The Berryville Beat

Well, Berryville, we have reached the end of the year and the holiday season is upon us. We wish you and your family a safe and happy end to the year.

The end of the year is always a time to reflect, but also look ahead. One of the exciting projects we are looking forward to in 2020 is a revamped John Rixey Moore playground in Rose Hill Park. The project entails keeping many of our popular playground features, and making some necessary updates.

Central to the project is the replacement of the current playset structure. The current structure is expected to be removed sometime in December. In its place will be a new play structure ideal for ages 5 to 12 years old, with slides and climbing structures. 

We have made sure to maintain some of the current playground’s biggest draws. The four-seated seesaw and riding horses will remain, though they will be repainted to match the new play structure. New diggers will be installed. The swing set structure will remain, but with new swings — including two that are ideal for younger riders — and new chains. It will also be repainted. 

There will be some new additions to accommodate our younger residents and visitors. There will be a stationary car, a basketball goal and musical equipment, all appropriate for children aged 2 to 5. 

For those sunny days, we hope you will appreciate the installation of a shade structure, fixed to a picnic table, to provide some relief from the heat. As part of this project, we will also seal and re-line the basketball court, and make some improvements to the central feature of the park, the gazebo. All told, our total budget for this project is not to exceed $60,000.

The construction schedule is extremely weather dependent, as one can imagine, but we anticipate completion by late winter or early spring. We look forward to the warmer weather when town families and visitors, young and older, can enjoy the playground and the park. We anticipate a grand opening celebration sometime in the spring.

This monthly column is authored by the members of the Berryville Town Council. For more information on town government, including meetings, agendas, and contact information for the Town Council and town staff, visit

Take Five

A D.I.Y. Yoga Invitation for the New Year

by JiJi Russell

If I had a dollar for every time I bounded into a new year with a freshly updated list of health and wellness goals, well . . . I would have a lot of dollars. The health-related New Year’s Resolution: it’s a common practice among us, and apparently many people do begin the new year with a bang in fitness or wellness activity, only to begin flagging in attendance and efforts by February, or sooner. Lofty goals; noble efforts . . . none of it a fool’s pursuit. However.
I have shifted my focus over the years to the matter of compliance. Through observation of my own efforts, those of friends, clients, and hundreds of office workers, my unscientific thesis goes something like this: Small actions every day top the big effort once, or even twice, a week. Like attracts like. When we start small, we have something to build on. When we go all out, down might prove our most likely direction.
With that, I offer a DIY approach to movement, based in the foundations of yoga. If we invite our spines to bend and twist just enough each day, we might find greater ease within our bodies and minds. The “Five-Minute Yoga” guide I’ve created aims for a shorter time commitment to inspire daily compliance. Take five minutes before your commute; carve out a five-minute break during your work day; interrupt a repetitive movement, or a prolonged sedentary period. As you consider the multitude of other things you might do with five minutes each day, it becomes easier to imagine fitting a moment of stretching and breathing into the mix.
The downloadable PDF guide offers a path to moving the spine in all directions each day, which can be a helpful adjunct to any activity, or an antidote to an otherwise sedentary day (marathon meetings, lots of road time, etc.). Also included in the guide are resources for exploring yoga at home.
Sometimes what we need is so close by we don’t even notice it. A deep breath; a long stretch for a tired back; a moment of quietude. When can you take five?

Welcome to The Buttery

A new eatery opens in historic Millwood

By Claire Stuart 

What do you picture when you hear the word “buttery?” A rich confection? A building on a farm where butter is made or kept? Actually, in the middle ages it was a storeroom under a monastery where food and drink were kept to provision guests and passing travelers, and liquor was stored in barrels or “butts.” Many 
colleges, particularly in 
the United Kingdom, call their eating places butteries.

The Buttery is the name of a new eatery in Millwood next door to Locke Store in the historic log building built in 1804 as a storehouse for the workers of Burwell-Morgan Mill.

Locke Store was built in 1836 and has been in continuous operation ever since, although for most of its life it was a simple country grocery. Its metamorphosis began in 2002 when it was purchased by Juliet Mackay-Smith, then a caterer with a passion for natural, locally-grown food. She had planned to operate the store as a sideline to off-site catering. The store grew as she added the deli with pickup lunches and dinners, baked goods and a huge selection of wines, ciders and craft beers, with complementary tastings on weekends. The “modern country” store with its fresh, natural and sustainably-produced food soon became a destination.

Shauna and Brian Volmrich recently joined Mackay-Smith as partners, and launched The Buttery. The Volmriches come to the business with extensive backgrounds in the hospitality industry, he as a chef and she as an innkeeper. To see Brian in tee shirt and baseball cap, you might assume he is a local farmer (which he is), but appearances can be deceiving. He is a chef with years of experience in high-end restaurants, including L’Auberge Provencale in Boyce and the multi-award-winning Inn at Little Washington. 

With The Buttery, Shauna and Brian are following their dream. They are committed to serving the finest, freshest foods from local farms. They are proud to tell you where the food comes from, and their menus feature the names of their farmer suppliers. On this particular day, Brian was awaiting a delivery of beef from nearby Audley Farm. The Volmriches themselves have 26 acres in Rappahannock County where they raise chickens and bees (along with two children and pets, including a bearded dragon), and they plan to grow lettuce and other produce to serve the restaurant. 

“We source local as much as possible,” Shauna reports.

The store and restaurant are separate, but most of the staff is shared by the two businesses as needed. Adam Steudler is head chef for the restaurant and Ellie McMillen is head chef for the store. The Buttery’s menu is small and changes with the seasons and availability of 
local food. 

“I like to do a few things and do them well,” Brian declares, putting in a plug for his own popovers with local honey.

The menus for the store and the restaurant are different. “But,” says Brian, “one carryover from the deli is the chicken pot pie. We try to cross-utilize food, such as our cheese boards. If you like a particular cheese on our board, you can get it from the deli.”

“The menu is not meant to feature full dinners,” says Shauna. “This is a place where people can relax and share plates in a 
communal space. “

Highlighting the menu are boards meant to be shared: the Creamery Board with artisan cheeses, the Pasture Board with cured meats , and the Sea Board with cured and smoked fish.

There is no full bar, but fine wines, craft beer and cider are served. A limited number of cocktails are available, including Bloody Marys and Mimosas for brunch. There are special seasonal cocktails, some made with local rum, local bitters and other local ingredients. Condiments used in the cocktails are on hand in the store. 

Presently The Buttery is open Thursdays and Fridays for dinner and Sunday for brunch. “We want to expand to luncheons for private parties and corporate events,” says Brian. “We’re even looking at cooking classes and off-property 
chef events.”

“Brian goes to homes and does private curated dinners,” adds Shauna.

Remaining weekdays and Saturdays are reserved for The Buttery’s own events such as wine or beer pairing dinners or may be rented out. Private gatherings may buy lunch from the store to eat inside or on the patio or can be catered.

The Buttery’s atmosphere is warm and comfortable, with exposed log walls, a welcoming fireplace and communal tables hewn from local barn wood. The restaurant seats about 40 and the new patio up to about 50. For hardy souls who love to eat outdoors even in cold weather, heaters will allow the patio to stay open most of the year, and folks can gather around the huge fire table where Brian even envisions making s’mores. The patio is available for all Locke Store customers outside of the restaurant’s hours.

The Buttery

Thursdays and Fridays 5–9pm 
Sunday brunch 10am–2pm

After the Apples Fall from the Trees

Yum Yum: Apple Cider Vinegar

by JiJi Russell

As an apple lover from way back, I’ve always felt partial to apple cider vinegar among all vinegar options. Tangy-sour, with a hint of apple juice, ACV has many uses in personal care, from dental, skin, hair and scalp, to combating toenail fungus. But most cosmetic claims for ACV have little research to back them up, so I’ll focus on a few culinary recommendations, mostly for the taste and nutritional boost of it.

First off, what is ACV?

ACV is a fermented food, made from the juice of apples (preferably organic), with yeast added, which breaks down the sugars and turns them into alcohol. Then bacteria are added, typically acetobacter, which converts the alcohol into acetic acid. The bacteria, also known as “the mother,” acts as a catalyst and provides a cloudy appearance. It might appear as strands of translucent shapes floating in the vinegar. Natural foods experts and nutritionists say that maintaining “the mother” within the vinegar provides a more nutrient-rich product than straining them out. According to The World’s Healthiest Foods compendium, “Potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and calcium are some of the minerals that remain in the vinegar when it is produced 
this way.”  

In the ancient practice of Ayurveda, a health system that serves as a sister science to yoga, the “sour” taste provides one of the six tastes essential to balanced eating, and ACV offers an easy entry point to sour. Ancient wisdom goes that if you compose a meal that includes all six tastes, you will be fully satisfied and energetically balanced. (The other “tastes” are salty, pungent, bitter, astringent, and sweet.) While the ancients knew little to nothing about the nutrient profile of foods, a meal that includes all six tastes often results in a nutritionally balanced meal. 

The Salad Days

ACV plus oil can provide a simple and infinitely customizable base for salad dressing. Think French vinaigrette: one to two tablespoons ACV; 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard; 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 shallot, finely chopped; salt and pepper to taste. Some people might like to add a small amount of honey (one to two teaspoons) to the recipe to mellow the sour taste (from the ACV) and the pungent taste (from the shallot). Shake up your concoction, and enjoy! You can also try infusing some herbs in the dressing. When I do this, with say, a stalk of fresh rosemary, I run the dressing through a strainer as I spoon it onto my salad. Ditto for straining out raw shallots or garlic. The dressing will retain the flavor without the strong bits included. 

Marinades or Bone Broth, Anyone?

The internet abounds with ACV-laced marinades for meats. Outside of its addition of flavor, vinegar can serve as a meat tenderizer. Do an internet search for apple cider vinegar marinade, and 
you’ll come up with loads of options. One vinegar producer, De Nigris, offers one of the best-sounding marinades I found (disclaimer: have 
not yet tried it), along with cider vinegar barbecue sauce, “vodka sippers,” and 
more. Find the recipes at And if you’re a fan of bone broth, add a tablespoon or two of ACV to your stock pot the 
next time you gently boil bones for bone broth. The acid helps pull out the minerals, 
and provides a rich flavor. 

DIY Buttermilk

If you ever have a recipe that calls for buttermilk, 
but not quite the whole quart that you’d need to buy off the shelf, you can easily make your own substitute with 
ACV. Simply mix one tablespoon of ACV with a cup of milk. Let the mixture stand at room temperature for 
5-10 minutes. Then use it as you would real buttermilk. For the lactose intolerant (or sensitive) among us: vegan buttermilk can be made by mixing the same portions of ACV with a cup of your choice of non-dairy milk 
(almond, oat, hemp, etc.). You might notice little curdled bits in the mixture; throw those into your recipe, too! 

Find ACV in Clarke

Visit the Oakhart Farm Store to find not only ACV, but olive oil, a plethora of spices you can mix into your marinades, and of course local meats and veggies ( for location and hours). Martin’s also sells ACV. When possible purchase a variety that contains “the mother” bacteria, for a greater nutritional profile. 

Fire Cider Tonic: Recipe by Nancy Polo, Smith Meadows Farm

This medicinal tonic can be helpful during cold and flu season. It can be added to broth, tea, water, or another beverage. One to two teaspoons goes a long way. Nancy offers her top three uses for the tonic: at the onset of cold symptoms; for a vitamin C boost; at the end of a heavy women’s cycle.


  • 2 cups fresh grated orange and 
    blue turmeric*
  • 1.5 cups fresh grated ginger
  • 3 lemons’ zest and juice
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • .5 cup chopped onion
  • .125 cup ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoons dry thyme
  • 32 ounces apple cider vinegar 
    with the mother
  • honey to taste after a month of steeping

Macerate the ingredients and place them into the vinegar in a jar with a lid. Steep mixture for a month in cool, dark place, shaking the jar daily. Strain off liquid through a sieve before using.

*Fresh turmeric might be available at one of our local farm stores. If you cannot find it there, FoodMaxx in Winchester has the orange variety fresh; you can use that instead of a mixture of orange and blue.

Against All Odds

The Nats, The Eagles, The American Game

By Matthew Bass

Let’s relive that amazing season and the World Series victory locals have waited so long to get. It’s wrapped in a little of our local history, too.

The Washington Nationals’ accomplishment this year symbolizes how sports are a unique and compelling part of the American experience. In late May, at 19–31 through their first 50 games, they were dead in the water. Oddsmakers gave them a 1.5 percent chance of winning the World Series. There was talk of firing manager Davey Martinez and trading away big names like Max Scherzer. Then, following a few savvy additions of veteran role players like Gerardo “Baby Shark” Parra, former National Asdrubal Cabrera, and reliever Daniel Hudson, the Nats finally got healthy and went on a historic roll, blazing their way to a World Series championship.

There will be articles deservedly written about the exceptional statistics and records this team compiled en route to their ultimate victory. About how they were the best team offensively from the seventh inning on, or how no team had won four games on the road to win a seven game series. In any sport. Ever

For those who followed the Nats through the doldrums of April and May, and witnessed their subsequent transformation, the exceptional 
statistics were a byproduct 
of something more special. Sure, there are stars on the team: Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Anthony Rendon (maybe the most underrated and definitely the most relaxed star in the game), and young phenom Juan Soto. But as this team battled into a wild card spot, coming from behind to beat the Brewers in the wild card game, then defeating the powerhouse Dodgers in five games, and sweeping a good Cardinals team before they matched up against the best team in baseball, a feeling that had been growing steadily all season manifested itself before our eyes. That feeling can and will be described in all the appropriate sports clichés: there’s no “I” in team, the name on the front of the jersey is more important than the name on the back, and so on. 

And cliché and overused though these sayings are, they should remind us about the values that sports instill in our collective conscience. Nowhere else in the world do kids from all backgrounds have the opportunity to play such a variety of sports through so many levels — from recreational leagues to travel teams to high school, college and beyond.

Baseball was my number one sport (among others) growing up. And from Little League through high school ball, nothing could imitate the feeling of running out of the dugout with “CC” on our hats and “Eagles” emblazoned on our jerseys. I was fortunate to be a part of two Eagles teams that made deep runs into the State playoffs in the spring of 2000 and 2001. As an anecdotal aside, our 2001 playoff run included a victory over a highly touted pitcher from Goochland High School — his name was Justin Verlander. You might recognize him for his two losses to the Nationals in the World Series this year. He is undeniably a first ballot Hall-of-Famer, one of the greatest pitchers of his generation. Just not that night in Goochland in 2001, 
when our Eagles, behind a masterful performance from Jonathan Larrick, defeated him 1-0, ending his high school career. But that’s a story for another day.

There are individual heroes in sports. In this playoff run, one can point to a number of them for the Nationals. There were Scherzer’s gutsy, not-quite-100 percent performances; huge hits by Soto, Rendon, 
Howie Kendrick, Adam Eaton; and “Mr. Nat” Ryan Zimmerman. The National’s first pick 
after moving to D.C. in 2005, and a Virginia boy who played at UVA, he hit the first home run in 
National’s Park, and then the first in the World Series off the Astros’ unhittable ace Gerrit Cole. 

Then, of course, there is World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg, with nothing short of a dominant postseason, including two epic performances in the World Series. Perhaps Strasburg (coincidentally, Strasburg High School was our archrival in 2000-2001) best exemplifies the transformation of this team from a talented group with big names on the backs of their jerseys to a true team in 
every sense of the word. In his earlier days, Strasburg was famously standoffish, isolative, and seemingly a bit of a lone wolf in the clubhouse. He would be shaken by an error behind him, obviously bothered by a call he didn’t get, appeared to glower in the dugout. But not this year, and not this fall. He battled, they battled. And they won. Strasburg smiled. That’s what makes this Nats team so special. 

Among many lessons learned in sports competition, it teaches the joy of success and the agony of failure and defeat, self-sacrifice, teamwork, hard work, pain, fight, heart, a belief that you’re never out of it until the last out is made, the final buzzer sounds, the clock runs out, and the proverbial fat lady sings. This Nationals team demonstrated that time and again by coming from behind in all of their elimination games this postseason — the Wild Card game, Game 5 at the Dodgers, and ultimately in Game 7 of the World Series. From dancing in the dugout, to Scherzer and Strasburg staring down one of the most potent offenses in baseball, to Anthony Rendon calmly picking up his buddy Trea Turner after a controversial umpiring call (you know the one!) by hitting a massive two-run homerun to alter the course of Game 6, you never felt that this team was out of the fight. Sure, they were down, but they weren’t out.

And that’s the point. When the game is about more than the individuals playing it, that’s when greatness happens. Our Eagles baseball team was lucky enough to experience that feeling firsthand in 2000-2001, but that experience is shared almost every day across towns, cities, counties, and states throughout our country. And that’s what makes sports special in America. It’s the belief that when you come together and play for each other, not for yourself, but for your team, for your community, for a greater purpose, you can overcome any obstacle, no matter the odds. 

That’s how you go from 19-31 to a World Series championship. How appropriate it is in a month when our national divisions will be highlighted by every news media outlet across the nation that the Washington Nationals demonstrate the core American 
ethos that belief in each 
other and never giving up can result in greatness. It is moments like this, though they may happen in a game played by children, that should remind us all that even in divisive times like these we can, 
and will, overcome. Against 
all odds. 

“Miss Ruth” F. Loughborough: A Changing of the Guard At Berryville Farm Supply

By Stephen Willingham

As a newly minted high school graduate, Ruth Franklin Loughborough, affectionately, “Miss Ruth” to all who know her, joined the staff of The Berryville Farm Supply, located next to the Norfolk, Western, and Southern railroad line that bisects East Main Street of Berryville from the rest of the town. Her first day at work was June 7, 1957.

“I was just looking for a place to work,” Loughborough told Clarke in an interview. “Heavens no!” she chuckled. “I never planned to stay 
62 years.” 

Loughborough, now 80, readily agrees with the adage, “Time flies when you’re having fun; even when you’re not.” At a time when most people can expect to have multiple jobs and even careers in a lifetime, Loughborough’s work experience brightly shines as a highly unique one. 

“It just worked out for me,” she continued.

Loughborough explained that she grew up on a farm in the Marvin Chapel area of Clarke County. Subsequently, going to work in a feed and seed supply business was a line of work that she already knew something about. 

“You have to like people,” Loughborough responded, when asked about her formula for success in keeping the doors open to a business that now stretches back more than 96 years. “The most important thing is to be interested in what it is you’re doing,” she added. 

The business was originally owned and operated by Henry “Boss” Baker as Baker’s Feed and Grain Store in about 1923, according to the childhood recollections of Bill Shackleford in the commemorative book, Berryville Celebrates 1798-1998, marking the town’s bicentennial. Following Baker’s tenure, a variety of owners operated Farm Supply before it was purchased by Washington, D.C. developer, and championship racehorse breeder, Milton Ritzenberg of North Hill Farm, who owned it until his death in 1999. (Loughborough’s husband, Richard, a racehorse breeder in his own right, also worked at the business for 
a time.)

In a small business such as Farm Supply, Loughborough indicated a person can’t afford be too “choosy” about whatever job one might have to step up to and perform at any given moment during the course of a normal day’s operation. She said she was hired for “bookkeeping and sales”, but ended up doing any and everything else that might need “doing” at a moments notice. 

For example, Jesse Russell, a native Clarke County resident, recalls the many times he bought large sacks of birdseed at Farm Supply. He maintains that in spite of ardent protestations, Miss Ruth always insisted on picking up the order and carrying it out to the car herself. He also remembers one of the several cats who made their home at Farm Supply, especially the one that preferred to curl up and sleep at the end of the counter where business was being transacted, oblivious and unconcerned about the normal, mercantile commotion going on around it. 

According to Katie Thompson, who has been employed at Farm Supply for the last 15 years, “It’s a laid-back, down-to-earth place to work.” 

Thompson says that she has always enjoyed working with Miss Ruth, “because she is easy going and always in a good mood.” This might seem to be an uncharacteristic trait for what is normally expected from a boss, but it is an attitude tracing back to Loughborough’s first rule for success, “You’ve got to like people.” 

As it was with Loughborough, Thompson feels right at home at Farm Supply, at least partly due to the fact that she raised animals as 4-H projects on her parents’ “place” that “wasn’t really a working farm,” she insisted. Nonetheless, Thompson says that she has always enjoyed working in the agriculture-related field, and finds the job more rewarding and personally a better fit than other places where she has previously been employed.

Farm Supply has lately been advertised for sale, and Thompson is hoping that any new owner will elect to keep the business, “just the way it is,” since it already enjoys an established customer base. 

Loughborough, who unfortunately injured a knee in a recent fall, is by all reports, including her own, recovering nicely, but has decided that, “It’s time to let somebody else to take care of things.” 

She is looking forward to devoting more time to Marvin Chapel Methodist Church, a congregation that she has attended since, “My mother carried me in there in a blanket.” 

Loughborough dismisses being labeled a “local icon” because of her association with Farm Supply for the last 62 years. “The world isn’t built around any one person,” she emphatically asserts. 

As she moves into another phase of her life, Loughborough wanted to offer a special thanks to her loyal customers, “for their years of commitment and business.” Loughborough explains that customers have indeed been the ones who have changed the most over the years. “There aren’t as many farmers in Clarke County now as there used to be,” she observed.