How Vegan Farm Stand Began...
Moving to New England from my native Southern California as a child awakened my nascent love of cooking and leading a healthy lifestyle. Our family was the crunchy-granola one shipping in tortillas, making yogurt, and eating low-sugar at a time when it was not chic: nobody wanted to trade at the school lunch table!
Looking back it is not surprising that I gravitated towards a plant-based lifestyle. As a child I was always an animal lover; as president of the Save the Seals club in fifth grade we had two members: me and my best friend. I named each squirrel in our backyard.
Exploring the endless deep woods dotted with rustic signs for Macintosh apple picking and firewood stacks for $3, surrounding our home, enabled me to connect with nature and its amazing flora and fauna which is why Vegan Farm Stand resonated as a name.
When I moved to NYC at 19 I was seriously interested in cooking for at least part of my living. A stint as a short-order cook at a famous punk rock club with a record canteen and volunteering at God's Love We Deliver-the first food delivery non-profit for AIDS patients-solidified my understanding that, through lovingly, well-prepared food, I could express myself creatively and give others enjoyment.
The opportunity to live abroad for 5 years in Spain, Japan, Argentina, and finally France introduced me to a world of fresh produce and endless farmers' markets where I could buy homemade tofu and potimarron (the world's best pumpkin, courtesy of France). The French word terroir somewhat encapsulates what attracts me to cooking with seasonal, local whole-food ingredients. This is the idea that the actual land of a place deeply infuses the comestible offerings which result from that region. Call terroir the product's "culinary spirit" created from a combination of factors including soil, climate, and sunlight.
Years as a teacher of English as a Second Language and French ( and a tad of Spanish!), helped me develop a knack for communicating ideas. My love of cultures inspired me to experiment with global, plant-based recipes.
Ultimately, enrolling in a plant-based culinary program, and getting certified as a Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator (VLCE) enabled me to start Vegan Farm Stand. In choosing the name, I wanted to reflect three aspects of my own personal journey to help others: the appreciation of local, seasonal food, a commitment to embrace kindness towards animals, and a love of service and thankfulness for the gifts of our planet.