies, tee shirts, and hats. Look out for more to come.