VegCo, a new plant-based supermarket, is expected to open in a to-be-determined Midtown location. By the end of this year, the local grocery store will make it easier for people in the central Phoenix area to knock out all of their meat-free grocery shopping in one place.
Heather Francois, the founder of VegCo, said the store will provide affordable, high-quality foods for the increasing number of people restricting their meat consumptions. Francois added that she wants to make grocery shopping more convenient for those with special diet needs.
“I wanted to tie all the factors together and serve those people who eat strictly organic, who are focused on local products and community, and who may have allergy concerns,” Francois said. “I also want to able to give (Phoenix locals) plenty of options.”
She added that Phoenix needs this supermarket because of the push for sustainable living and healthier diets.
“There’s a movement growing here and across the nation as people realize all the dangers of eating meat products,” Francois said. “People are becoming more educated on plant-based diets and how they are optimal for the human body.”
Want to skip the meat? Here are a few vegetarian dining options:
Other food experts in the area are also making changes to meet shifting demands as more people join in the plant-based food movement.
Ingrid Hirtz, a chef originally from Austria, said she began building a business around vegetarianism to show people that meals without meat can actually taste delicious. Along with cooking at Fair Trade Cafe, she recently started a vegetarian meal preparation service to serve the city economically and environmentally friendly cuisine.
Hirtz added that she hopes to make people realize the standard American diet is not the standard global diet.
“The United States focuses on meat,” Hirtz said. “If you go out to a restaurant, everything on the menu has a focus on the meat—such as a pork tenderloin or a steak. But in other countries, the traditional diet usually consists of some kind of legume or grain with vegetables—meat is more of a side dish.”
Whether it be her creamy vegetable korma curry or goat cheese quiche made with almond flour and sun-dried tomatoes, Hirtz said it just takes getting people to realize the food tastes good.
“Before, people thought of vegetarians as people who cut out meat and had to go to the salad bar or just eat side dishes.” Hirtz added. “Now, it’s a cuisine in itself. People don’t realize that it can be a very satisfying culinary experience.”
Now that Phoenix residents seem to accept and understand vegetarianism more than ever before, a local meat producer said she certainly noticed the shift in views.
Beth Wilson, owner of The Meat Shop, said when she first began giving out meat samples at The Phoenix Public Market, she worried that her products would not sell among this huge vegetarian population.
“I was thinking, ‘Wow, 75 percent of these people walking by won’t even look at or touch the samples,’” Wilson said. “I thought maybe that would impact my business in Phoenix.”
Luckily, Wilson said many people come from families who still eat meat, so they visit her shop for local products made from “happy pigs” and meats made without the use of preservatives or chemicals.
Even if people refuse her products because of vegetarian or vegan beliefs, Wilson said she understands and respects their goals.
She added, “It’s just a part of their search to live better, eat better, and be a better person.”
A chic new boutique is about jump in to Downtown Phoenix fashion scene.
Boutique Solie is set to open its doors tomorrow, June 5, on the NE corner of 7th Avenue and McDowell Road. Beth Soliere, 32, branched out into the boutique business roughly two years ago and is focused on creating a shopping experience that is fun and relaxing.
Soliere described her boutique as a place where, “anyone can come in and find something that can work for them.”
The variety of items she carries seems to reflect that approach. Boutique Solie will carry women’s clothing, jewelry, shoes, bags and a range beauty products. Soliere is also offering spray tanning on the second floor, above the boutique.
Many products offered throughout the store are eco- and vegan-friendly, including bags made from recycled products, organic nail polishes as well as a vegan-friendly spray tan solution.
While locally made goods are not available at this time, Soliere plans to begin searching for one-of-a-kind items made from local artists and designers to be sold in her store. She is also looking to showcase art pieces throughout her store for sale as well. In the months ahead, she will look into adding men’s and vintage sections.
For all new clients Soliere is offering a $15 introductory rate for her custom, sunless tanning.
Boutique Solie is set to open Tues., June 5 – and is bringing a new take on style to the urban fashion scene.
If you go
What: Boutique Solie
Where: NE Corner of 7th Avenue & McDowell
When: Scheduled to open Tuesday, June 5
Hours: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Things are heating up over at the 6th Avenue Gallery tonight as they get ready to unveil a new art show, Some Like it Haute! The gallery will feature 15 designers (and maybe more) who have created one-of-a-kind pieces inspired by the famous Arizona triple-digits and of course, fashion.
The gallery is also hosting a timed competition between two selected designers where they will fight against the clock to create summer night fashions. Visitors will be the judges, vote for their favorite piece and will also have the opportunity to place an order for either of the finished designs. The competition will take place from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Each item is for sale and can be ordered for specific size. The designs will be displayed in the gallery through July, though new designers will be rotated in throughout the installment. Interest designers are urged to contact the gallery if they are interested in participating.
The gallery will open at 6 p.m. and is located on the southwest corner of 6th Avenue and McKinley, just south of Roosevelt Street.
Take a peek inside locals’ shopping bags and learn how they use health and beauty products in everyday life.
Name: Madelyn Romero
Occupation: Student (sustainability major)
Where spotted: Phoenix Public Market
What she purchased:
• Bouquet of flowers
• Variety of vegetables from Maya’s Farm: onions, braising mix of greens, broccoli, chard, cucumbers, spigarello
Her must-haves: The flowers are so pretty, I had to get some to decorate the kitchen. I also love the Armenian cucumbers. They’re great on salads, but I can just eat them plain, too.
Her new find: One of the new items I purchased is called spigarello. I hear you prepare it a lot like kale, so I’ll probably just cook it with coconut oil and salt for a healthy snack. But I decided to try it out because they ran out of kale in the first half hour.
How she benefits: Basically all of my items are just healthy in themselves. From a sustainability standpoint, they are all local foods, which greatly reduces the food miles and environmental impact. Everything is also pesticide-free and herbicide-free, which is great for health reasons because those chemicals can potentially be harmful to ingest.
Why they fit her style: I think my purchases really show the fact that I’m in sustainability school. I buy from Maya because she grows her own food, and I hope to do the same someday in the future. Buying local benefits both the environment and our health at the same time.
Memorial Day Weekend always seems to bring together friends and families joining in for fun events, from pool parties to BBQs. These three days are jam-packed with social events, meaning the last thing on your mind is probably your outfit choices, so here are a few simple looks to keep in mind when working on your weekend ensembles.
Nautical elements are all the rage this season, especially when it comes to swimwear! A great look for an afternoon by the water is a bandeau swim top, high-waisted shorts, a sun hat to keep the sun off precious facial sin and classic wrap wedges. Minimal accessories are great to emphasize your outfit without getting in the way of a fun-fill afternoon.
A chambray shirt is practically perfect for any occasion, and a weekend away is no exception. Pair it with a pair of boyfriend jeans, some classy pearls and of course a pair of leopard loafers and this casual look will be both comfortable yet chic. Roll up the sleeves for a warmer afternoon stroll then add a sweater for the cooler evening.
Vivid floral prints are ideal for a BBQ, and when worn with simple accessories can be refined yet exotic! A crew neck dress is great for playing with children and the supportive wedges are easy to walk through the grass and rocks in. Of course, a bright yellow bag is necessary to really add a fun punch to the demure dress.