Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My Friend Lauren's Soup Company

Two of Boulder’s defining qualities as a town are its innovative, self-starter spirit and an avid, borderline obsessive, passion for health food. This passion combined with the sport-induced metabolism capable of taking down huge quantities of food, means that there is always a market in Boulder’s food industry for locally made, healthy, small-scale food products.

One such example is Nourish Natural Soups, created and run by New Jersey-born Boulder convert, Lauren Beno. Between her full-time day job in the natural food industry, her part-time REI job, and early morning hikes and bike rides, Lauren started Nourish, a homemade natural soup delivery service.

Her regular clients are subscribed to Nourish’s soup group and receive a mason jar of soup delivered to their doorstep once a week. Each week there are three new vegan and gluten-free soups to choose from. Favorites from the last few weeks have been Curried Carrot Ginger, which I enjoyed at a dinner party last night, Spicy Ethiopian Lentil, Vegetarian Chili, and White Bean, Kale and Tomato.

[Left: The ridiculously delicious White Bean and Kale]

The idea for Nourish Natural Soups came mainly from Lauren’s passion for health and a desire to help others realize the health she has found through quality, home-made food. Lauren, like many of us, has wrestled to find the food that best agrees with her body. This burgeoning awareness of her own body and health steered her interests into organic farming, cooking for herself, and experimenting with food to find what her body needs. The conclusion that came up again and again was her body’s need for whole, simple foods. This means avoiding refined foods and chemicals, being able to recognize and pronounce the ingredients going into a product, and shopping almost entirely in the produce section.

[Right: Asian noodle in a tamari and ginger broth]

Lauren, of all people, working three jobs, juggling several hobbies and with the self-proclaimed attention span of a hummingbird, understands that maintaining a healthy relationship with food can be difficult. The result is a business centered around making it easier for people to feed themselves and their family whole, fresh, healthy, and delicious food, delivered to their doorstep.

Starting and owning her own business is Lauren’s way of putting her vote into the food industry. “Every time we shop at the market,” Lauren said during our chat, “we are putting our own dollars into the industry, which is essentially voting on which products are going to remain on the shelves.” Another motivation for Lauren is to make quality food more accessible. “Here in Boulder, we are surrounded by good food. I mean, hey, we have three Whole Foods in less than a five mile radius. However, the moment we step outside of our bubble, all of that changes. People can’t find the same quality of food at their local grocery stores as we can here. I want that to change. I want to see my soups being affordable and easy to access.” Lauren speaks wide-eyed and dynamically, gesticulating, showing her passion for her involvement in an industry in need of new input.

[Left: Jars of Vegetable Chili eagerly awaiting delivery!]

With that in mind, she is currently focusing her attention away from delivery and on getting Nourish soups into local markets, making her soups accessible to a wider market. The soups will soon be offered alongside prepared foods in containers easy to pick up on the way back from work, or even pop into a microwave during a lunch break.

She explains that soup is so easy to buy in a can. But because canned soups are designed to be shipped and offered on a huge scale, the ingredients are mainly artificial, highly processed and dominated by preservatives. Nourish soups are a completely different story. They are all vegan and gluten-free with no additives, sugar, preservatives or food substitutes. The ingredients are organic and sourced locally whenever possible, homemade and most importantly, absolutely delicious.

Visit Nourish Natural Soups online at www.facebook.com/nourishnaturalsoups or email Lauren herself at Lauren@nourishnaturalsoups.com. Become a Soupster: email Lauren to subscribe to the Nourish mailing list!

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