Welcome to another installment of “10 Words or Less,” in which I ask for short answers to short questions. Today’s participant just opened The Madrona Tree, a self-described "local eatery" in Arlington, Mass., that carries its commitment to local/whole even to its organic condiments. Please remember: No counting! 10 words is a goal, not a rule, and besides, let’s see you do it.
Name Tanya Abraham
Born when, where June 1, 1971, Weymouth, Mass.
Residence now North Reading, Mass.
Family situation Married, with a wife, Christie, and son, Frederick, 2
What did you want to be when you grew up "A coach and a restaurant owner."
A transformative event in your life "Working in hospice."
When did you do that? "For 10 years, until last year. I was director of business operations for Group Health Cooperative, Home Health & Hospice in Seattle."
Outside your family, someone whom you consider influential "Ruth Gregersen. She was a coworker of mine in hospice."
What was it about her? "Her kindness, her spirit. She taught me a lot about courage and standing up for what was right. She helped me believe in myself."
What’s a madrona tree? "It’s native to the Pacific Northwest. My grandfather’s restaurant was named the Cedar Tree, and I wanted to name my restaurant in honor of him, but with a tree that means something to me."
What’s your restaurant’s mission? "To serve the community better quality food that supports our local economy."
How long have you been open? "Since Labor Day."
Where do you get your ingredients? "Most of it is New England farms. Out of our growing season, our organic stuff is from California."
What’s the most processed food you serve? "American cheese. It’s the only thing."
Why don’t you take credit cards? "Because they take a lot money away from small businesses and/or increase the cost to the customer."
Your biggest barrier to success "Finding quality food and keeping the prices affordable, because both are very important to me.
What don’t people understand "How important it is to eat food without steroids, nitrates, hormones..."
What’s the one thing you wish everyone would just get right? “I wish my customers would tell us how we did before they leave.”