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Asheville women-owned food businesses support each other

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A “wellness district” is a place where customer service means caring for customers from the inside out. The North Asheville area is within walking distance of all businesses that promote a healthy lifestyle.

Juice bar and vegan café Pulp + Sprouts is one of the area’s most notable tenants. Others include Liberty House Coffee and Cafe, Asheville Yoga Center, Asheville Salt Cave, Massage Still Point Wellness Float and Massage Spa.

“There’s an informal group called the Wellness District,” says Heather Cassidy, who runs Pulp + Sprout with her husband Jim. “There are a lot of wellness-based businesses around here. We definitely come together and collaborate and introduce each other. , you can touch on all the different aspects.”

Pulp + Sprout takes care of its guests in the food and beverage sector. This business specializes in cold-pressed juices, smoothies, and dishes made with fresh, organic ingredients.

“It’s about the health side of things. We wanted to create a space with all the ingredients, but also a welcoming, inviting (and) wholesome environment,” Cassidy said. “Everything we use is as organic as possible, pure and really clean ingredients.”

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The eatery attracts those following a strictly vegan diet and those seeking healthier options.

“We want to bring this wellness space to as many people as possible,” says Cassidy.

Nearly seven years ago, Pulp + Sprout (then called Elements Real Food) opened on the storefront, then owned by Jenni and Zack Bier.

The Cassidys were regular visitors to the café, so when the buying opportunity presented themselves, they were ready to invest. The restaurateur is also a partner at All Day Darling and Eldr, which recently opened in Asheville.

Over the past three years, Cassidys has evolved its business model and increased its presence in the community. As part of that rebranding effort, we have refreshed our interiors and adopted a name that reflects our plant-based products.

In addition to offering a menu of made-from-scratch drinks and dishes that are rich in fresh, locally sourced ingredients, the café’s shelves and coolers are stocked with local produce. Cassidys slowly added features like grab-and-go coolers, alternative milk products from local partners, and cold-pressed juice subscriptions.

The scene at Pulp & Sprout, a vegan juice bar and cafe in West Asheville.

Local and women-owned and operated businesses, such as Rosalina Plant Shop and Dare Vegan Cheese, are intentionally displayed in retail areas.

“As a female business owner in Asheville, I feel truly supported, from my male counterparts to strong female entrepreneurs around me,” says Gwendolyn M., owner of an artisan plant-based vegan cheese company. Hageman said, “It’s easy to connect and build relationships with other female business owners because we understand each other.”

Dare sells several staples and limited editions in the cafe’s market space, including pepper jacks, balsamic figs, and Appalachian apricot wedges.

“They’re so close to cheese that you can’t tell the difference,” Hageman said.

“Very good. You can’t keep it on the shelf,” said Cassidy.

Rosarina is a mobile plant store owned by Erika Mayer, powered by a vintage school bus. Rosalina plants are part of the Pulp + Spout decor and customers can purchase them at the cafe. Available.

“She comes in and takes care of the plants and beautifies our space, but at the same time it’s her plant store, so we buy plants directly from her,” Cassidy said.

Pulp + Spout also cares for the dog community and sells vegan dog bones from Botanical Bones.

Pulp + Sprout is open daily mornings and afternoons for breakfast, lunch, and snacks. The three main components are cold pressed juices, food and smoothies.

Cold-pressed juices are made in-house every morning using commercial cold-press machines, Cassidy said. Consumers generally request juices containing electrolytes after exercise, to address health issues such as inflammation, or for general health.

Two popular blends are Go Force Green, made with kale, pear, cucumber, lemon, and ginger juice, and Breeze, made with carrot, orange, apple, lemon, and turmeric.

Juice subscriptions of 6-pack juice bottles are popular and available for weekly local delivery.

Meals include sandwiches and salads.

Avo Toasty is a sesame traditional wheat bread topped with smashed avocado, soy-free veginaise, cashew ricotta cheese, fresh herbs, root vegetables and vegetables and served with a side salad.

Cassidy also recommends the Chickpea Caesar.

“It’s like a mock chicken salad with chickpeas. It can be a salad or a sandwich. It’s a nice hearty and filling meal,” she said.

A selection of baked goods rotates with vegan cheesecakes, mousse pies, cookies, muffins, truffles, and other homemade desserts.

Orange Thyme Cheesecake with Almond Graham Cracker Crust was a recent daily special.

Asheville has a strong vegan community and an industry that supports the demand for plant-based alternatives, Cassidy says.

The scene at Pulp & Sprout, a vegan juice bar and cafe in West Asheville.

“When it comes to the vegan community, the more, the better. Almost every restaurant has at least some vegan options, and there are even some vegan restaurants,” says Cassidy. “The rising tide lifts all ships, so it’s a great community to join.”

Hageman said the number of customers seeking plant-based options is on the rise. Plant-based dining room and retail products work together to make the industry stronger.

“If anything, I think health consciousness is becoming part of our foodie scene, much like it used to be French food and very unhealthy food, if not vegan.” Now, at least as a society, younger generations are looking to take care of their bodies and the environment and make healthier choices in general.