The Alternative Table: Willowdale Farm

Catherine and Portia

Catherine Harrison with her milking sheep Portia. (Photos: Karen Gay)

Cape Charles Wave

May 18, 2015

Catherine Harrison, of Willowdale Farm in Painter, is an unexpected cross between a mad scientist and a business executive. Looking at her land, you’d think that there isn’t much farming going on there, but what she is growing blends in with the green pastures full of what we might call weeds: chicory, clover, and grass.

She produces a line of skin care products called Celluvati, which she coined from the word “cell” and the Sanskrit word “uvati,” which means young, beautiful woman. Her prize ingredient is the orange Sea Buckthorn berry, which grows on a distinctive herb with long and narrow dusty green leaves. The berries are known for preventing infections, improving sight, and slowing the aging process. The plant in the photo below is a Sea Buckthorn (but there are no berries on this one).

Sea BuckthornThere is a full line of Celluvati products which Catherine offers on the web at Products include moisturizers, eye creams, a serum, balm, and aftershave. I can attest to the lovely scent in the balm.

There is more to this farm than sea buckthorn, though. She has planted 250 Chinese chestnut trees and 250 native persimmons onto which she has grafted Japanese persimmons. There are goumi shrubs and elderberries. The goumi produce red berries with silver spots which can be eaten as a fruit or used as a botanical in future skin care products as they contain vitamins, flavonoids, and other bio-active compounds. Elderberry is also full of minerals and vitamins, particularly vitamin B17. The flowers can be used for tea, and the berries can be mashed for juice or used as a tonic for colds and flu. Elderberry is the source of the natural preservative used in the Celluvati products. [Read more…]

Group Says Harbor Cats Needed to Control Rodents

New ESSO recycle trailer across from Cape Charles Coffee House will turn aluminum cans into cat food for needy animals (with a little help from their friends).

New ESSO recycle trailer across from Cape Charles Coffee House will turn aluminum cans into cat food for needy animals (with a little help from their friends).

Eastern Shore Spay Organization

May 18, 2015

ESSO would like to thank all of our supporters and contributors who helped make our Cinco de Mayo Fiesta fundraiser a success. Don Valerio’s did an excellent Mexican buffet that was enjoyed by everyone. We offered Sangria and beer as well as appetizers and Mexican brownies for dessert. Sombreros and mustaches were complementary as well as a bottle of margarita mix for each guest, generously contributed by Blue Crab Bay Company.

We expect to net approximately $2,000 from our attendance and silent auction proceeds and we hope to make this an annual fund raising event. ESSO has also been awarded a $500 grant from the Walmart Community Grants Team. We thank Walmart for recognizing our community efforts to help the cats and dogs in our area and to educate everyone about the value of our spay/neuter service. The grant will be put to good use and is very much appreciated.

As many know, cats are necessary in a harbor town to keep the rodent population under control. If this is not realized the rodents can become a serious problem carrying disease and illness. ESSO is working hard to attain low population growth by spay/neutering as many animals as possible. [Read more…]


Shine and Rise Farm Gets PBS Attention for Innovation

Click above, then click again on the next image, and then fast-forward the media bar to 13:00 to watch the 7-minute video of Jay Ford and his Shine and Rise Farm.

Click above, click again, and then fast-forward the media bar to 13:00 to watch the 7-minute video of Jay Ford and his Shine and Rise Farm as featured on the PBS show “Virginia Currents.”

May 18, 2015

Shine and Rise Farm in Painter has been featured on the PBS show Virginia Currents for its innovative approach to agriculture. The program features the sustainable ways that fruits, vegetables, and animals are raised on the food forest farm.

Co-owners Tatum Sumners Ford and Jay Ford started Shine and Rise three years ago and since that time have planted over 10,000 perennial food plants in a ‘Food Forest’ a agricultural system that models the forest edge.

“When we started Shine and Rise we asked ourselves: what would farms look like if we designed them to focus on improving the well-being of our planet and the well-being of the people in our community? the Fords said. “That question keeps us innovating every day, experimenting with new ways to grow nutritionally dense, delicious foods for healthy people and a healthy planet. We are thrilled to share our work with the viewers of PBS so that they might consider planting their own little food forests as well. Just think what would happen if everyone planted a fruit tree — what a beautiful way to change the world.” [Read more…]

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Fresh Eggs and More at La Caridad Farm

Cape Charles Wave 

May 11, 2015

It was one of the few sunny spring days when Luis Echevarria and I wandered down the grassy path towards the poultry enclosure at the 40-acre La Caridad Farm in Parksley. As we approached, I noticed a large white goose honking furiously at us. This is a goose with the job of guarding the ducks — and he works for food.

Guard Goose

(Photos: Karen Gay)

Luis explained that several days before, this goose bit his wife Stacia Childers’ leg, causing a large and painful bruise. Since introducing the goose to the flock they have not lost any to predation. The well-guarded ducks are Welsh Harlequins, which weigh about 5 pounds and lay an egg almost every day. Their eggs are larger than chicken eggs, but Luis prizes them mostly for their richness. When Stacia joined us she kept her distance from the goose.

The chickens are in an adjoining enclosure and are of varied breeds. The rooster shown at right is a Dorking, the white hens are Delawares, the brown hen is a New Hampshire and the black hen is an Australorp. They also have Easter Egg layers or Ameraucanas, which produce green, olive, blue or pastel colored eggs.

Luis and Stacia gave me a dozen eggs to take home with me and I ran a test a few days later. I borrowed an egg which had come from regular Food Lion eggs. I photographed the La Caridad and Food Lion egg side by side. Can you guess which one came from La Caridad? The answer is at the bottom of the article. [Read more…]


Prima Ballerina Allison Shockley rehearses her point dance for her role as Patsy the Banana Spider in “Incredible Exploits of an Effervescent Elf.” Performances are Saturday, May 16, 7 p.m. and Sunday, May 17, 3 p.m. at the Historic Palace Theatre, 305 Mason Avenue. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children, and may be purchased immediately before performance at the box office.

TRIBUTE: Jack White and Locker Number 1


Jack White, 1926-2015

American Legion Post 56 Commander

April 6, 2015

Members of American Legion Post 56 attended a funeral March 28 for our friend and fellow Legionnaire Jack White. Jack’s passing had many of his friends and family remembering all the good works he performed and the various committees he served on. They also recalled his great passion for the people of Northampton County and the shore in general — but for me it was a little more personal.

Over a decade ago I was a fresh arrival to the Town of Cape Charles from another garden spot of the world that I had recently served in. It took about two months to get back into the swing of things again and somewhere during that time I had the honor and privilege to meet Mr. Jack White at Rayfield’s. As I recall he was living close to the beach in those days and I was invited into his home to chat about my recent overseas adventures.

It was during one of these conversations that I learned that Jack served in the military during WW II with the Army Air Corps, the forerunner to today’s Air Force, but what he really liked to talk about was his brother who was a former POW in Germany. Jack’s eyes beamed when he spoke about his brother and he made it an emphatic point that his brother was in a “stalag” prison camp just like one depicted in the movie Stalag 17. Jack was proud of his military service and loved everything that America represented so it was just a matter of time before I’d see him at the newly revived Legion Post. [Read more…]


An Afternoon Chat with Mayor Proto

Mayor Proto takes oath of office. (Wave photo)

George Proto is sworn in last July as Mayor of Cape Charles (Wave photo)

Cape Charles Wave

March 30, 2014

Mayor George Proto has begun holding “office hours” twice monthly for an hour at the Cape Charles Civic Center, and last week the Wave took that opportunity for an interview. Proto holds degrees from Drexel (BS Physics) and University of Virginia (PhD Materials Science). He worked at IBM for 30 years, interacting with and managing diverse groups of people from multiple countries and continents.

“I was responsible for projects that demanded that people worked together in order to be successful.”

So, how did you come to find yourself in Cape Charles?

Well, my wife tells the story better than I can — but, briefly, I guess I would go back to 1999, and both our parents had just passed away, within a few months of each other. And we just wanted to get away, so went to Bethany Beach. We just wanted to sit in the sun, and just relax, maybe jump in the surf now and then. But it rained the entire time. The whole week.

Now my wife, who is from Milford, Delaware, still had a good friend living in Belle Haven, and since the weather was going to be so bad anyway, we drove down to the Eastern Shore to visit, and explore some. There were small towns all up and down, and I even got to see the Bridge-Tunnel for the first time (I had never been that far south on the Peninsula before).

On the way down to see the CBBT, we saw the sign for Cape Charles, so on the way back we pulled in and explored, and just fell in love with the place. We bought property, and when we retired, we moved here.

How would you rate the current status of Cape Charles?

Overall, I would say it’s in good shape. Of course, there’s much more to do. Obviously, from an economic standpoint, I would like to see more growth. The tourism — the current tourism we have I think is a good thing, but I would like to see more growth in industries that are year round. I think the yacht center is something we can look to, where the success there will create, or provide opportunities for other businesses to build up around it.

One asset that we do have in our favor is high speed Internet — did I ever tell you what I did when I worked for IBM? Well, basically whatever they told me to do (laughs) — but later on, I was working more in project management, or more problem management, where our teams were spread out all over the world. I think high speed Internet can allow that kind of collaborative work to occur here.

What we’d like to see is a little more density [year round], to help all of our businesses — but there are barriers to getting people to move here. Number one is the schools. Then there is the lack of emergency medical services. Third is the toll. Now, if we could lower the toll even more, I’m sure there are people in Virginia Beach that would move here, if we could also offer a better public school option. Like I said, I think our tourism is always going to be a big part of what we do, but in our case, it is the type of tourist that chooses to come here that differentiates us. They seem so willing to embrace us, to embrace our values. [Read more…]

ALTERNATIVE TABLE: Fat and Scientific Shenanigans

Cape Charles Wave Columnist

March 30, 2015

In my article of last week, I featured the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) and described how their recommended traditional diet helped me lose 50 pounds over nine months by changing my fat intake to greater than 30 percent of calories coming mostly from saturated and monosaturated fats.

alttableAs I lost my food cravings I began to do research on fat and its impact on one’s body. How could it be that for over 40 years the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) was a strong proponent of low fat diets?

In 1968, after seeing an image of a child who had died of starvation in the CBS documentary, Hunger in America, George McGovern became the chair of the “Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs” with the goal of wiping out hunger and malnutrition in the United States. In 1977 the Select Committee published the “Dietary Goals for the United States” after hearing Dr. Ancel Keys and other supporting researchers speak about the link between saturated fat and cholesterol consumption.

From 1972 to 1973 and concurrent with the Select Committee, the American Heart Association, American Medical Association, and the National Academy of Science developed the following recommendations:

  • Americans’ cholesterol is too high;
  • We should measure our cholesterol in medical examinations;
  • People considered as “at risk” should receive appropriate dietary advice;
  • At risk Americans should reduce their intake of saturated fat by substituting polyunsaturated vegetable oils;
  • Modified and ordinary foods (to support the ingestion of vegetable oils) should be available in the marketplace; and
  • More studies should be performed to determine if lowering cholesterol can reduce chronic heart disease.

1 - 1992foodpyramidThe piling on the bandwagon by these organizations led to the 1992 USDA Food Pyramid that most of us remember so well.

So how did all of these organizations arrive at these conclusions? I believe it was the work of Ancel Keys in the 1950s that started the idea that saturated fat led to the increase in heart disease. He noticed that death from heart disease dropped in areas where food rationing had been in place due to WWII and increased in industrialized areas of the world. Keys created graphs using food intake data and mortality statistics from the late 1940s using six countries: Japan, Italy, England, Australia, Canada, and the USA. The data appeared to show a correlation between the ingestion of fat and the increase in heart disease. We now call this the Diet-Heart Hypothesis which puts forward the idea that saturated fat causes cardiovascular disease (CVD) by raising blood cholesterol. He presented a graph at the 1955 World Health Organization conference that mapped fat intake to each country’s rate of death from heart disease. [Read more…]