83.7 F
Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, July 24, 2024


Great things often come in small packages, and The Cross in Coral Bay is a case in point, especially for St. John consumers looking for health foods.
With the closing of Cruz Bay's Maiden Apple, The Cross has stepped up as the only health food store on the island. Located on the south shore road next to Cases by the Sea, Celia and Myrel Tonge's family-run store may be modest in size-just 12 feet by 12 feet-but every bit of space is filled to the brim with bags of wheat flour, brown rice flour, soy-based protein foods and more.
"All soy products are good for you," Celia Tonge said, "especially women who are concerned about osteoporosis and to help regulate the hormonal system-it contains no animal fats nor any hormone steroids.
"The TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein) comes in soy chunks or ground burger style, which can be soaked, to be sautéed with fresh herb seasonings. This is then stewed down like any meat and added to your main dish of pasta or complementing your lightly steamed vegetables."
Tonge is adamant about healthy snacks and has laden the shelves with rice cakes, pumpkins seeds, brown rice crackers, vegetable crackers and seaweed crackers, all rich in natural minerals. In addition, there are fresh vegetables and fruits, a good supply of regular pasta alongside organic pasta, sesame oil and safflower oil, liquid amino acids and apple cider vinegar. Eggless mayonnaise can be found as well as organic salad dressings, cheese, coconut sugar cakes, stewed tamarind, dry spices and sea salt.
Rounding out the store's offerings are juices, teas, soups and mixed in with it all, a few car accessories and bags of animal food.
Prices are competitive with similar items found on St. Thomas and lower, in some cases. The only other food store in Coral Bay is Saver Foods, which carries more run-of-the-mill grocery items: white flour products, sugary drinks, vienna sausages, milk, beer and the like. And while Starfish Market and Marina Market in Cruz Bay carry a handful of health-food items such as brown sugar and soy milk, The Cross has them beat in that category by a mile.
"Many people are moving toward a meatless vegetarian diet, which is high in fiber and low in fat. This healthy style is also for people who are concerned with lowering cholesterol and high blood pressure or controlling diabetes," Tonge said.
She and her husband opened the store on family land three years ago, starting smaller-believe it or not-and slowly expanding. The Cross, she said, realizes a dream she has had for years, to promote the healthy eating her family enjoys for the entire community. Their chldren Fishell, Saihinly, Maechan, Tyrah and Liyah can often be found helping out in the store.
And why "The Cross"? Tonge said it refers to the Cross of Calvary in the Bible.
"The Cross represents healing," she said. "It is healing for the mind, body and spirit. Not just healing to the body alone through health foods, but also to the inner man through books, spiritual videotapes and the Word of God."
Quoting from the Bible, Celia said, "'Behold I have given you every herb and to you it shall be for meat,'" adding with a smile, "and when He comes back we'll all be vegetarians."
The Cross is open from 7:45 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. Call 776-0720.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.

Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.