Today we’d like to introduce you to Catherine Waite.
Hi Catherine, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I have battled life-threatening food allergies since I was a little girl. I had been alienated at a young age having to sit at the “peanut-free table” away from my other classmates, relying on my friends to not pack peanuts in their lunch so I didn’t have to sit alone. I relied on my EpiPen as my lifeline.
Whether it be a food ingested via cross-contamination or touching the same desk another student who had peanuts had touched, I always kept it by my side, dreading that I would be forced to use it. I was never able to have the treats at school. I could rarely go out to eat even as an adult as so many foods either put me into anaphylaxis or made me violently ill.
At the age of 23, after being misdiagnosed for many years, was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease Ulcerative Colitis. At this time, I was a Civil engineer in heavy highway construction. Working on the jobs as a project engineer, I discovered there was a gap between whole naturally sourced ingredients and food on the go that is available containing them. I had a very low quality of life, getting infusions every other week, traveling to hospitals, and suffering to get through every day. I set out on a mission to give back the power of people’s choice to eat the foods their bodies deserve.
I am thankful for my journey as it has led me to the creation of Cappy’s Farm Fresh Food. Cappy’s is dedicated to providing allergen-friendly baked goods made from naturally sourced ingredients to those with life-threatening allergies and gut-related issues. Cappy’s products are free from the most prominent allergens including peanuts, soy, milk, dairy, wheat (gluten), fish, and crustacean shellfish. Cappy’s partners with local farms to produce fresh food items.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I had started my journey attending farmers’ markets on Hilton Head Island and in Bluffton. I met amazing vendors and we were able to share our stories. I knew I needed a DHEC approved kitchen but had very little funds to start. I walked into every business in Bluffton sharing my story and asking if I could share their kitchen space.
I was turned down time after time, eventually, I walked into a bakery in Bluffton called The Sugaree. I met this amazing couple and was finally presented with a “yes”.
They gave me a chance of making my dream a reality. Next, I applied to the markets I so badly wanted to be a part of. I was so grateful to have been given the opportunity to be a part of the Hilton Head Island market first and then the Bluffton Farmers Market. When I began working the markets, I only had a plastic table cover and baked one tray of muffins. I was so nervous but was thankful to be surrounded by very supportive business owners who shared their advice and own experience. I was working three jobs at the time and I will never forget my manager of the restaurant I worked at showing up for my first day at the market.
I learned through mistakes and time how to run Cappy’s and how important education would be. Learning the government agencies, licensures and procedures was a huge learning curve. A year later, I was ready for Forsyth in Savannah and have been so grateful to be welcomed into that community. I have met so many amazing people and heard astounding stories of fighters living with life-threatening allergies and health issues. Cappy’s now has two wholesale accounts in Bluffton and is looking to make all products available to Savannah in the future.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
Cappy’s is dedicated to providing allergen-friendly baked goods made from naturally sourced ingredients to those with life-threatening allergies and gut-related issues. Cappy’s products are free from the most prominent allergens including peanuts, soy, milk, dairy, wheat (gluten), fish, and crustacean shellfish. Cappy’s partners with local farms to produce fresh food items.
Cappy’s is rooted in honesty, transparency, community, and healthy living. Cappy’s is here to relieve the stressors of pursuing a healthy lifestyle or those restricted by dietary allergies and intolerances by providing convenient food with whole, nutrient-dense, natural ingredients. We connect with our customers to answer any questions to allow our customers to find belonging in a food-restricted world and to continue the conversation of the importance of quality whole foods. We are devoted to making healthy living possible by providing prepared food and snack options. Cappy wants a household name, that is a safe haven to many and a sense of comfort to all.
Cappy’s is available for preorders online for pickup from farmers markets and soon at our new kitchen at www.cappysfreshfood.com and is expanding to retail stores which can be found at our “Where to Find Us” page. Follow Cappy’s on Instagram and Facebook for important updates. Subscribe to Cappy’s emails on our website for special offers.
What would you say have been one of the most important lessons you’ve learned?
Stay true to your vision. You cannot build a foundation on other ideas. It is important to listen but do not falter from your dream. Never give up. A “no” doesn’t mean it’s a dead-end it’s an opportunity for you to think. Creativity and perseverance will take you further than you think. It’s okay to be tired, but do not quit.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.cappysfreshfood.com
- Instagram: @cappysfreshfood
- Facebook: @cappysfarmfreshfood
Jo Rackliff Photography