a life inspired
june 2012 free!
BBQ essentials, climbing with Kate, relayfoods.com, beauty buzz, soulful Southern tea
culinary artisans SHOWCASE THEIR GOURMET GOODIES
Discover how much fun you’ll have with Hobie. Powered by Hobie’s patented MirageDrive® pedal system, the Hobie Mirage Tandem Island is a 18’ 6” trimaran “sail-yak” built for endless fun. Choose a partner and make some new memories with Hobie.
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breathe magazine editor in chief Marissa Hermanson firstname.lastname@example.org
table of contents features
contributing writers Erica Jackson Curran Joan Leotta Jayme Moye Alyssa Mercadante Colleen Oakley Sarah Sekula Amelia Walton
12 Tasty Developments Culinary artisans and their gourmet goodies
18 Q&A: Zach Buckner
Founder of Relay Foods dishes on his website
20 Old & New: Pimiento Cheese
senior designer Amanda Powers
Evolution of the South’s beloved staple
associate designer Lauren Walker
Rock Climbing 12 27 With Kate Reese McGinnis
contributing photographers Amanda Powers Megan Jordan
IT director Craig Snodgrass
digital media coordinator Chase Lyne
publisher Charles Leonard email@example.com
president Blake DeMaso firstname.lastname@example.org
account executives Dusty Allison: email@example.com Martha Evans: firstname.lastname@example.org Leah Woody: email@example.com Nick Noe: firstname.lastname@example.org Amy Allison: email@example.com
business manager Melissa Gessler
distribution manager Chuck Grigsby firstname.lastname@example.org
contact us 116 West Jefferson Street Charlottesville, VA 22902 434.817.2755 56 College Street, Suite 303 Asheville, NC 28801 828.225.0868 © 2012 Summit Publishing, LLC. To carry Breathe in your store call 434.817.2755.
cover © Amanda Powers, readbreathe.com
5 EDITOR’S NOTE 6 BEAUTY The natural beauty industry’s sweetest secret 7 FOOD The history behind the South’s sweet tea 8 ON OUR SHELVES Alabama Shakes, “The American Way of Eating,” “Forks Over Knives” 9 HEALTH Prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes
10 BARBECUE GUIDE Everything you need from grills down to the gadgets 23 FITNESS Marisa Miller’s SUP board and how to get started 30 Travel Berkeley Springs, W.Va.
23 June 2012
what you’re saying
Be sure to connect with us online and continue the conversation. Here’s what you all are saying via readbreathe.com and social media. Also, we are now on Instagram (breathe_magazine) and Pinterest!
@villages: Some love from Breathe Magazine. Thank you Breathe! - TenThousandVillages
twitter (@breathemagazine) Marissa Hermanson: @rissahermanson:
@aburtonpowers is prepping for the @breathemagazine cover shoot. Super exciting!
Sarah Pember: @thesmartkitchen: check out my
Strawberries ‘n’ Cream Puff “Cake” post for @breathemagazine Bern Dougherty: @sunbern3d:
Check out Free Subscription Thursday, where every week we ask a question and pick a winner to receive a one-year subscription to Breathe Magazine.
I enjoyed the article Dive In about diners. Nothing better when traveling to ask the locals where the nearest diner is. — Susan P. I enjoyed the article about trail running because I am a runner, and I found it interesting. — Lisa P. I really enjoyed the articles about healthy food and beauty recipes as I’ve been trying to green/improve my eating and beauty routine towards more natural products! — Brendle I loved the piece about trail running! I am gradually becoming a runner and tips 4
Amanda Powers: @aburtonpowers: Hope
you’ve all had the chance to check out the new digital issue of @breathemagazine! @saraevansmusic is on the cover! Erica Jackson Curran: @calendar_girl: Check
On the blog and FacebooK Q OF THE WEEK: We are very excited about our May issue and our beautiful cover girl, Sara Evans. Tell us what you liked most about our May issue. Be sure to check it out online if you haven’t picked up a copy!
@RissaHermanson @breathemagazine @saraevansmusic great story, I love Sara! Well written :) PS love the mag. design!
to keep running are very inspirational! I loved those pink shoes too. — Melanie K. The May issue of Breathe had some interesting articles, especially the guide to Louisville and the country music angle through Sara Evans. Breathe is looking good. — John B. Breathe … it’s as good as its name! Your May issue, inside, shared as much variety to life, as its outside, cover! Natural ingredients, to more complex movements in exercising, is always a highlight. From hometown, to far away places, the visits throughout the pages, are appreciated! Home away from home! Looking forward to hearing more from the selection of country/pop singers … male, female and groups. — S. Quesenberry
out my article on diners and dives in this month’s issue of @breathemagazine. It’s making me hungry! Jessie Knadler: @rurallyscrewed: Thank you
@breathemagazine for the great review of Rurally Screwed!
… The magazine is fabulous, and I have noticed and been wowed by the new direction. The production values of the physical object, paper, image quality/ selection, layout, color and white space ... all seem more slick and professional also, but it may just be my imagination moved by other very positive changes in content/ style. … -- Matthew S. Farrell, Charlottesville, Va.
very own kitchens. Check out our story on these ladies and their contribution to not only kitchen pantries but the small business sector (page 12). No doubt about it: Southern cuisine has a rich history. For this issue we sought out people in our region who are changing the way we think about food and who are adding to the area’s culinary narrative. For our cover, the art team and I decided to feature our favorite Southern staple: a delicious pimiento cheese sandwich with bacon, bibb lettuce, cucumber and tomato. Read our pimiento story (page 20) on the evolution of the Southern classic, complete with recipes to give the traditional dish a twist. Also, speaking of Southern staples, check out our sweet tea story on the history behind tea and where it took root in South Carolina (page 7). We not only wanted to talk about our favorite old-school Southern foods but also feature the people who are changing the region’s culinary landscape. The Southeast and Mid-Atlantic have so much flavor that we felt it necessary to showcase the delicious products — think spicy mustards, kombucha, gelato, challah, vegan chocolates! — that women are creating in their
Also, entrepreneur and mechanical engineer Zach Buckner sat down with Breathe to talk about his online grocer, Relay Foods, where he simplifies shopping while also supporting local food producers (page 18). His website is the next step for grocery shopping. Will this model catch on and spread? And for our adventurous readers, we explore standup paddleboarding with supermodel Marisa Miller (page 23) and feature gravitydefying rockclimber Kate Reese McGinnis (page 27). Check out our other reads on beauty, travel and health, as well as our top picks for books, music and movies. Happy reading!
Marissa Hermanson Editor-in-Chief
How Sweet it is
Want a powerful anti-acne, wrinkle-fighting beauty treatment? Look no further than your kitchen cabinet. Did you know? Bees must visit approximately 2 million flowers and have to fly more than 55,000 miles to make 1 lb. of honey.
Next time you’re putting a spoonful of honey in your morning cup of tea, you might want to rub a dollop on your skin. This nectar of the gods (and bees) has been used since 3000 B.C. for everything from treating indigestion to healing soldiers’ wounds in battle. But today it’s one of the natural beauty industry’s bestkept secrets for fabulous skin. Honey can benefit your skin in three ways, says esthetician Megan Franks. Packed with flavonoids and phenolic acids, honey helps eliminate potentially destructive free radicals, which means it’s a great anti-aging ingredient. Its anti-bacterial properties help reduce bacteria buildup that can cause acne. And finally, it’s a humectant, which means it attracts and retains moisture in your skin. And that’s not all. Experts say honey can also reduce irritation and inflammation of the skin, heal eczema and even reduce the appearance of stretch marks. So what are you waiting for? Grab your favorite bottle of sweet stuff (raw, organic honey is best) and start mixing up these DIY beauty treatments stat. — Colleen Oakley
make your own
Recipes courtesy of honey-well.com/beauty.html
To fight wrinkles Firming Face Mask
1 tbsp. honey
For acne-prone skin Honey Cleansing Scrub
For dry skin Moisture Mask
1 egg white 1 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. honey
no time? Stock up on these all-natural honey beauty treats for your face and body.
1 tsp. glycerin (available at drug and beauty stores)
1. Journey’s Mother Bee Friendly Bar. This solid bar body lotion melts when it comes into contact with your skin! Bonus? The box and label contain seeds, so when planted, they will sprout into wildflowers. $12, journeysmother.com 2. Sequoia Beauty Honey Berry Enzyme Mask. Made from organic herbs and flowers grown in California, this mask removes impurities and hydrates thirsty skin. $25, abesmarket.com 3. Paradise Skin Rain. With a combination of honey and hyaluronic acid, this all-natural product reduces wrinkles and moisturizes dry skin. $52, paradiseskinproducts.com 6
2 tbsp. finely ground almonds
2 tsp. milk approx. 1/4 cup flour Mix and smooth over your face and throat. Leave on for 10 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.
(enough to form a paste)
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
Mix and smooth over your face and throat. Leave on for 10 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.
Mix and rub gently onto your face. Rinse off with warm water.
GO! cHarleston Tea Plantation
Tea factory and trolley tours. Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. ,Sunday noon – 4 p.m.
The South’s Tea History South Carolina, where American tea was born
There is something simply Southern about tea, namely sweet tea. It’s a staple of lowcountry living, and it just so happens that this refreshing iconic Southern beverage took root — literally — in South Carolina, giving the state a unique agricultural history and the South its much-loved drink. Just 23 miles outside of Charleston’s historic district is the only commercially run tea farm in the country, The Charleston Tea Plantation, which sits on 127 acres on Wadmalaw Island. “There are a few little farms, but nothing like what we have with our big factory where we harvest it,” says Jane Knight, business manager at the Charleston Tea Plantation. Hundreds of varieties of the tea plant (camellia sinensis) flourish here in prime tea growing climate: high heat, humidity and rainfall. The tea plants are harvested from April through October and then open up their white blooms at the end of October before becoming dormant for winter. “It prospers here because we have the right conditions. It takes a lot to have a tea farm: right climate, right conditions,” Knight says. “You need a tea taster, the harvester as well. All the elements just seem to have come to us.” The Charleston Tea Plantation, which produces tea leaves for American Classic Tea, has been around since 1987 when William Hall, a third generation professional tea taster, international tea trader and consultant, purchased the farm from Lipton Tea Company. South Carolina’s tea history goes back hundreds of years before Hall’s company and Lipton though. When the tea plant arrived in the United States from China in the 1700s, several attempts were made to grow the plant throughout South Carolina over 150 years. None of the attempts were successful. In 1888, Dr. Charles Shepard founded the Pinehurst Tea Plantation in Summerville, one of the few successful tea ventures at the time (his Oolong variety won first place at 1904’s World Fair). After his death in 1915, his
Elizabeth Ruby, co-owner of The Tea Room in Savannah, Ga., shares her iced tea secrets
Sweeten to your liking with simple syrup 1. In a saucepan, bring 1 cup of water to a boil. 2. Stir in 1 cup of sugar and stir continuously. 3. When sugar is dissolved, remove pan from heat and allow to cool and thicken. 4. Store in closed container and refrigerate. Will last two weeks in refrigerator.
1. Use only rough teas: Black, green, white, rooibos and herbal teas all make ideal iced teas. “It’s rougher teas that tend to brew a better quality iced tea,” she says. 2. Check for clouding: Certain teas that are higher qualities, such as Darjeeling, will cloud with chilling. Clouding is visually unappealing. “When you can see through tea, you are more apt to drink it,” she says. 3. Don’t add milk: “When you add milk, it loses its health benefits,” she says. “Not with sugar, though.” 4. Drink pu-erh: Hot or iced, this tea is good for reducing and balancing your cholesterol level. It’s also a natural weight reducer. “But, it’s an acquired taste,” Ruby says. “It’s very earthy.” 5. Pour it out: Ruby says to pour out iced tea after 12 hours. “It clouds over night. It’s the way the tannins in the tea leaf settle over time,” she says. “Most people say it doesn’t change the taste for them, but I just don’t like to serve it.”
untended tea plants grew fecund for 48 years, until Lipton purchased a potato farm — now the Charleston Tea Plantation — on Wadamalaw Island in 1963. Shepard’s award-winning tea plants from Pinehurst were transplanted on Lipton’s newly acquired land and became part of an experimental tea farm where research was conducted. Hall purchased the land from Lipton and converted the research farm into his own commercial operation, growing, harvesting and processing the tea, making the Charleston Tea Plantation home to American Classic Tea. The company partnered with Bigelow Family in 2003, but the farm still only produces tea leaves for American Classic Tea. The company sells loose leaf tea, tea bags and bottled iced teas, and their teas are distributed locally and around the South. Tea hasn’t just influenced the agricultural and commercial side of the South; it’s also influenced politics. On April 10, 1995, South Carolina adopted the tea as the Official Hospitality Beverage by State Bill 3487, Act No. 31 of the 111th Session of the South Carolina General Assembly. I’ll drink to that! — Marissa Hermanson June 2012
on our shelves
Boys & Girls Alabama Shakes (ATO Records) Alabama Shakes is an American rock band that was formed in Athens, Ala., in 2009. The group consists of lead vocals and guitarist Brittany Howard, guitarist Heath Fogg, bassist Zac Cockrell and drummer Steve Johnson. The band’s debut album, “Boys & Girls,” is an electric jolt that anyone who loves blues-based rock music will enjoy. The album is full of rock and soul, and the songs almost seem to be from the late ‘60s and early ‘70s when electric blues and rock music were intermingling. No hip-hop rhythms or disco beats here. Hints of Otis Redding and Janis Joplin can be found on many of the energetic tracks. The album starts out strong with “Hold On.” After listening to Howard’s amazing vocals and sassy lyrics, I couldn’t help but continue listening to the rest of the album. The songs are refreshing and so different from what most artists are doing right now. This talented band is destined for greatness, and this album is perfect for anyone looking for a great artist and sound.
June tunes, movies & books By alyssa MERCADANTE
The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table Tracie McMillan (Scribner) Americans have become obsessed with their food, and getting Americans to eat well has become a critical social issue. Many writers have tackled our food as a serious issue, deconstructing the business of making and growing it and revolutionizing the standards for eating well along the way. But what if you can’t afford $9 tomatoes? In this book, award-winning journalist Tracie McMillan argues that food should not be a luxury and wonders whether these new standards for eating well are even possible — or practical — for most Americans. In 2009, she went undercover to work alongside America’s working poor to examine how they eat. Her result is “The American Way of Eating” — undercover journalism at its finest. She works as a harvest worker at industrial farms in California, a produce clerk at a Walmart Supercenter outside Detroit and a kitchen worker at an Applebee’s in New York City. She lives, works and shares kitchens and food with her coworkers, existing within the means her low pay allows. McMillan intimately brings readers along to grueling work places, then takes us home to her kitchen so we can see what kind of food she can afford to buy and prepare. She also looks at how we got here, digging deep into labor, economics, politics and social science to reveal new and surprising truths about how America’s food is grown, sold and prepared — and what it would take to change the system. This deeply personal story is smart, well-researched, funny, gritty and hopeful. Through McMillan, we see some of the worst parts of America’s food industry and working conditions. The stories she shares of the people who help her out on her unusual journey are rich and engrossing. She challenges us to think about what would happen if access to fresh and healthy food were just as high as a social priority as water and electricity. This book will really make you think. It’s an important read and will certainly provide you with several mind-blowing revelations. 8
Forks Over Knives Directed by Lee Fulkerson Forks Over Knives is a 2011 American documentary that examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods. The film provides stunning statistics — most Americans carry 23 extra pounds, and 40 percent of Americans are obese — and shows many eye-opening charts and diagrams. One in particular really stood out to me: a graph that shows food consumption at the beginning of the 20th century compared to food consumption today. The difference is astonishing. Americans have adopted the motto “live to eat,” when it should be “eat to live.” This documentary says refined, processed, animalbased foods should be eliminated from our diets, and a whole, plant-based diet should be adopted. This means saying no to oils, meats, dairy, eggs, bleached flour and refined sugars and yes to fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes. This documentary is an eye-opener for sure. It’s definitely a must-see. If you only do half of what this film recommends, you can’t possibly be worse off.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 79 million Americans over the age of 20 have prediabetes — higher-than-normal blood glucose levels that can lead to type 2. In case the magnitude of that number is not registering, it’s huge. It means that if current trends continue, one in three adults will be diabetic by 2050. Who will it be: you, your partner, or your best friend? Fortunately, it’s not to late to choose “none of the above.” Prediabetes can be reversed by making healthy diet and lifestyle choices. Even with a family history of type 2, the disease can be prevented altogether by eating smart and exercising. Follow these five tips from diabetes experts Caroline Cederquist, MD, the Clinical Director of the Cederquist Medical Wellness Center in Naples, Fla., and Amy Kranick, a Nashville-based Registered Dietician and Certified Diabetes Educator with Diabetes Care Club:
Type 2 diabetes is one of the most prevalent diseases in America. It’s also one of the easiest to prevent. Here’s how to fight back. — jayme moye
12.6 million, or 10.8 percent, of all women age 20 years or older have diabetes — American Diabetes Association
LIMIT YOUR SUGARS GET MOVING Everyone needs to exercise for 30 minutes a day, five days a week, no excuses (with doctor approval, of course), according to Kranick. “Treat exercise as a prescription for blood sugar control and weight management,” she says. Cardio will help use up excess glucose in the blood, and strength training will increase lean muscle mass — tissue that’s been proven to help regulate glucose even when you’re not in the gym.
EAT THREE MEALS A DAY Kranick reports a common pattern in people who develop type 2 diabetes: they skip breakfast (a cup of coffee doesn’t count as a meal) and snack after dinner. Break the mold by eating a healthy lowcarb breakfast that contains protein. If that doesn’t curb your appetite for postdinner indulgences, try adding a low-carb snack (like a handful of nuts) between lunch and dinner.
SUPPLEMENT YOUR DIET CHILL OUT AND CATCH YOUR Z’s Stress impacts all of us daily. The real question, according to Cederquist, is what are you doing to manage it? Living in a constant state of stress raises your cortisol levels, a hormone that forces the body to store fat — a risk factor for type 2. Lack of sleep over a prolonged period has the same risky effect.
Cederquist recommends chromium for staving off glucose sensitivity, as well as magnesium and vitamin D, both of which have been proven to decrease the risk of diabetes. She also suggests omega-3s — fatty acids that help lower triglyceride levels, an early marker for the insulin resistance associated with type 2.
Keep glucose levels healthy in your blood by moderating the amount of sugar in your diet. Google “glycemic index” for charts rating the simple sugar levels of common foods and replace the high glycemic foods (70 and above) in your diet with low (less than 55) or medium (55-69). Check labels and eliminate any products containing high-fructose corn syrup — a processed sugar that Cederquist says doesn’t metabolize correctly and has been linked with type 2. June 2012
There are plenty of summer celebrations ahead of us. Father’s Day, Summer Solstice, Fourth of July, to name a few. So get outside, light up that grill, open some brewskies and invite the neighbors over! – MH
Emily Henry Pizza Stone $50; williams-sonoma.com Kaleidobug cocktail napkins $24; anthropologie.com
Silicone Oven Mitt $14.99; oxo.com
Brushed Stainless Steel Grill Basket $19.95; crateandbarrel.com
Set of 8 Corn Picks $8.95; crateandbarrel.com
COWBOY CHARCOAL Hardwood Lump 100% All Natural $15.99; acehardware.com
bbq grill $49, westelm.com Digital Temperature Gauge $24.95; cuisinart.com
“Summer of Love” Set of 5 Glassybaby $220; glassybaby.com 10
Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance presents smith & Hawken Caged Lantern String Lights $25; target.com
IN DOWNTOWN HARRISONBURG Come experience Harrisonburg’s quintessential 4th of July celebration with a day full of activities for the whole family! Himalayan Salt Plate $29.95; williams-sonoma.com
Kalama bottle opener $18; anthropologie.com
Gordy’s pickle jar Sweet chips $10; gordyspicklejar.com
Antique Car Cruise-In Beers N’ Cheers in the Park Charity Run Children’s Activities Dunking Booth Parade featuring Outdoor Recreation Two Concert Stages Finale Fireworks Show Visit our website for a full schedule of events or follow us on Facebook: www.downtownharrisonburg.org/Valley4th or Facebook.com/Valley4th
Beverage dispenser $80; williams-sonoma.com
Stainless Chimney Charcoal Starter $24.99; bbqguys.com
just in! breathe tote bags ... we have cups too! Sazon Mas Guapo $10; masguapo.com
readbreathe.com/store June 2012
Ta s t y
developments Women across our region look to one another for support in launching their food ventures by Marissa Hermanson
“We didn’t know what we were getting into at all,” Sarah Schomber says, recalling her first day of business with Buchi co-founder Jeannine Buscher. After only their second meeting, these two acquaintances realized they had almost identical kombucha recipes and decided to launch a kombucha-brewing business from Jeannine’s kitchen. “She came over the next day and helped me clean my kitchen because the inspector was coming out,” Jeannine says. From there, these two Asheville moms launched their business in Jeannine’s kitchen, with baby strapped to Sarah’s back and their other kids running around in the background. And there, the fermented tea beverage, Buchi, was born. Since 2008, the Buchi Mamas’ business has come a long way, and they represent a burgeoning group of entrepreneurial women throughout our region — and country — who are at the forefront of the small business sector, and looking to other women in support. Over the past decade there have been various studies suggesting that women-owned businesses are on the rise. In the late ’90s and early ’00s, reports show that women-owned businesses grew at twice the rate of all other firms, even during national economic problems. And since, for the past decade women have kept their momentum in the business and entrepreneurial world. In the past four years, amid a recession, election year, new president coming to office, war overseas, economic uncertainty — elements that usually cause people to act fiscally conservative and refrain from starting a new business venture — Sarah and Jeannine had the gumption and optimism to make their business happen on a shoestring.
Currently, it’s estimated that 8 million U.S. businesses are majority women-owned, creating an economic impact of $2.8 trillion and 23 million jobs — 16 percent of U.S. jobs, according to an economic impact report by the Center for Women’s Business Research.
Busin ess is boomin g Sarah and Jeannine started selling their effervescent tea beverage at farmers markets and local retailers, bottling it in beer bottles and continuing to brew. “We could never really keep up with the demand,” Jeannine says. The ladies made a series of Buchi sales to Rosetta’s Kitchen and the French Broad Co-op, and they were adding new local retailers weekly. “We worked in Jeannine’s kitchen and had 30 jars covering every surface and it was becoming completely ridiculous,” Sarah says. “It was a modest kitchen.” “There wasn’t enough room to do what we were doing. It had completely taken over the dining room,” Jeannine says and laughs, recalling all the jars. While they enjoyed brewing kombucha at home around their children, Jeannine’s kitchen and dining room could no longer handle their growing business. “We had to take another step. We met with Mary Lou [Surgi] at Blue Ridge Food Ventures and transitioned into their kitchen,” Sarah says. “She was really great in helping us make the adjustment. We had to do some experimentation with bigger batches. She also is just very connected. She told us who to talk to about funding and a business plan.” Mary Lou is the executive director of Blue Ridge Food Ventures, a food business incubator in Asheville, N.C., where June 2012
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food entrepreneurs can test their recipes and products in a commercial kitchen, experimenting and perfecting their product for sale. This is where Sarah and Jeannine were able to experiment with increasing their kombucha production. “Just having a rental kitchen without the support isn’t near enough. We are like a one-stop shopping place for people who need to know about insurance, how to design their label, packaging, graphics,” Mary Lou says. “You can go out and find a rental kitchen, but knowing how to get started, we provide all those consulting services.” Launched in 2005 through the Western North Carolina’s economic development group AdvantageWest, BRFV is the state’s first incubator for artisan food entrepreneurs and natural products — and is the largest in the Southeast. “We are out there letting the world know that we are a good place to do business — green and food-centric,” Mary Lou says. The 11,000-square-foot facility is made up of three production rooms for people to bake, bottle, ferment and package products. Since opening its doors, BRFV has seen more than 200 businesses come in and use the production rooms. Buchi’s Sarah and Jeannine used the kitchen for a year and a half, starting back in January 2009. They grew their batches at the commercial kitchen and eventually were ready for an even bigger space.
Now, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, outside of Asheville, N.C., you can find Sarah and Jeannine working hard in Buchi’s brewery that is on 180 acres of conservation and organic farmland. In 2009, the Buchi Mamas transformed a retired wine distribution warehouse on the farm into a 6,800-square-foot brewery with 13 fermenters for Buchi brewing, making the facility the first commercial kombucha brewery in the Southeast. The ladies not only work on the land, they also live there with their children, husbands, and three other coworkers. “Being close allowed us to have more time to experiment and control the variables,” Jeannine says. “It’s amazing walking to work, having late-night meetings. … It would be hard if we lived 30 minutes away. Our work and play mixes together, and fortunately we like each other,” she says and laughs. Buchi kombucha is now sold across the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast — on shelves in health food stores and on tap at coffee shops, bars and restaurants. “We have decided that we want to limit ourselves to the region, Maryland and down to Florida,” Sarah says. “In the Southeast, there is so much potential for growth.”
in the spotlight Person of interest: Kelly Davis Company: Lusty Monk Mustard based in Asheville, N.C.
“I’m always amazed at the enthusiasm of the mustard converts that we have gotten. I’m blown away by the support of the food community — the chefs and the food lovers that have made us successful. I never would have anticipated that when we first started out. It’s been a wonderful surpise.” — Kelly Davis, Lusty Monk Mustards
T H E B IG P I C TU R E A majority of female-owned businesses are considered small business ventures, starting from humble beginnings like Buchi. The Small Business Administration reports that most female-owned businesses — 87 percent — are small, with receipts of less than $50,000, while only 2.7 percent of female-owned businesses produced more than $200,000 annually. These reports over the past decade reveal that women-owned businesses and small businesses, too, play a significant role in the U.S. economy. However, other research reveals that women-owned businesses account for 28.2 percent of U.S. businesses, grossing only a mere 4.2 percent of all revenues in the country. A few explanations for the low overall revenue is that perhaps these women are part-time, stay-at-home moms or that the business exists for a short period of time, or also that women come in and out of business ownership more so than men. “ ... there are a few solid programs that actually generate information and knowledge and engage entrepreneurs — especially women and minorities — to grow their businesses,” the report says. This is where facilities such as Blue Ridge Food Ventures come in handy. The commercial kitchen gives women the opportunity to see if indeed the food industry is a viable business option for them by acting, more or less, as training wheels for if and when they want to make the big plunge of launching a fullfledged business. “Blue Ridge Food Ventures is an amazing gift to the Asheville community or a person who has a creative idea and wants to get their idea going,” says Theresa Green, who started UliMana, a raw chocolates company, through BRFV. 16
“It’s just really nice when you are starting a business to have support from people here,” Theresa says. “Mary Lou has been really, really helpful — just knowing that if there is a question that there is a support system. It just feels good to know you aren’t in it alone and to just get to know all the other small business owners.” Theresa’s goal with her company is to keep it small and manageable, where she pays her eight part-time employees $11 per hour. The facility has allowed her to keep her business at the small level she needs so she can fulfill other aspects of her life — yoga and family. “It’s allowed me to not take out a loan, just be able to keep it small,” she says. She works at BRFV twice a week now and distributes here chocolates across the country to Whole Foods and independent groceries in Northern and Southern California, as well as Earth Fare and co-ops across the region. Mary Lou says 10 percent of the people who contact her actually end up in production at the commercial kitchen, yet some might be producing elsewhere. For instance, Jenna Ryan, in Greenville, S.C., looked into using the food incubator’s kitchen once a week, but realized it was too long of a trek for her — on top of raising two young boys. “I’m cuckoo enough to start a business right now,” she says. Jenna, a from-scratch baker, jazzes up the traditional, plain Jewish challah by stuffing it with sweet and savory goodness — think s’mores, peanut butter cups, “everything” (like the bagel) and roasted garlic. After a serious “kicking in the tuchus,” Jenna realized her challah-baking venture could be a huge success, and using kickstarter. com, Jenna got her artisan baking business Hoot & Challah Baking Co. off the ground by raising enough money to cover start-up costs.
What it is: A family-owned company that makes three flavors of mustards. “It’s a very spicy fresh-ground mustard,” Kelly says. “Pretty much the closet thing you can get to fresh-ground mustard without grinding it yourself.” Where her product is sold: Specialty stores across the Southeast and the Rocky Mountain region How she got her start: “I started playing around with mustard as a hobby probably in 2004, and I incorporated the business in 2007. It’s been growing, slowly but steadily since then.” She started using Blue Ridge Food Ventures and since then has graduated to her very own commercial kitchen. Story behind the mustard’s name: “I was doing ‘mustard research’ and came upon a tidbit about a very strict medieval order of monks who weren’t allowed to eat mustard because they thought it was an aphrodisiac, and that cracked me up,” Kelly says. “So, I named the mustard Lusty Monk.” Lusty Monk’s future: “My goals keep changing, oddly enough. In the beginning I was all about conquering the world with the mustard, but as I kept going, what I discovered was that I am content to remain a small business,” Kelly says. “I don’t have a desire to manage employees or deal with all the ins and outs of a factory. My sister makes the mustard in small batches out in Albuquerque, and I make it here in Asheville. We ship to a variety of stores around the country, but for the most part we sell in our respective regions. I like this model. We remain a handcrafted artisan mustard, we get to control the product quality, and we stay connected with our customers on a personal basis.” Get your hands on some: lustymonk.com
in the spotlight Person of interest: Anastasia Dellaccio Company: Dolci Gelati, based in Washington, D.C. What it is: An artisan gelato company that was started in Washington, D.C., in 2006 by Anastasia and her husband, pastry chef Gianluigi Dellaccio, who is from Naples, Italy.
Sources: Center for Women’s Business Research, Small Business Administration, Business Know-How
Where her product is sold: National Zoo, Nationals Stadium, Whole Foods, Yes Organic Market and specialty shops, as well as festivals such as the Cherry Blossom Parade in Washingon, D.C. The product is also sold in two locations, King of Prussia and Elverson, along the Pennsylvania Turnpike. How they got their start: “We went around on our Vespa with a cooler strapped to the back. We went door to door to restaurants and had them sample our stuff, and it really took off,” she says. “We decided after a year in business that in order to take the business through the winter it would be a great idea to launch a product and sell it in markets rather than just restaurants.” Before Gianluigi came to the U.S., he got his start working for his family in their chain of gelatarios in Bonn, Germany. Now, Gianluigi and Anastasia run their business out of a warehouse in D.C. Dolci Gelati’s future: “Immediately, looking into the summer, we want to build on our catering, provide gelato for more conventions and meetings that are hosted in the area. Up our weddings,” Anastasia says. “I also really want to get our popsicles launched officially and see them at the zoo and stadium.” Get your hands on some: dolcigelati.net
I wouldn’t have the entrepreneurial spirit without him.” — Anastasia Dellaccio, of Dolci Gelati, about her husband, Gianluigi.
Since BRFV is too far away, Jenna is instead using a local baker’s oven a few times a week to make her challah. The two met serendipitously through a mutual friend, made an instant connection and then decided to form a business partnership, much like the case with the Buchi Mamas. Molly Simon’s cake decorating company, Cake Notice, is currently incubating Hoot & Challah. Jenna’s bread is now sold locally and she ships nationwide through her website, hootandchallah.com. “My friend had incubated my business when I needed a kitchen, and I felt it was only right to allow Jenna the same opportunity,” Molly says, recognizing their entrepreneurial spirit and businesses were indeed very similar. “I have complete faith in her products. It is such
high quality and it sells. “I have always believed that creativity breeds creativity, and having Jenna around is not only a blessing for my taste buds; it’s also been a joy being able to bounce ideas off her, have her taste my products, and have her generally be a great baker buddy for me to communicate with.” These women have paved the way for future food ventures by not only creating a support system, but by spreading inspiration as well. “It goes to show what people can accomplish independently and what women can do helping one another,” Jenna says. “I think it’s awesome that women are helping one another and this common thread of sisterhood. It’s really phenomenal.” June 2012
hat is Relay Foods? RelayFoods.com is a comprehensive online grocery with a strong emphasis on local foods. It brings together local farmers, food artisans, shops, and grocers to make the best food Central Virginia has to offer easily accessible.
Zach Buckner Online grocer provides Central Virginians with fresh, local fare by marissa Hermanson Zach Buckner, Charlottesville, Va., entrepreneur and engineer, founded the online grocer RelayFoods.com with the focus of bringing Central Virginia folks local food in an affordable and efficient manner by creating convenient pick-up stops within the community. Since starting in 2009, Buckner’s Relay Foods has expanded to Richmond, and down the road he envisions the company going nationwide. “I don’t think the appetite for local, sustainable food is a mere trend, and I think Relay will be perfectly positioned as increasing numbers of people look for easy ways to access fresh food,” he says. 18
What is Relay’s mission and why is it important? Our mission is to make eating quality, healthy and sustainable food simple. This mission really cuts to the heart of key issues we face as a community and as individuals. Even though we’re all concerned by news stories about rising obesity rates, the loss of local jobs and environmental degradation, busy careers and other obligations can make it difficult to act on our concerns. At Relay, we’re trying to make it easier to shop according your conscience by making it more convenient to buy fresh, nutritious food from local, sustainable farmers than imported produce from big-box stores. What cities is Relay in and when was it started? We served our first customer in Charlottesville in 2009 and expanded our operations to Richmond in the summer of 2010. Who does it serve? Relay is for everyone with an interest in simplifying their shopping and supporting the local food system. Our customers are young professionals, busy families, retirees and even college students. Among many others, we serve local foodies, athletes, vegans, teachers, gluten-free families, local businesses, cooking professionals and new mothers. Why did you start Relay? I started Relay because I’d been to the grocery store one too many times. My family lived in Charlottesville, and I’d had exposure to the great local food culture in this part of Virginia, but wondered how to incorporate it into our lives with three children (now four!) keeping us on our toes. My background is in computer programming and engineering, so with the help of mentors at University of Virginia’s Darden Business School, I took the lessons of online grocers that failed in the early 2000s, put together an easy-to-use website and tried to make the whole world of local foods a little easier for busy families like my own. The rest is history.
What other companies in our region — the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast — have similar business models? While humility is usually my aim, I’d say that no one else in the area is doing what we’re hoping to do at Relay. That’s not to say that there isn’t amazing work going on in this area. There are CSAs with specific farms that operate on a much smaller scale, there are farm clubs and buying clubs that require an up-front buy-in and have a limited, exclusively local inventory, there are storefronts that sell great local food. The difference is that Relay has the potential to replace the need for trips to the grocery store altogether. We’re a onestop shop that drives sales to local vendors but also provides the convenience and selection of more than 35,000 items. Services in bigger cities, like New York’s FreshDirect, are based on very high population density and probably wouldn’t work as well in mid-size cities like Richmond or towns like Charlottesville. What are your plans for Relay in the near future and further down the road? Here at Relay, we dream big. In the near future, we’ll continue to get the word out about what we’re doing and support our local vendors. This spring, we’ve unrolled a few new projects that have the potential to do great things for local vendors. Our Tasting Box is helping Charlottesvillians and Richmonders get to know our local producers by providing a monthly selection of the best-of-the-best. Our Virginia’s Bounty Basket is a selection of the best, freshest local produce picked from our vendors’ fields. We’ll offer that throughout the growing season as another way for our customers to learn more about seasonal produce. We also just launched Richmond’s first local baby food maker, Cara’s Kitchen, and I’m hoping that will be a great resource for moms who shop Relay. Where are you looking to expand in our region? This one is under wraps for now, but we’ll let you know as soon as the news goes public!
2012 August BLUE RIDGE 18, 2012
Lake Junaluska, NC BREAKAWAY August 18, 2012
TAKE YOUR PASSION Explore terrain near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, in the Pigsah National Forest FOR CYCLING TO and on the Blue Ridge Parkway. A NEW LEVEL! Featuring:
For more information and registration, visit BlueRidgeBreakaway.com
Ride Features The Hawk, a Century, The Trout, a Metric Century, The Hawk, a Century The Panther, a 40-mile ride and The Rabbit, a 24 mile ride.
The Trout, a Metric Century
The Panther, a 40 mile Ride The Rabbit, a 24 mile ride
Sponsored in part by the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority. 800.334.9036 | VisitNCSmokies.com
Study Somatics in Depth Pacifica Graduate Institute’s M.A./Ph.D. Program in Depth Psychology with Emphasis in Somatic Studies Neuroscience has now convincingly demonstrated the functional unity between mind and body. This validates one of the foundational principles of depth psychology—an understanding that there are forces of the psyche that stimulate the body’s capacity to heal itself. This new paradigm has led Pacifica to offer this exciting new degree program specialization.
An Accredited Graduate School with Two Campuses near Santa Barbara, CA
805.969.3626, ext. 305
www. pacifica.edu June 2012
3/23/12 5:07 PM
by Erica Jackson Curran
Only in the South would a dish like pimiento cheese, composed primarily of cheese and mayonnaise, be embraced as a staple everywhere from swanky cocktail parties to backyard barbecues. Against all odds, the humble dish has worked its way up the food chain, earning a coveted spot in the echelons of Southern cuisine.
“It’s right up there with greens, rice, pork, fried chicken, and deviled eggs,” says Melissa Hall, who works for the nonprofit Southern Foodways Alliance. “A triumvirate squared, if you will.” It wouldn’t be a stretch to call Hall a pimiento cheese expert; in 2003, she helped put together the “Pimiento cheese Invitational,” sort of a Bible for pimiento cheese lovers chock full of recipes and stories from folks throughout the country — but mainly the South. “Pimiento Cheese as we know it hasn’t, until recently, really existed outside of the South,” Hall says. “Lots of reasons are likely, not the least of which are the presence of pimiento canning operations in the South and the broad appeal of cold dishes in a traditionally hot region.”
what we did!
pimiento cheese + bacon + bibb lettuce + cucumber + tomato = delicious!
Typically the dish is made with shredded cheddar cheese, mayonnaise (homemade if you’re fancy; Duke’s if you’re in a pinch) and pimiento peppers, then served as a dip with crackers and celery. Of the many recipes in the book, Hall says, “I most enjoyed the ones that acknowledge the realities of the way Southerners eat now. Recipes with Italian cheeses, roasted red peppers (rather than pimiento), spicier peppers (think jalapeno), or with fresh herbs.” Like many traditional Southern foods, pimiento cheese’s popularity is growing steadily, but Hall doesn’t think it’s a passing fad. She credits Mississippi native Craig Claiborne, a longtime food critic for The New York Times, for helping to transform the way Americans think about food. “One point he made long ago bears repeating today: ‘Southern food is this country’s only native cuisine,’” Hall says. “As such, it ought to be celebrated and explored. Hopefully what this moment will lead to is a deeper understanding of the breadth and richness to Southern food.” Brian and Sassy Henry, owners of Pawley’s Island Specialty Foods, recognize pimiento cheese as “memory food.” Brian Henry says of their customers, “They remember eating it as a child, as their moms and grandmothers made it on a fairly regular basis.” The company is perhaps best known for their Palmetto Cheese, which is sold in many grocery stores in traditional, bacon and jalapeno flavors. Sassy started making it years ago while living in Atlanta and tailgating at Braves games; and when they moved to Pawleys Island, S.C., to take over the historic Sea View Inn, Sassy served the cheese at lowcountry shrimp boils. Vertrella Brown, a family friend and cook at the inn, put her finishing touch on the recipe, earning her photo on the container lid.
Feast’s Pimiento Cheese
“Every recipe is different,” Collier says. “I can share the ingredients and your readers can mix them in the proportions that they like best to make their own signature pimiento cheese.” Extra sharp or sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated Mayonnaise: your favorite brand Mustard: can be grainy, yellow or Dijon Diced pimientos: Feast uses roasted red peppers and pickled Peppadews (sweet piquanté peppers) Optional ingredients balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, sugar
Melissa Hall’s Pimiento Cheese 8 oz sharp yellow cheddar
a little salt
8 oz extra sharp white cheddar
Coarse black pepper, freshly ground (enough to make you think about sneezing)
4 oz parmesan grated on the big side of a box grater and mixed together with 2 large roasted red peppers, chopped fine
All bound together with enough Duke’s to make the cheese moist but not soupy
“Palmetto Cheese has a little kick to it,” Henry explains. “We use just the right amount of spices to get your attention, but not overwhelm you. It also has some other ingredients that you don’t always find in pimiento cheese that give it a full flavor profile. These two things combined give it uncommon goodness, what we refer to as soul.” At Feast, a gourmet deli in Charlottesville, Va., pimiento cheese has been one of their most popular offerings for eight years. Their “famous” pimiento cheese sandwich is on toasted focaccia bread with sliced cucumbers, and the Mediterranean party platter also includes pimiento cheese with fresh vegetables and crackers. “We use great sharp cheddar cheese, delicious peppers and mix every batch together by hand to get the ideal creamy consistency,” co-owner Kate Collier says. “The key to great pimiento cheese is the hand mixing — we wear thin plastic gloves. The warmth of your hands creams the ingredients together so they mix for best taste. This method also encourages tasting and adding ingredients until you get it just right. Pimiento cheese benefits from sitting at room temperature for a few hours so the flavors meld before being eaten or put in the fridge.” Collier learned to make the cheese “on the step-stool beside my mother when I was old enough to hand mix.” She adds, “Our recipe comes from the McLawhorn family of eastern North Carolina. At family reunions, everybody brings their version of pimiento cheese to share. Some are sweet, some are mustardy. Everyone thinks theirs is the best.”
photos Cartel Management Inc
Supermodel Marisa Miller talks about her SUP line with Surftech and Breathe’s adventure writer tells you how to get started When Marisa Miller isn’t strutting down the runway for Victoria’s Secret, acting as the face of Harley-Davidson or arm in arm with hubby Griffin Guess, you can find the supermodel turned actressentrepreneur embracing her California roots at Malibu beach atop her standup paddleboard. Last August, Marisa, an avid surfer as well as paddleboard pro, launched a line of standup paddleboards (commonly called SUPs) with Surftech to better accommodate the female physique. “I wanted to design a board that fit a woman’s body better than current boards available that was light enough for women to carry on their own,” Marisa says. The petite supermodel was tired of lugging heavy, cumbersome SUP boards down to the beach; so she took it upon herself to create a board fit for ladies. The Surftech Marisa Miller board is smaller, lighter and features a handle in the center, which makes carrying convenient and hassle-free. Her boards are 10 feet long
and weigh a mere 22 pounds. “A lot of the boards I’ve tried are hard to carry and too big. My designs focus on creating a board that is lighter and easy to carry, but is still really stable and gives you control and maneuverability in the water. I hope all women can find my boards are a fun way to workout and enjoy the water,” Marisa says. “Having this SUP line with Surftech is a great new frontier for women who want to stay in shape and explore the ocean, rivers and lakes. Working closely with Randy French in shaping these models allowed me to craft the exact needs for a woman.” It’s no surprise to see beach babe Marisa using SUP to get trimmed and toned. SUP workouts are becoming more and more popular with women because they strengthen core muscles and burn calories. Check out her boards at surftech.com/marisa and learn more about Marisa at marisamiller.com. – Marissa Hermanson June 2012
walk on water
If you’re up for it, there are plenty of places to test your paddleboarding prowess across the region. Here are a few:
Charleston Wild Dunes Resort wilddunes.com Myrtle Beach Surf the Earth surf-the-earth.com
carolina beach Carolina Beach Surf House surfhousenc.com Kitty Hawk Kitty Hawk Surf Co. khsurf.com Wrightsville Beach Coastal Urge coastalurge.com
Chattanooga L2Boards l2boards.com Waconda Bay SUP Yoga acondabaysupyoga.com
Potomac Paddlesports potomacpaddlesports.com
virginia beach Tula Adventure Sports tulasports.com richmond East Coast Board Sports eastcoastboardsports.com
Learn the lingo SUP is short for standup paddleboarding
ack in the 1960s, famous beach boys on the coast of Waikiki, Hawaii, used long outrigger canoeing paddles to help control their surfboards. That way, they could keep an eye on tourists during their surf lessons and even snap photos. Turns out, it was also a blast. So, it didn’t take long for it to catch on and turn into a sport. In fact, it was eventually added to surf contests and today has morphed into standup paddleboarding, or SUP, which can be enjoyed on even the wimpiest of ocean waves. Instead of lying face down and paddling out to catch a wave, you stand upright on the paddleboard and propel through the water using a single, long, angled paddle. For those who don’t live near the beach, never fear: It can be done in marinas, harbors, inland lakes and rivers far from the seacoast. Known for giving participants a full-body workout, SUP has a broad appeal because it’s fairly easy for all ages to learn. Just ask Stu Schuck, paddleboard instructor at the Wild Dunes Resort in South Carolina and waterman extraordinaire. The 48-year-old has taught hundreds of people since picking up the sport five years ago. “I have seen some incredible physical transformations from people who start and continue to paddle,” Schuck says. His lessons go something like this: After a few quick tips, each guest hops onto a sturdy SUP board, typically about 12 feet long and much thicker and buoyant that a regular surfboard. With paddles in hand, guests take off through a beautiful scenic creek where they pass waterfront mansions and a wilderness area. “We enter areas that are extremely quiet except for the marsh hens,” he says. “It is peaceful, but you know there is lots of life around you.” Once they approach the Intracoastal Waterway, the nature overload continues. Here, it’s not uncommon to spot pods of dolphins, black skimmers flying overhead and even manatees in the summertime.
I wanted to design a board that fit a woman’s body better than current boards available that was light enough for women to carry on their own. — marisa Miller
“I love to paddle in the early mornings in the ocean as the sun is coming up,” he explains. “That’s when the ocean is teaming with life, especially the dolphins, and it seems as if they are hanging out with you. To be that close to nature is very exciting.” Beyond the zen-like atmosphere, women love the fact that you are burning plenty of calories. In fact, Schuck says,,“ The average female will burn between 500 to 700 calories per hour compared to running on a treadmill, which will burn 300 to 400.” With that said, it is an excellent way to work your core muscles. It’s a very solid workout, and one of the most exhilarating ways to get exercise, Schuck says. For starters, the fact that you are standing and balancing on a board helps strengthen the legs, back, shoulders, arms and glutes. Since it’s very low impact, it’s a great way to cross train, especially for skiers, snowboarders and other athletes The best part: You choose your speed. If you’d like to only work on balance, opt for a SUP yoga class, which incorporates everything from sun salutations to the final resting pose. If you want more of an aerobic workout, then just paddle harder. Fast paddlers can generate speeds of more than 10 mph. Or, try a calisthenics workout. These types of classes sometimes include squats, push-ups and squat thrusts on the board. Experts say you can work up to 85 percent of the muscles in the body this way. Whatever style you choose, one thing is fairly certain: If you like the outdoors and enjoy a workout, you are likely going to enjoy the sport of paddleboarding. — sarah sekula
Marisa miller $360; surftech.com/ marisa Oakley underspin polarized sunglasses $180; oakley.com
patagonia sunshade hoodie $59; patagonia.com
Get the Gear! If you want to skip the lessons and go at it on your own, the first thing you need to purchase is a board. Prices range from $400 to $2,000. You’ll also need a paddle that’s roughly 6 to 8 inches taller than you.
athleta Scrunch Bikini Top and Notsostring Bottom patagonia Santa Ana Board Short
$25 & $42; athleta.com
$36; patagonia.com Breathe staff pick 10’ marisa Miller surftech sup $1,715; surftech.com/marisa MTI Fluid Belt Pack sealine eSeries™ 8 case
Neutrogena wet skin spray spf 85 $11.50; drugstore.com neova dna damage control silc sheer 2.0 spf 45 $43; drugstore.com
olukai ‘amo sandals $60; olukai.com
GET ON THE WATER AT
LESSONS | RENTALS | PARTIES | TOURS | BOAT RIDES | SALES
OF VIRGINIA BEACH
STANDUP PADDLEBOARD | WAKEBOARD | WATERSKI | BOAT TOURS TUBING | KAYAK | CAMPS | CORPORATE EVENTS | TEAM BUILDING | PARTIES tulasports.com 757.502.8852
$10 OFF any Tour, Lesson or Rental OR buy 3 Paddleboard Tours and get the 4th Person Free with this coupon *not valid on holiday weekends
unwind and reconnect...
An amazing bridge spans the waters. And the waters bridge the generations.
Humpback Bridge was built in 1857 so horse drawn carriages could cross Dunlap Creek. Today, families ﬂock to the Alleghany Highlands to kayak, ﬁsh, jetski and swim in the clear waters of our lakes, rivers and streams. History over the water, good clean fun on it. It’s uniquely Alleghany.
Created in 1940, Snowbird Mountain Lodge was conceived as a place to relax, renew and refresh spirits. You’ll find stylish cuisine, hot stone massages, mountain biking, canoeing, stand up paddle boarding, and much more.
www.visitalleghanyhighlands.com 540-962-2178 · 888-430-5786 Like us on
4633 Santeetlah Rd. Robbinsville, NC 28771 800.941.9290 swowbirdlodge.com
climbing with kate reese mcginnis by amelia walton
Reese McGinnis doesn’t mince words when it comes to talking about her love of climbing. When asked about the sport in its various forms, this Atlanta climber says quickly and simply, “It’s in my DNA. I’m just supposed to go up.” This unwavering approach to the sport has defined Kate’s career as a professional climber, though it doesn’t do justice to the passion and heart that she brings to the pursuit of getting “up” with as much grace, artistry and near gravity-defying grip that her petit powerhouse of a frame can muster. Kate was first introduced to climbing at a summer adventure camp in southern Pennsylvania when she was 10 years old. Before that, she was quick to dart up a tree, always seeking a better vantage, and even then, something of a challenge. Armed with the infectious and triumphant feeling of the rock still in her hands, she returned home that summer and asked her parents to help her find a camp that was solely for climbing for the following summer. The rest, she says, is history. To really understand the allure of climbing, it’s important to understand that it satisfies the very basic desire to defy the odds. Seasoned climber Andrew Bisharat wrote, “Every climber knows that Newton got it wrong: gravity is not a constant, but a variable force susceptible to luck, coincidence and how much training we’ve done.” Kate seconds this by adding that not only do climbers hang on when they should be falling, but that the sport is defined for her by being “a constant, endless act of pushing myself to the absolute furthest that I can go to find out what I’m really capable of, and knowing that my capacity is continuing to grow the harder that I push; there’s always room for more.” This cyclical constant in climbing is maddening, inspiring, exciting, and in Kate’s case, insatiable. For those not familiar with the sport, rock climbing can largely be broken down into the three disciplines: traditional climbing, sport or route climbing and bouldering. Traditional (trad) climbing is the grandfather of the group, defined by the climber setting the necessary hardware in the surface of the rock while ascending. These climbs are typically very long, lasting over many days in some cases, and require a great deal of knowledge and technical experience. Perhaps because of this, sport climbing, and more recently, bouldering, have gained popularity for their accessibility and the unique challenge that each bring to the table. Sport climbing, which has always been Kate’s passion, tends to have shorter routes that are predetermined because the protection is already bolted to the wall or rock. The emphasis in sport climbing is on the acrobatic execution of the climber’s maneuvers and the endurance that is required to finish a route. Bouldering is the newest iteration of the sport, popular both for its challenge and for the fact that all one needs to get started is a pair of climbing shoes, a bag of chalk and something safe to land on. With bouldering, climbs are almost always under 25 feet and the challenge lies in being able to find your next move while gripping nearly miniscule variations on the rock. Although most climbers will dabble in all three, the different disciplines can be very polarizing, and almost anyone who loves the challenge of pulling themselves up will be quick to offer a strong opinion about which of these variations is superior. When asked about which type of climbing she prefers, Kate defies the norm and starts talking with genuinely warm enthusiasm for the act of climbing as a whole. Although she is primarily competing as a sport climber these days, she feels what she describes as a “primal compulsion” to be pulling herself up on something as often as possible, whether that is in a gym, in the woods or under a pull-up bar. She talks about climbing as a need, something that she has to do to feel balance and to feel really connected to who she is in her core. Since welcoming her daughter, Annie, into the world nearly two years ago, Kate is even more acutely aware of the joy of training because her time to train is limited. Strikingly, she can simultaneously talk about wanting to climb more and wanting to be with her family more; but there is not a single note of dissonance in her voice as she talks about two desires that some might see as being mutually exclusive. Much like her daughter, climbing is so much a part of who Kate is, that she nurtures it as part of her life, not an escape from it. This maternal warmth should not be mistaken for softness, though. When Kate does start talking in earnest about training, there is no mistaking that she is a professional athlete. There are only a handful of athletes who are able to support themselves solely with a climbing career, so Kate is with the broader group of professional climbers who are sponsored but have to work hard to balance work, life, training and 28
3 key moves for building upper-body strength This is one area where the gold standards and all their variations are still king. Kate recommends sticking with a basic routine of pull-ups, push-ups, and the forearm strengthening reverse wrist curls. To do it, grab a small free weight, 2 to 5 pounds to start, with an overhand grip. Keeping the arm extended and locked, raise the weight by pointing the knuckles as high as possible and then lower it by pointing the knuckles as low as possible. Repeat. Kate is clear that protecting your joints and muscles through strength training is key for a happy climbing experience and says that she typically recommends strength training every other day. She doesn’t do a prescribed set of reps and instead just goes until her body can go no more. That’s climbing for you.
Favorite climbing spots
For bouldering, Kate and her husband like to visit Rock Town near Pigeon Mountain, Ga., for the quality of the boulders and its unique sandstone. She feels that these are some of the best naturally occurring problems in the world, though she is quick to point out that they typically avoid this area on the weekends. For sport climbing, she promises that it doesn’t get better than Little River Canyon in Alabama. The remote natural beauty of the canyon is unforgettable and Kate loves that you can get up on a wall and the only sound that you’ll hear is the river running. “It’s a great place to recharge,” she says.
climbing. She made the transition into the professional arena when she started competing in what’s known as “open” competitions in the climbing world more than 12 years ago. She ideally chooses a couple of major competitions each year, preferring to focus on quality of results over quantity of competitions. In working to meet the needs of her family and her desire to climb, Kate will be the first to admit that her training schedule is flexible but persistent. She will jump on an opportunity to strength train after her daughter goes to bed, and it’s not uncommon to see the whole family heading out to the rocks in the dim morning light. In this way, Kate is able to find a needed and comfortable balance in her role as a mother and her role as an athlete. Climbing is a unique sport in that a climber is largely competing with herself to complete a route, most obviously because it’s just a climber and the problem, and more specifically because successful climbing is all about finding the sweet spot between hanging on just enough while still conserving enough energy to guarantee completion of the route. Sport climbing is particularly challenging because the climber is trying to intuit a predetermined route and the longer problems in sport climbing demand an intimidating amount of endurance. For these reasons, sport climbing is quickly gaining recognition for engaging some of the most deft athletes on the circuit and is even being considered as a 2020 Olympic event, which Kate is preparing for. Kate says that the powerful appeal of sport climbing is that it’s “a head crux because there’s always an element of fear and doubt to be pushing through and overcoming, but when you find yourself on the other side of that fear, it’s an absolutely electrical feeling.” It’s this feeling, the one of triumph and power, that motivates not just Kate, but most avid climbers to talk about climbing with a kind of feverish poetic license. Within minutes of talking about why Kate loves the sport, words like “pure” and “artistry” come tumbling out. At its core, climbing is a celebration of humans not conquering nature, but working with it in a tender, calculated and fanatical way. Most climbers will talk about the details of an ascent with a kind of romantic accuracy that is more commonly reserved for the passionate pen of a young lover trying to count the ways that he loves thee. This love is so palpable that it becomes quickly infectious; it’s hard not to feel empowered by the possibility of defying gravity when you hear Kate say, “climbing is a return to the truest part of who we are. As children we’re always literally reaching up and trying to discover a new way to do something; as climbers we’re satisfying that urge, but it’s more than that, we’re rediscovering one of our most primal instincts — to pull ourselves up — so that we can really experience the full breadth of what we’re capable of.”
gear to get
1. Mammut El Cap Helmet, $70, mammut.com 2. Stonewear Designs Kaia Halter, $54: stoneweardesigns.com 3. Stonewear Designs Rockin’ Capri, $70, stoneweardesigns.com 4. Kates’s pick 5.10 Hornet climbing shoes, $163, fiveten.com 5. Mammut Ophira Harness, $50, mammut.com June 2012
travel Staying over? For lodging, check out the Manor Inn Bed & Breakfast, Highlawn Inn Bed & Breakfast and the Cacapon Resort State Park. For dining, consider Lot 12 (117 Warren St.) or the Panorama at the Peak (Route 9 west 3.5 miles from town) at the scenic overlook for gourmet versions of local cuisine, including, in-season ramps (wild leeks) and morel mushrooms. Reservations are recommended.
Berkeley Springs, West Virginia
Two names, one unique spot
Berkeley Springs, W.Va., just off the beaten paths of Interstate Routes 70 and 81, has two names (originally Bath) and more than enough unique offerings to make it worth a visit. It’s both a European-style warm springs resort with its very own castle, a quiet West Virginia mountain town with lovely scenic views, antiques and quilts and a sophisticated country escape for foodies and art lovers from nearby big cities of Washington, D.C, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. The town makes a convenient stopover on a longer trip and a great spot for a daytrip or weekend getaway. On a one- or two-hour detour stopover, lunch at one of the several Washington Street cafes. Visit nearby antique and herb emporia and walk in the Berkeley Springs State Park. There, dip your hands in the springs by George Washington’s bathtub, a shallow bathtub-shaped pool carved in stone. A two-hour stop allows time for a bargain dip in the healing waters (half an hour for as low as $22) at the spa at the State Park or Old Roman Bath House. Visitors staying longer have plenty of time to enjoy the healing waters at one or more of the town’s five spas (berkeleysprings.com/spas). My daughter and I drove up on a Saturday. Our daytrip girlbonding mission was lunching, shopping, gallery hopping and sightseeing in the historic center. Our leisurely lunch at Tari’s did not disappoint (33 North Washington St.). In a sunlit room displaying local art and jewelry, I enjoyed a bratwurst with homemade mustard and German potato salad, and Jennie polished off a salmon BLT with local applewood bacon and dill sauce. Armed with maps and brochures from the visitor’s center, we walked off our calories with a turn around town to see the two plots of land purchased by George Washington (marked by a stone monument and plaque) and the local museum to learn 30
Two Names? Native Americans availed themselves of the healing waters and shared their knowledge of the warm springs with the Europeans. In 1748, George Washington, surveying the area for Lord Thomas Fairfax, first bathed in the springs. In 1776, the Virginia legislature established the town as Bath, which is the name today of the historic district. In 1802, when the Virginia postal system was established, a town of Bath already existed so the town took the name of the warm springs — Berkeley. In 1863, the western part of Virginia split off to become West Virginia.
After hours Evening entertainment includes music at various venues, often the Black Cat Music store, and Fairfax Café (23 Fairfax St.). Or, if you are visiting between May and October, be sure to check out the local arts scene at the first Friday gallery walks. Weekday visitor, beware Wednesday is the traditional closing day for many shops throughout Berkeley Springs, although the wine shop closes Tuesday. The spas open daily except for a few holidays. Free parking is available on Wilkes Street and on weekdays also in the parking lot of St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church. No matter how long or short your visit, fill an empty water container at the Gentleman’s Bath House tap in Berkeley Springs State Park. Where else can you get five gallons of healing waters to take home for free?
about the area’s history and geology. Located in the Roman Bath House, the museum is open only on weekends. We spent a long time contemplating purchases of jewelry and fiber art at the Ice House Co-op Gallery (Independence and Mercer streets) across the street from Lighthouse Lattes and Sweets, a spot to special order doughnuts. Then we traipsed off to the Saturday afternoon wine tasting at the Wilkes Street Wine shop (47 Independence St.). Their generous pours of six different wines introduced us to a new, basic Portuguese Table Red (which we bought to bring home) and a distinct appreciation for how many fine quality wines from all over the world this shop owner was able to fit in its tiny space. We window-shopped the delicate handmade dulcimers and electric and acoustic guitars at the Black Cat Music Shop (91 N. Washington St.) and the thrift bargains at the Rag Shop (109 W. Washington St.). We explored antique shops at both ends of town and could not resist the handmade soaps and bulk herbs and teas at Sage Moon (15 Fairfax St.) or the locally made amber body lotion from Lunar Herbs (77 N. Washington St.). Be sure to swing up to the Panorama Overlook, just 3 miles outside of town, and enjoy the same unspoiled view of the mountain scenery and conjunction of the Cacapon and Potomac rivers that captivated our first president. — Joan Leotta
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