Monthly Archives: July 2019

Fight Cancer with Your Fork

People

You are what you eat. Just ask the registered dietitians at Georgia Cancer Center. The dieticians recently collaborated with local farms Clyde’s Fresh Produce and Adderson’s Fresh Produce to hold a farmer’s market for cancer patients this summer as part of the “Fight Cancer with Your Fork” series.

Cancer patients and Georgia Cancer Center employees will be able to sample dishes prepared from food grown at these local farms, as well as purchase the produce for use in their homes.

There will also be educational information available showing how a person’s diet can influence their risk of developing cancer.

The August market will be held noon – 3 p.m. Thursday, August 22.

Ya, Mon!

Beyond the Peach State

Photos courtesy of South Carolina Reggae Jerk & Wine Festival

Go calypso at this festival that celebrates reggae, jerk and all things Jamaica

Summer may be winding down – sigh – but there’s no need to relinquish the spoils of the season just yet. A visit to Jamaica would make it last a little longer. Even a day trip to Charleston would serve the purpose. Or traveling to Charleston and pretending you’re in Jamaica would offer the best of both worlds.

Actually, it’s not as far-fetched as it sounds. Not with the sixth annual South Carolina Reggae Jerk & Wine Festival and Exhibition at Magnolia Plantation & Gardens on the summer schedule.

Three in One
The festival features three events bundled into one celebration with Jamaican jerk food paired with wine, reggae music and a self-guided tour of Magnolia Plantation.

The event transports festivalgoers to the island of Jamaica, which is famous for its beautiful beaches, reggae music, Blue Mountain coffee, exotic fruits and cheerful people with their beautiful Patois language. However, no one truly has experienced Jamaica without a taste of Jamaican jerk.

Jerk pork originated in Boston Bay, Portland, Jamaica, and barbacoa, from which the term “barbecue” is derived, was made in a hole dug in the ground.

A form of cooking meat, as well as a seasoning, jerk started in the Caribbean with the Taino people and the Maroons (runaway slaves who lived in fear of being captured by the Spanish and then the English until a treaty freed them from English rule) who dwelled in the mountains.

Under this cooking method, wild hogs were marinated with spices including scotch bonnet peppers and laid out on pimento sticks in a hole. They then were covered to retain the heat and flavors as well as to curb the smoke from escaping and give away their whereabouts. Needless to say, word got out about the wonders of jerk, and Jamaican pork is popular all over the world.

At the festival, guests will be greeted with a complimentary jerk sample pairing with Irie jerk wine, a complimentary 3-ounce wine sample and a complimentary 9-ounce wine glass. The jerk sample will be provided by Caribbean Rootz visiting chef Ty from Jamaica.

In addition, the festival will include a wine presentation, more wine samples, the opportunity to purchase wine by the bottle or glass and beer sales. Special pricings on featured wines will be available at a retail tent.

A jerk cook-off will be open to professional chefs and amateur cooks, and Jamaican food selections will be available for purchase from vendors. Festivalgoers also will learn about the process of making jerk.

Of course, a Jamaican festival would not be authentic without the soothing sound of reggae music, which also was invented in Jamaica. The event will feature live concert performances by reggae bands, a Caribbean DJ and radio host Jamaican Wayne Hall from Reggae Vibes Radio. Music lovers also can experience Soca, aka the “Soul of Calypso.”

Along with music and food, the festival also will offer a pepper-eating contest, dominoes tournament, Ludo game (Jamaican board game), arts and crafts vendors and a raffle.

Garden Variety
A portion of the proceeds from the event will benefit Healthy Lifestyle Network, a nonprofit organization that teaches self-management and healthy lifestyle skills to children and adults in Charleston and in Jamaica. To help with programs, donations of school supplies, soccer balls sizes 3 and 4, shin guards, arts and crafts supplies, cotton fabric and hand-quilting thread will be accepted as well.

Fine food and drink, coupled with generosity, can’t help but create a satisfying atmosphere, but the festival ambiance will feature more than a laid-back island vibe. Held on the grounds of Magnolia Plantation, the event also offers a self-guided walking tour of the property.

Founded in 1676 by the Drayton family, the gardens have witnessed the history of the nation unfold since pre-American Revolution days. The property, the oldest public tourist site in the Lowcountry and the oldest public gardens in America, opened its doors to visitors in 1870 to view the gardens’ thousands of flowers and plants. Many parts of the gardens are more than 325 years old.

Although the plantation has stayed under the ownership of the same family for more than three centuries, each new generation has added its own personal touch to the property. Through the years, Drayton descendants have expanded the varieties of flowers that include camellias, daffodils, azaleas and other species that bloom year-round.

While most of America’s gardens are formal and try to control nature, Magnolia Plantation & Gardens is different. This property cooperates with Mother Nature to create a tranquil landscape where man and nature can co-exist in harmony. The romantic-style gardens have their roots in the industrial revolution of Europe. They were designed to help the common man forget his dreary workday life in the factory and go to a place where emotion pulls rank over reason. Form, balance and symmetry are cast to the wind.

Is there a better way to celebrate the last vestige of summer?

If You Go:
What: South Carolina Reggae Jerk & Wine Festival and Exhibition

When: noon – 7 p.m. Sunday, August 25

Where: Magnolia Plantation & Gardens, Charleston, S.C.

How Much: $40 regular admission; $25 designated drivers and ages 13 – 20; free for children ages 12 and under

More Info: screggaejerkfestival.webs.com

By Morgan Davis

 

Own It

Sports

A new multi-sport trail event is coming to Blanchard Woods Park.

If you’re ready to hit the trail running – or biking – then check out Own the Woods. This new multi-sport trail event will include a three-hour circuit cross country mountain bike race, a 5-mile trail run and a four-person mountain bike relay.

Cash prizes will be awarded to the top male and female finishers in the mountain bike race and the trail run. Awards will be presented to age group winners as well. The top mountain bike relay male, female and co-ed teams also will earn awards.

In the Corporate Challenge, teams will compete for a grand prize based on cumulative results in all three disciplines.

The event also will feature an expo showcasing fitness and health-themed vendors, food, beverages and other activities for all ages.

Early registration ends August 1, but participants can register through September 13. Packet pick up begins at 7 a.m. on September 14, and is followed by the trail run at 8 a.m., mountain bike relay at 9:30 a.m. and mountain bike race at 11 a.m. Proceeds will benefit the MS Center and raise awareness about multiple sclerosis.

“Through our work at the Augusta MS Center at Augusta University, we know that MS is a challenging disease full of unpredictable ups and downs,” says Dr. Suzanne Smith, director of the center. “We hope that presenting Own the Woods will serve as a positive reminder to everyone, including those living with MS, to stay the course regardless of the challenges they face.”

If You Go:

What: Own the Woods

When: Saturday, September 14

Where: Blanchard Woods Park

How Much: $40 individuals before August 1; $45 individuals August 1 – September 13; $120 teams

More Info: (706) 421-4585 or bikereg.com

Flexing Her Muscles

Sports

Photos courtesy of Judy Jordan

Lincolnton resident Judy Jordan always led an active lifestyle. She owned a photography studio, raced sailboats and taught ballroom dancing. She also did interval training, shag dancing and Zumba. 

Then multiple orthopedic surgeries including three cervical, two knee, lower back and hip replacement operations piled up through the years. The surgeries – along with a colon cancer diagnosis in 2012 – left her in a state of depression and inactivity.

“For six years I didn’t do anything,” says Judy. “During the time I had cancer, I stopped exercising completely.” 

Her boyfriend tried to help her climb out of her funk by coaxing her to serve as a crew member on his boat during an Augusta Sailing Club race on Labor Day 2017. The experience turned out to be quite the wakeup call – but not the one she expected. She fell on deck, broke several ribs and landed in a rehab facility. “My doctor said I needed to get in better shape,” she says. “I started out slowly, and then my doctor said I needed to get a personal trainer.” 

Making Changes
Heeding her physician’s advice, Judy joined a gym in November 2017 and started doing cardio and weight training. She then decided she needed a little bit of internal motivation as well, so Judy, who turns 73 in July, took up bodybuilding.

At the urging of a friend, she entered her first bodybuilding competition, the Augusta Grand Prix Bodybuilding Championship, in August 2018 and placed fifth in the Masters Figure division.

“People think when they get injuries, they won’t be able to do anything again. And that’s not true. Life isn’t over because you’ve been dealt some bad things along the way,” says Judy. “Part of my journey is encouraging other people. They can change, but I just had to have that bigger goal to keep me on track.”

Judy started working with a personal trainer and nutrition coach in October 2018.

“My body has changed 100 percent. I started out at 146 pounds, and now I weigh 110 pounds,” she says. “My body is better now than it was when I was 20 years old. I have no pain in my joints, and I only take one medication.” Judy typically works out in the after-noons after she leaves her job as a special education paraprofessional at Greenbrier High School. Her work has been a large part of her healing process as well.

She had closed her photography studio when she underwent chemotherapy and radiation, but Judy found that during her recovery, she “couldn’t stand staying at home. It was depressing.” She started substitute teaching to get out of the house, and that led to her parapro position.

“I enjoy having something to do. Every day is not perfect, but there’s so much love. To see the students every day and what they’re dealing with – and still be happy and joyous – I realize I have no reason to complain,” says Judy. “Every day is a joy to get up and go to work with these kids. I need them just as much as they need me.”

Bodybuilding fulfills her need to fuel her competitive fire as well. Judy competes as part of a seven-member bodybuilding team. Her teammates range in age from their 30s to their 50s, and they often get together to practice their competition posing.

“Posing is a big part of how you score. As a team, we encourage each other, and we compete against each other,” says Judy. “It’s about encouraging each other no matter where you place.”

Gaining Confidence
In addition to the Augusta Grand Prix, she has competed in two more International Natural Bodybuilding & Fitness Federation competitions – the Pro-Am Iron Eagle in Savannah in March and the South Carolina Bodybuilding Championship in Sumter, South Carolina in April.

She placed third in the Fit Body division in Savannah, and in Sumter she placed first in Masters Fit Body and second in Masters Figure. The Masters level is for competitors ages 45 and older.

Figure is a class of physique competition judged equally on symmetry, tone and beauty/stage presence, which includes the model walk, in three rounds. Judges are look-ing for women who have fit, toned physiques but are not necessarily proficient in gymnastics or another performance art.

In the Fit Body division, judges are look-ing for a more athletic physique without the muscle mass – think overly ripped or vascular shoulders or arms – of the Body-building division. Scoring is based on two rounds – symmetry, which is judged on balanced proportions where no one body part overpowers the rest of the physique, and muscle tone, which focuses on the overall conditioning of the body. “There’s a lot of pride to get up on stage at my age. Bodybuilding has made me feel more confident in myself, and I like the challenge,” says Judy. “I feel physically and mentally better. I have made a lot of friends. I enjoy the physical aspect of it and the support and friendships I’ve made.” 

Among the competitors, she has met doctors, lawyers, teachers, young mothers and other great-grandmothers like herself.

The spray-tanned bodybuilders wear custom-made, two-piece figure suits, which can be adorned with added effects such as rhinestones, sparkles and sequins, and high-heeled shoes. Jewelry is permitted as well.

“I never thought I would wear a bikini again,” Judy says. At the Sumter contest, she also bested about 100 competitors to win the Motivation Award.

“We had to write something about our motivation and what got us into bodybuilding,” she says. In her essay, she wrote, “This journey has taught me discipline and that hard work can improve anyone’s health at any age. So many times in life it is easier to take the path of least resistance. I plan to live my life as a healthy happy productive senior citizen sharing my journey with others of all ages.” Currently, she is in training for her next competition – a return to the Augusta Grand Prix Bodybuilding Championship in August. She normally does cardio for 25 minutes three times a week. At the end of July, how-ever, she will ramp up her cardio to 50 minutes five days a week to get leaner and to help her muscles show. “Competition isn’t for everybody, but anybody can get healthy and lose weight and get in that gym,” says Judy. “It takes a little dedication and determination, but it can change your whole life.” 

By Leigh Howard

Lake Therapy

People

Photography by Sally Kolar

Repairs and renovations to a Clarks Hill Lake property will help the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center provide therapeutic and recreational opportunities to veterans.

Programs to help veterans heal from physical and emotional wounds of battle are vital to their continued health and well-being. However, the surrounding environment can be as instrumental to their rehabilitation as the therapy itself.

Since 1995 the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center has leased a tranquil wooded property on Clarks Hill Lake in Modoc, South Carolina to provide therapeutic and recreational opportunities to veterans. However, the 32-acre campground and its facilities suffered significant damages in the ice storm of 2014. At the time, funding was unavailable for repairs and renovations.

Under the leadership of Robin Jackson, executive director of CNVAMC, and Bob Frasier, chief of voluntary service, however, the campground is becoming fully operational again.

“The goal is to make it a seamless part of care and an extension of the medical center,” says Jackson. “Community support is priceless, and that’s what really makes a difference.”

Listening to the Voice of Veterans
In the past couple of years, about 40 volunteers have spent 100 or so hours restoring the property with repairs, materials and man hours valued at about $25,000. They have replaced all of the decking on the dock, replaced the roofs on the dining hall and the restroom, and built trails. Volunteers have included groups from Greenbrier High School, Wesley United Methodist Church and the Masonic Service Association.

The VA also has a partnership with Project Healing Waters, which is dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military personnel and disabled veterans through fly fishing and associated activities including education and outings.

“We’re looking forward to expanding our community partnerships with other organizations,” says Frasier. “This is a great military community. People want to help, but people outside the VA don’t know what we do.”

The VA serves about 70 percent of the 80,000 veterans in the area, and now, Jackson says, “The VA has a new focus on modernization and whole health.”

As a key component of the Department of Veterans Affairs 2018-2024 Strategic Plan, the VA is shifting from a focus on episodic care to an emphasis on more continuous engagement with veterans throughout their lives.

This approach is important for veterans with complex conditions such as chronic pain and the invisible wounds of war, and the restored Clarks Hill Lake property will play a major role in the whole health and wellness approach to the care of local veterans.

“We listen to the voice of our veterans. They want that whole health experience,” says Jackson. “Whole health is more than medicine. It’s connecting with the environment and getting the whole wellness experience. We want to deliver the care that veterans want, and this is what they’ve been asking for.”

Heroes Taking Care of Heroes
At the campground, veterans can participate in water-related activities such as fishing, canoeing and kayaking. The restoration entails more than returning the property to its pre-ice storm condition, however.

With the improvements to the campground, the VA also will be able to offer programs such as music therapy wellness retreats, yoga, tai chi, outdoor creative arts, nature walks, therapeutic gardening and landscaping, adaptive fishing, cookouts and camping.

These opportunities will enable veterans and their families to regain physical skills and confidence while interacting with nature. Benefits of these activities include:

  • Increased physical activity;
  • Improved overall mood and quality of life;
  • Decreased depression, anxiety and stress symptoms;
  • Reconnection with positive emotions;
  • A renewed sense of awe and appreciation for nature;
  • New, adaptive approaches to old skills and increased capabilities to enjoy recreational activities as independently as possible;
  • Stress management by connecting with the sights and sounds found only in the outdoors;
  • Alleviation of fear, anger, isolation, loneliness and despair;
  • Strengthened interpersonal skills by joining in activities that nurture social relationships.

While the property is available to veterans who receive care at local VA facilities, future plans include expanding its use to staff members to promote their health and well-being as well.

“It takes heroes to take care of heroes, so we’re going to open it up to our employees,” says Frasier.

The VA also will have a whole health coordinator at the facility, and outings will be scheduled so that staff members will be onsite when veterans come to the facility.

“This is going to be a great addition to the services we offer,” Jackson says. “Just looking at that view is therapeutic in itself.”

There are still some campground projects left to do. If you would like to volunteer to help, contact Frasier at (706) 993-5174.

People also can make monetary contributions to improve the campground. Checks should be made payable to VA Medical Center and mailed to Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center, Attn: Voluntary Service (119U), 1 Freedom Way, Augusta, GA 30904. Write “Modoc Campground” in the memo section of the check.

“Donors should know that 100 percent – no overhead – of every contribution goes directly to benefit veterans and their families,” Frasier says.

By Sarah James

Edible Flower Salad with Lemon-Poppy Seed Dressing

Salads
  • 1 ounce ricotta salata cheese
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    2 teaspoons honey
    1 teaspoon poppy seeds
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    3-4 cups mixed salad greens
    12 nasturtium flowers (taste slightly peppery)
    16 borage blossoms (taste like cucumber)

Shave ricotta salata cheese into strips with a vegetable peeler; set aside. Place olive oil, lemon juice, honey, poppy seeds and salt in a small jar. Cover jar and shake vigorously to combine. Place mixed greens in a large bowl and toss with dressing. Sprinkle with ricotta salata and top with nasturtium and borage flowers. Makes 4 salads.

Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie and Pimento Cheese?

Sports

Have an appetite for baseball? Then sandwich in these two special nights with the GreenJackets into your summer schedule.

Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament are known for their pimento cheese. For two nights in August, the Augusta GreenJackets also will be known for their pimento cheese — on their uniforms. Yes, the Augusta GreenJackets will compete as the Augusta Pimento Cheese.

The team will sport its new uniform against the Lakewood BlueClaws (Philadelphia Phillies) on Friday, August 2 and on Saturday, August 3 against the Hickory Crawdads (Texas Rangers).

“We knew that if we wanted to represent the CSRA in a food-related promotion that pimento cheese was the only way to go,” says General Manager Brandon Greene.

The two-night-only re-brand features a Pimento Cheese logo and custom Pimento Cheese uniforms. Pimento Cheese merchandise, which includes baseball caps, T-shirts and more, is available at the Hive Pro Shop and online at pimentocheesebaseball.com.

Game nights will offer different pimento cheese food selections and pimento cheese-based, in-game promotions. On Saturday the GreenJackets will hold a Pimento Cheese player jersey auction, and proceeds will benefit Walton Options for Independent Living.

Fans are encouraged to share their Pimento Cheese merchandise on social media using #AUGPimentoCheese for a chance to be highlighted on the videoboard during the Pimento Cheese weekend. They also can be entered to win a Pimento Cheese prize pack, which includes four tickets to one of the Pimento Cheese games.

                                                                        

Don’t Miss the Boat

People

Augusta University art professor Brian Rust isn’t afraid to rock the boat. He recently created a 50-foot-long granite sculpture, Stone Boat, at Augusta Canal National Heritage Area’s Mill Village Trailhead behind the Kroc Center. The Augusta Canal Authority chose Rust’s boat concept from more than two dozen submissions. Inspired by Petersburg boats, he sculpted the large-scale, site-specific, interactive piece out of granite curbstones along the canal that once lined the streets of Augusta.

“I like working with materials that have a history to them,” says Rust. “And I like working with logs or stone or something that has some sort of other purpose, so this was perfect.”

Titans of Tomatoes

Travel

Vine-ripened, sun-warmed and ready to burst. Is there anything better than a juicy red tomato in the summertime? Well, how about a whole bunch of juicy red tomatoes, featured in a variety of delicious dishes and drinks, together all in the same place?

Photography by Erik Meadows

All Things Tomato
The 11th annual Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival is the perfect event for anyone who loves all things tomato. Founded by chef Ford Fry, who has 16 restaurants in Atlanta, Charlotte and Houston – plus four restaurants that are set to debut in Nashville this year – the festival will showcase the creativity of about 70 top chefs and mixologists from Georgia and Alabama. These tomato titans are teaming up with dozens of farmers to create tasty tomato concoctions.

The indoor-outdoor festival will be held 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday, July 14 where it all started – JCT. Kitchen & Bar in the Westside Provisions District of Atlanta.

Every participating restaurant will purchase tomatoes from local farmers to make their dishes or drinks for the festival. Last year they used almost 250,000 tomatoes to create new and innovative tomato-based bites and cocktails such as tomato jam doughnuts, BLT tostadas, tomato tartare and roasted tomato tacos.

The culinary lineup for this year’s festival includes chefs Todd Ginsburg of The General Muir, Michael Burtozzi of Bully Boy, Ron Hsu of Lazy Better and Josh Coker of the Optimist as well as mixologists Josh Washburn of Gunshow and Daniel Keith of Tiny Lous.

Silly, Fun & Light-Hearted
In addition to tantalizing tomato creations, the event will feature ’80s music from The Spazmatics and Fry’s chef band, the Foo’d Fighters. The Spazmatics will take the stage with a live, must-see Revenge of the Nerds-inspired performance. A live auction will feature various prizes including a private dinner by chef Fry.

The festival got its start after a conversation between Fry and local farmers, who mentioned that they were losing money because they had a surplus of tomatoes. Fry decided to buy all of the extra tomatoes and throw a party with local chefs and mixologists to support the farmers.

“In the summer, tomatoes grow in abundance in Georgia,” says Shireen Herrington director of events. “Ford wanted to help the farmers with their surplus of product in a fun way that would also help give back to the farmer community.”

The name of the festival came from the film, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, in which a group of scientists banded together to save the world from mutated killer tomatoes. And the festival is carried out in the spirit of the movie. After all, there are lots of serious events for serious foodies, but Fry wanted this festival to be silly, fun and light-hearted.

VIP tickets include access to the festival an hour before it begins, a Meet and Greet with Fry, a VIP lounge with exclusive chefs and mixologists, specialty beer and wine, luxury restrooms and a swag bag. Ford Fry’s Tex-Mex Cookbook Package offers all of the VIP perks, plus an autographed cookbook. VIP and Cookbook Package tickets are available in advance only.

All proceeds from the festival are donated to Georgia Organics, a nonprofit organization that helps farmers thrive, fosters educational farm-to-school programs, and makes organic and local food accessible to Georgia families.

Organizers hope that the event gives festivalgoers “an appreciation for local farmers and tomatoes, as well as a fun time with good music and great food and drinks,” says spokeswoman Stephanie Ackerstein.

If You Go:
What: Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival

When: 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday, July 14

Where: JCT. Kitchen & Bar, 1198 Howell Mill Road, in Atlanta’s Westside Provisions District

How Much: $75 general admission; $175 VIP ticket; $205 Ford Fry’s Tex-Mex Cookbook Package

More Info: killertomatofest.com

 

By Morgan Davis