The Ole Country Store and Bakery in Culpeper VA

When you’ve travelled it a zillion times like I have, Route 29 between Charlottesville and DC is a pretty dull (if beautiful in spots – I’m looking at you, northern Greene County) drive. Next time you make the trek try breaking up the monotony with a stop at The Ole Country Store and Bakery in Culpeper. Not only can you pick up unique roadtrip snacks and random gifts and housewares, but you can stock up on local, pastured, steroid/antibiotic/hormone-free happy meat from Clark’s Old Peach Tree Farm, Summer Creek Farm, and Rider’s Backfield Farm.

Clark's Old Peach Tree Farm

Old Peach Tree Farm raises heritage breed pigs on the grasses, nuts, and berries of pasture and woodland, supplemented with non-GMO feed, and PUMPKINS in the fall, lucky pigs! The Clarks raise the pigs from birth to slaughter, which allows them to ensure a low-stress environment for the animals’ entire lifespan.

Summer Creek Farm

Summer Creek Farm raises lambs and beef cattle on pasture with some supplemental local grains; but upon request Summer Creek will feed only grass to animals for customers preferring completely grass-fed meat. They practice environmental stewardship by protecting waterways from animals and frequently rotating pastures.

Rider's Backfield Farm Beef

Rider’s Backfield Farm raises steers on pasture, with a small daily portion of natural grains during finishing. The pH of the cows’ rumen contents is carefully monitored to ensure no negative effects from the grain. The Riders pride themselves on “manag[ing] their beef gently and humanely and the farm(s) that they maintain.”

Local, pastured, clean meat

Meat case

Bins of meat

The Ole Country Store & Bakery

Support local family-run farms and pick up some pasture-raised, hormone-, steroid-, and antibiotic-free meat, while getting a unique shopping experience and relieving your Route 29 boredom at The Ole Country Store & Bakery.

See also: MooThru ice creamery in Remington VA, for the BEST ice cream, made from local hormone-free milk!

Babe(s) in the Wood

Here is the first guest post from the fabulous Ewe-nique!

Since the HPs, Cheenius, Mr. Dr. Cheenius, and the Tiny Twosome were all off to more exotic locales over Labor Day, it fell squarely on my shoulders to ensure that at least one of us attended the 2014 “Meet Yer Eats” Farm Tour. I accepted this self-directed mission with gravity and pride. In fact, I was so stealthy in my plan that the whole thing was unbeknownst to HP until I sent her this guest post and begged to be featured.

Meet Yer Eats

For those not familiar with the “Meet Yer Eats” Farm Tour, it is an annual Central Virginia event where a number of local farms roll out their welcome mat and offer the general public the chance to explore and “meet” their food sources. As an avid cook, locavore, and conscientious (i.e. picky) eater, I think that we can all benefit substantially by learning about and being aware of where our food comes from.

I must admit that my choice of farm this year was driven by an ulterior motive. As a longtime vegetarian, and more recently a pescatarian, I’ve been considering including other meats in my diet again for the past few months. However, one of my chief objections to the carnivorous lifestyle has long been the manner in which the consumed animals are raised and slaughtered. Thus, I decided to truly meet my eats and visit Babes in the Wood, a farm out in Dillwyn, Virginia that raises free-roaming, forest-foraging pigs.

The drive out to pastoral Dillwyn was winding, warm, and sunny. I’d been out VA-20 South many a time, but never this far south. I knew that I had ventured into uncharted territory when I passed a larger than life inflated chicken outside of an establishment called Lumpkin’s.

Since this was a solo expedition, I played one of my favorite alone-time games on the drive out: Rockin’ Road Name Revue. Believe me, people get creative on the backroads of Virginia. I won’t bore you with the entire list, but here were my top favorites:

  • Troublesome Creek Road (That pesky creek is forever making mischief.)
  • Little Heaven Road (Leading to a trailer park, but… perhaps a reference to the Tiny House movement as chronicled by the Tiny Twosome on HP back in June?)
  • B-A-H Road (I can only assume this name is in reference to sheep or that it is one Bad Ass Homestead.)

I arrived at Babes in the Wood in time to wander around before we began a tour of the farm. In addition to sighting the piggies from afar, I also ventured over to the chicken coop and a small barn where there were a few calves hanging out.

Farmyard scene

Bill Jones, the owner and founder of Babes in the Wood, took us on an excellent hike in the farm woods, where he answered a bevy of questions from our curious group. Here are the highlights of what I learned:

  • Bill raises English Tamworths, a breed that is well suited for forest life. The Tamworths have a lovely red coat and enjoy foraging for their food.
  • The sows give birth approximately twice a year (although if a sow had a very tough birth or large litter, Bill will only breed her once during that year), and the average litter size is eight piglets.
  • The pigs are fed at the farm once a day, and then are free to forage as they like throughout the forest.

Forest scene

  • Quite a few of us were eager to know how Bill keeps track of his pigs since they are free to wander. The simple answer is, he recognizes them when they arrive for the daily feeding, and if they don’t show up, he goes looking for them.
  • Unfortunately, I did not bring my pen and paper, so I don’t recall the exact number of pigs that are currently being raised on the farm. The numbers tend to vary with the seasons. However, Bill does keep the number proportional to the acreage of the farm (only two to three pigs per acre). If there are too many pigs per acre, their extensive rooting for food exposes the roots of the trees and can cause the trees to fall.
  • The pigs are approximately 12 to 15 months old when they go to slaughter.
  • Pigs are considered ready for butchering based on their weight, with about 300 pounds generally being the desirable weight.

Whilst traipsing through the woods, we kept keen eyes open for Kevin Bacon, the farm’s boar, but he regrettably did not show his snout. Bill mentioned that Kevin had decided a day or so ago that he was going into the woods and not staying in the pen. Apparently, one cannot persuade a 400 pound boar to change his mind if he has other intentions. Another fun fact: Kevin will grow to approximately 1000 pounds!

On our forest tour, we wandered down to a creek in the woods in hopes of sighting a few pigs, the creek being one of their favorite hangouts. However, the piggies must not have been in the wallowing mood, because we did not spot any near the creek. We did see a large sow hanging out in the woods by herself, and Bill mentioned that she had been feeling under the weather for the past few days. During this conversation, I learned that the primary health risk that his pigs face is pneumonia. The onset of the condition is sudden, and the pigs can die within three days of showing symptoms, so it must be caught and treated quickly. Thus, Bill had been keeping a close eye on this girl.

sick piggy

As our hike drew closer to the farm’s estate, we found many pigs hanging out near the farm’s fence. Many of the older pigs were relaxing, quite sensibly, in the shade of the trees, while the younger ones were cavorting together in a large group.

pig digs

Though the pigs are somewhat skittish around visitors (there was a lot of oinking and running away as I drew near), they are very social among themselves and establish a clear pecking (or perhaps porking?) order that lasts throughout their lives. The pigs are no stranger to putting a fellow pig in his or her place, and sometimes squabble amongst themselves to enforce this social hierarchy.

I’d like to present an analysis of the traits that can determine an individual pig’s status within his or her drove:

pig trait analysis

Toward the end of the tour, I got down to the nitty gritty and asked Bill about the manner in which his pigs are slaughtered. Interestingly, Bill is not allowed to slaughter and butcher the pigs himself if he is going to sell the meat to the public. Instead, by law, he must have the pigs processed at a USDA-approved facility. Hearing this initially raised my hackles a bit, but after I received the full story, my worries were abated.

Bill, as I mentioned, knows his pigs by sight. Every few weeks, he identifies the ones that are ready to be butchered and catches them (which is usually just the case of closing the gate when they come to the farm pen for their daily meal). The pigs then spend a few days in the pen, where there is plenty of space and lovely mud to wallow in, so that they can get used to the enclosed quarters.

mud wallow

When it is butchering day, he personally takes the pigs down to Blue Ridge Meats, his butcher in Front Royal.

Bill mentioned that his butcher is certified humane, but as we both agreed, like “certified organic”, “certified humane” can encompass a variety of abattoir environments and practices. Here’s the skinny on what goes down for the Babes from the Wood:

  • The pigs are slaughtered individually, and the other pigs are not exposed to the death of their fellow animals.
  • The pigs are killed with a single shot to the back of the neck/head, and then they are bled out and butchered. I thought that the “shot” was an electrical shock of some sort, but I forgot to clarify, and after doing some Internet research, it might also be a captive bolt gun. The common alternative to this practice is that the pigs have their throats slit and are bled out while they are still alive and, quite literally, screaming.
  • At Bill’s butcher, on a really, really, busy day, they may butcher up to 20 pigs. Contrast that with a typical commercial factory farm, which may slaughter thousands of pigs per day.
  • I checked out Blue Ridge Meats’ website post-tour, and was pleased to see that they clearly support and adhere to the humane butchery of their animals.

Thus, in my opinion, if you are trying to source humanely raised and slaughtered pork, you need look no further than Babes in the Wood. These are happy, healthy pigs who are extremely well cared for and have the chance to lead a natural, piggy lives before they are butchered with consideration and compassion. [Ed: And Mr. HP assures you that Babes in the Wood pork is DELICIOUS. You can get a sandwich at their tent at Charlottesville’s Saturday City Market, in addition to buying packaged meat.]

Having exhausted Rockin’ Road Name Revue on my way out, I found time on the drive home to reflect on my visit and compose a few pig-related haikus, also known as hamkus:

meat on cloven feet
bacon, ham, sausage, pork are
names for pigs we eat


My dear porcine friend,
I’m glad you had a good life
up until the end.

And with that, I’ll turn, appropriately, to the words of Porky Pig to sum up this post: “Th-th-that’s all, folks!”

happy pig

The Great Locavore Dinner Party Challenge

We all agree (right?) that there are environmental, societal, nutritional, and taste benefits to getting your produce and animal products from local farms, but how many locally-sourced ingredients are actually in *your* average dinner? The always-entertaining Cheenius, Mr.Dr. Cheenius, Butter Boy & Butter Babe (aka the Tiny Twosome), and friends challenged themselves with a special dinner party to see how local their cooking could get. Here’s Cheenius to tell you more…

lakeside dining

Locavores . . . eating local . . . blah blah blah local.  Cheenius and friends decided it was time to meet the challenge head-on and hold a Local Food Only Dinner.  Each guest made something that was primarily sourced from near-by foods, which gave us an interesting menu:

Local beer, wine, and cider (duh)
Baba Ganoush
Deviled Eggs
Tomato Mozarella Salad
Potatoes Au Gratin
Roasted Corn/Black Beans/Peppers/Tomato/Feta Salad
Roasted Potatoes
Blueberry Pie
Peach Honey Ice Cream

(No main dish, but did we really need one?)

local beverages

local caprese

Everything was quite tasty, especially the Potatoes Au Gratin from Butter Babe, and we were having fun (discussing Ebola, etc.) until Cheenius ruined it with . . .


She and Mr.Dr. Cheenius made everyone score their dishes as follows:

  • Grown or made yourself = 3 points
  • Grown within 50 miles = 2 points
  • From anywhere in VA = 1 point

It was a weighted average, so you had to consider the percentage each ingredient made of the whole dish, and then multiply by the point system, and then add them up.  All this on a Friday night?  Ridiculous.

corn, tomato, avocado, bean salad

local blueberry pie

Obviously Cheenius, with her own garden and eggs, won, but she graciously bestowed jars of local honey as prizes to the 2nd and 3rd place winners.  One lucky guest also won for most local human (if you count Northern VA as Virginia).

Good times, may have to make it an annual event!

2014 Historic Farm Tour in Keswick

Saturday was the 5th Annual Grace Church Historic Farm Tour in Keswick. I’d been wanting to do it for years, and this year, when I was actually in town and free, I didn’t even know it was happening. Thank you Cheenius for the spur-of-the-moment adventure!

Having only a few hours, we decided to split our time among the Country Fair booths at Grace Church, the retired racehorses at Old Keswick, the antique cars at Linden Lane (where Cheenius’s father-in-law was an exhibitor), and the foxhounds at Keswick Hunt Club. The weather was ideal for a drive through the countryside, and we had a lovely time.

Farm tour map

Grace Episcopal Church

Grace Church

Grace Church, a gorgeous Gothic church built in the late 1800s, was hosting a Country Fair with craft booths, 4-H animal exhibits, dog adoption corrals, and food trucks. We bought our tour tickets and cruised through the fair, petting some animals and attempting to get some food (wait times were 30 minutes! food trucks are supposed to be fast, people!) before hitting the road to Old Keswick.

Llamas 4-H cow

(check out his drool!)

Old Keswick Farm

Old Keswick, a former racehorse breeding operation, is a foster home to several retired racehorses from the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, but there wasn’t much to see at this stop. We walked through the lovely barn where a couple horses dozed in stalls, popped into the Wildlife Center of Virginia’s tent to see a possum and an owl on display, and took off. Fortunately there was a horse near the fence on the way out who was happy to relieve us of the carrots we had picked up in the barn.

Old Keswick Farm Old Keswick Farm horse

Linden Lane

Linden Lane’s enormous front lawn was host to an antique car exhibit, and we stopped by to say hello to Cheenius’s father-in-law and admire his prize possession. It turned out he had dropped the car off and gone on his own farm tour adventure, but all was not lost, because the exhibit turned out to be really interesting (I had been skeptical). The cars were shiny and pretty and so different in layout and design from today’s cars. Clearly, I am a knowledgeable car person.

Antique PackardAntique Corvette

Shadwell Market

Shout out to Shadwell Market for feeding us when the food trucks could not. Cheenius and I shared some Power Balls (nut/date/honey/crack) from Mudhouse, Mr HP got a sandwich, and when I admired the Brussels sprouts in the hot food display case but lamented that they had bacon, the fabulous kitchen crew offered to stirfry me up a batch sans bacon. So nice!

Keswick Hunt Club Kennels

Keswick Hunt Club was the highlight of the tour for us. Foxhounds everywhere! We got to lean into a puppy enclosure and play with some younguns, after they peeled themselves off the pile of napping puppies to come say hi. The kennel was full of happy, goofy adults, half of which got to come out and run around for a demonstration with the huntsman, whip, and kennel manager. Even non-dog-person Cheenius was smitten and confessed she considered puppy-napping on last year’s tour when the resident puppies were tinier.

Keswick Hunt Club foxhounds foxhounds and huntsman


So, in closing, a recap:

  • Food trucks should serve food quickly
  • Old cars are cool, especially turquoise ones
  • Shadwell Market workers are friendly and accommodating
  • Foxhounds are adorable, but probably not good apartment dogs (ahem, Mr HP)

Trager Brothers Coffee Roastery

Public service announcement:

If you have a caffeine emergency south of Charlottesville, proceed directly to the Trager Brothers roastery in Lovingston.

trager brothers coffee

Did you know this existed? Mr HP, Momma HP, and I stumbled upon it last weekend when Rapunzel’s was closed (they open at 4, fyi) and we were so desperate we were driving to McDonald’s for some McCafe when we were saved by a sign for the TBC Roastery. What a happy surprise to be able to drink organic coffee roasted on-site while supporting a small, local company. That’s the opposite of going to McDonald’s.

Trager Brothers coffee

From the Trager Brothers website:

 Trager Brothers Coffee is a 100% Organic micro-roastery located in beautiful Nelson County, Virginia. We are family-owned and operated, serving fine coffees and espresso drinks at our four Higher Grounds locations in Charlottesville, Virginia since 1993. TBC is committed to bringing you the highest quality, freshest, environmentally sound coffee on the market. We believe you will notice the difference in the cup.

Trager Brothers menu

bags of coffee beans

TBC patio

The Roastery is open Monday through Friday 6am-3pm, and Saturdays 8 am-1pm.

Location: 486 Front Street Lovingston, VA 22949

You can also get their coffee at small groceries in the C’ville area, and regional Whole Foodses. Here are all their locations if you want to try their coffee and don’t want to trek to Lovingston. We three found it to be excellent. And caffeinated!

TBC Mexican coffee

Things I ate this weekend (spoiler alert: steak)

It’s boring to read about what other people ate. But since many of you aim to eat real food and avoid gut-irritants like I do, maybe this will be interesting despite being about what someone else ate. Also, steak!

So, without further ado, here are some things I ate this weekend.

Overnight no-cook refrigerator oatmeal. I love this easy breakfast and adjust it in the following ways:

  • I multiply the recipe x 1.5
  • I use half coconut milk and half water for the milk portion
  • I don’t add sweetener. It doesn’t need any!
  • I chop up whatever fruit I have and pack it in (or throw in frozen chunks), and add chopped walnuts or pecans


Adult smoothie with frozen berries, coconut milk, and Malibu.

adult smoothie

Blend up a few cups of berries, a glug of coconut milk, and a few glugs of Malibu, and enjoy!

Avocado tuna salad. This is quick and easy and, like the oatmeal, you can toss in whatever you have on hand. I don’t bother with the fancy leave-some-avocado-in-the-shell part, but it would be impressive for company. I’ve added combinations of the following to great effect:

  • chopped onion
  • chopped celery
  • chopped hard-boiled egg
  • chopped tomato
  • chopped walnuts

Seared scallops over zoodles


lemon pepper scallops

seared scallops with zoodles

This dish will be going into the HP household rotation. It seems sophisticated, but is easy to make with great flavors and textures. I don’t know that I had ever cooked scallops before; here’s a useful tip if you’re a scallop newbie too: put the scallops in the pan and don’t mess with them until it’s time to flip them. I’m a compulsive over-stirrer/poker and probably would not have gotten such a lovely sear if I hadn’t read that tip.

Local ribeye steak from The Organic Butcher, with Mustard-Garlic Brussels Sprouts

steak and brussels

I wasn’t crazy about this steak, but Mr HP, who knows better, was. It was too chewy and fatty for my redeveloping meat tastes, but the flavor was good. Mr HP salted the steaks and threw them in the freezer for a bit before grilling on high heat to crisp up the outside while not overcooking the inside. The Brussels sprouts were phenomenal. They were both savory and a bit sweet (due to roasting), healthy, and incredibly simple to make. YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE.

A Paleo Frittata

paleo frittata

This recipe is designed for leftovers. I planned on using leftover steak, but we ate it all for dinner, so I used onions, avocado, tomato, and spinach. It was a fun change from scrambled eggs, but it did involve me spending a considerable amount of time staring at the frittata in the oven to see when it was cooked enough but not too much. Presumably I will have to watch it less as I get more frittata experience.

Please share your favorite healthy, easy, tasty recipes with me!

Confessions of a reformed pescatarian

Greetings, confidants.

As you know from reading about my juice cleanse epiphanies, I have been thinking about reintroducing meat into my diet. I’ve determined that beef is my gateway drug of choice: my metaphorical gut does not want chicken, and I won’t argue with my gut (and, interestingly, chicken is the meat I gave up first when I started quitting meat back in the day), and my psyche is not ready for pig.

I knew that if I was going to do it, I was going to do it right and make sure my beef was from a local, grass-fed, humanely-treated cow, so I visited JM Stock Provisions, a new local/organic/happy meat butcher in town, for an expert recommendation.

The butcher was a font of information about the benefits of eating grass-fed (including that grass-fed beef is the easiest meat for a vegetarian’s system to handle?) and talked me through a few different cuts before recommending a flat iron steak from Timbercreek Organics. I left with a lovely little 2-person steak and very specific cooking instructions to pass on to Mr HP, my trusty steak chef and staunch carnivore, who was not familiar with the cut. I was encouraged to see this article, titled “The Flat Iron Steak: Is it really the best cut of Beef?”

flat iron steak

meat-raw meat-pan

Cooking instructions were:

  • preheat oven to 200 degrees
  • salt and pepper both sides liberally
  • heat oil with a high smoke point (rapeseed oil was recommended; we used butter) in a pan to high heat
  • put meat in the hot pan for 3 minutes
  • flip over and put into the oven for a few minutes
  • remove meat to a plate with a foil tent to rest and reabsorb juices for 10 minutes
  • cut the meat against the grain and eat

meat-cut meat-cooked

I was in charge of the side, and tried a new recipe: Zucchini Noodles with Avocado Cream Sauce. I omitted the tallow/lard–baby steps here, people. It was SO good. Make it.

meat-zoodles meat-meal

The verdict: Steak tastes good. There were some chewy gristly bits–of course–that grossed me out, but the flavor and overall texture were pleasing enough to make me want to continue my beef experiment. I tried to keep tabs on my energy levels and athletic performance over the following couple days, and can’t really say I saw impressive physical effects from the protein punch, but I did feel happy and energized and healthy. I should make a graph.

Happy feelings chart

The above graph represents the increase in happy feelings toward steak, zoodles, and avocados I experienced following this meal. I’ve been making zoodles like mad and adding avocados to EVERYTHING.

Lessons learned: The best meat is local, humanely-treated, hormone- and antibiotic-free, grass-fed, free-range, etc, etc, etc, happy meat; everyone needs a julienne peeler for making zoodles; and avocado makes any dish better.

Reflections on a Juice Cleanse

Hello friends. As you may know, recently Mr. HP celebrated a milestone birthday, and with that came a month-long food and drink binge for the entire extended family.

pain killers

Add to that the horribly depressing winter weather we had until early April in Virginia, and you get a few people in a state of suboptimal health.

Accordingly, in late March, the ever-adventurous Cheenius, always-obliging MrDr Cheenius, and I decided to do a juice cleanse after the final birthday party to kickstart a new era of good feelings. Fortunately for us, Charlottesville is home to The Juice Laundry, an organic, cold-pressed juice company that offers several types of cleanses to the Central Virginia area. We chose a medium-strength 2-day cleanse, but a wrench was thrown into our juicing plans by a nasty snowstorm that interrupted juice production, delaying juice delivery by a couple days. The new schedule didn’t suit my plans, so the Cheeniuses forged on alone.

Day 1 for the Cheeniuses was a bit rough as their abused systems angrily complained, but by Day 2 they were flying high. I believe the word “magical” was used when they raved to me about feeling the toxins leaving their bodies, and they plan to do a reset cleanse quarterly. Based on their reviews, I eagerly scheduled my cleanse for the following week. Below are my notes.


The Juice Laundry 2-day “Normal Wash” cycle. 6 juices + 1 NOMÜ nut milk drink per day. I chose the Creamy Cashew NOMÜ.

Normal Wash juices are:

  • Gentle Green: kale, spinach, cucumber, grapefruit, apple
  • Red Load-ed: red pepper, carrot, celery, cucumber, lemon
  • Rinse + Refresh: cucumber, grapefruit, pineapple
  • Green Agitator: kale, spinach, cucumber, celery, apple, parsley, ginger, lemon
  • Rinse + Recharge: filtered water, lemon, pineapple, maple syrup, cayenne pepper
  • Gentle Green: kale, spinach, cucumber, grapefruit, apple
  • NOMÜ: Creamy Cashew: filtered water, cashews, Medjool dates, cinnamon, vanilla bean, Himalayan pink salt

A cup of black coffee is allowed, but I abstained during my cleanse for the full detox effect.


From the Juice Laundry’s site:

Juice consumption allows your overworked digestive system to devote more energy to detoxifying, cleansing, purifying, and healing your body and strengthening your immune system.

The Juice Laundry cold-presses and doesn’t pasteurize its juices in order to maximize nutrients and beneficial enzymes and microorganisms.

This cleansing argument resonated most with me, based on my post-celebration physical state:

A cleanse is as much about what you’re leaving out of your body as it is about what you’re putting in.

Also: 2 lbs of produce in each juice!

Also: Why not? Sure, there are plenty of nay-sayers out there, but when it comes to nutrition nobody agrees on anything anyway. If something sounds interesting, the only way to know if it’ll work for you is to try it yourself.


Day 1

First juice

Juice 1: Gentle Green. Smells highly vegetal but has a sweetish taste from the apple. Actually very good. Finished it around 10:30. Am not hungry now, but keep thinking about food, probably because I know I can’t have any.

Juice 2

Juice 2: Red Load-ed. Smells like red peppers, and I’m not a big fan of red peppers. The carrots are the main flavor, and I do like carrots. Overall not bad.

Mid-morning: Feeling totally distracted from work (even more so than usual).

Lunchtimeish: Freezing (even more so than usual). Not sure if it’s related to juicing.

Juice 3

Juice 3: Rinse + Refresh. Yum! Fruity! Finally! Pineapple is the main flavor. Crisp though, not too sweet.

2pm: Starting to wonder how I’ll get through all 7 bottles in 1 day.

Juice 4

Juice 4: Green Agitator. Ingredients are intimidating. Also, starting this one at 3pm, feeling a bit of time crunch. Smells very kale/spinachy. No me gusta. Must power through. It’s easier if I do a big exhale after swallowing and don’t breathe in the odor.

5pm: Feel kind of sad. I miss food.

Juice 5

Juice 5: Rinse + Recharge, a little after 5:00. Sweet and refreshing, with a sneaky cayenne burn. Less burn w/ the same exhale through the mouth trick as used for #4.

Juice 6

Juice 6: Gentle Green again. It’s fine. I’m cranky and irritated. This cashew milk had better be amazing.

Juice 7: Cashew milk blend. Yummmmmm. Can take big sips happily. It’s sweet, hearty, comforting.

Bedtime: Stomach started growling as I tried to fall asleep.

Day 2

Morning: Unfocused, blue, blah. Not physical, just mental. Hard to blame it completely on the lack of food since the weather is crap and work is dull. Need to drink faster today to be done with everything by 7:30 for dance class. I miss food. Constraints make me angry.

Mid-morning: Working on #2. Feeling cold and distracted again, but it feels more like my normal levels of cold and distracted.

Early afternoon: The agitator wasn’t as bad today. About to start the cayenne… also less offensive. Huh.

Late afternoon: Mood is unmotivated, blah. Physically a little tired. Really looking forward to eating breakfast tomorrow, and I’m daydreaming about what I should make.

Evening: Finished #6 early, at 5:45. Got a little mood lift late in the afternoon, maybe from a walk? Still not very productive at work.

Day 3

Soooooooooooooo excited to eat. Made spinach and eggs.

In a fantastic mood today. Could it be the weather? It’s still cold and blustery out, but today is the turning day. The past 2 days I didn’t want to interact with anyone at work, felt bristly and irritated and sulky. Today everything is funny, I can’t keep my mouth shut in meetings, I’m singing stupid songs, etc.

Lessons learned: The lack of food forced me to examine my relationship with food, and I want to start cooking more, like I used to. I also want to try adding meat back in, starting with cow. That’s kind of a major realization. I didn’t feel the magical physical changes that the Cheeniuses did–and I was jealous of them for that–but the psychological effects were interesting.

Will I do it again? Maybe, but I’d probably sub in the beet juice for the agitator, or try the Light Rinse cleanse just to make the experience a bit more pleasant. I imagine the terrible mood I experienced on Day 2 would be lessened a bit next time knowing how happy and energetic I’d be feeling the next day.

Would I recommend it to others? Absolutely. It’s all about self-experimentation, and everyone’s mileage will vary.

Churn baby churn!

Guest post from Cheenius!

It’s cold, it’s January, everyone just wants to eat healthfully, so Cheenius, Mr. Cheenius, and two intrepid friends got together to… MAKE BUTTER!!! Butter Boy had brought back his grandmother’s butter churn from visiting his family over the holidays, hoping to relive his butter-making experiences from the 1970’s. Why? We find it’s best not to ask sometimes. But, given that three of us were Butter Virgins, it was crucial to have his only slightly creepy guidance. That guy knows butter.

His Butter Babe provided a gallon of non-homogenized heavy cream from Mt. Crawford Creamery [Ed: love their motto!], enabling us to attempt to make sweet cream butter (as opposed to cultured butter, which comes from non-pasteurized cream). Butter Boy kept the cream out of the refrigerator for 24 hours ahead of time so that it would sour a little bit. And then we were ready to start!

Pouring milk into the churn

That’s right!  We crossed the streams!

We decided on 5 minute shifts of churning, which everyone commented wasn’t tiring at all. Although, Cheenius would like to note here that we’re all incredibly fit, truly prime specimens of strength, endurance, and general rippedness. Who can say how the average person would perform under the same conditions? Anyway, it was only 10 minutes before we could see…

Clumpy cream


After another 20-25 minutes there was definitely something buttery happening:

butter in churn

It’s even turning yellow!

And after a total of just 40 minutes we actually had the much-anticipated

Getting buttery


After using a slotted spoon to transfer the yellow miracle to a bowl, Butter Boy and Mr. Cheenius rinsed our butter with ice cold water until the water ran clear.

rinsing the butter

Then we sat down to warm biscuits with the freshest butter Cheenius has ever tasted. We all agreed the flavor was of buttery goodness! Might have benefited from some salt after the rinsing, but otherwise we all felt quite proud of our accomplishment. Yield from one gallon of cream: 2 lbs. 11 oz. of butter, and 3 quarts of buttermilk.

biscuits and butter

And yeah, afterwards we bellied up to the bar and did buttermilk shooters. THAT’S how we roll on a Saturday night.

buttermilk shooters

Thanks, Cheenius! This wacky bunch will be presenting their churning smarts at a Transitions Charlottesville skill share soon. Keep your eye on the Transitions calendar if you’re interested in attending!