Pigtown will become a haven for a host of Baltimore-based vegan businesses that will sell plant-based foods and meat and dairy-free alternatives out of a storefront later this year.
The Greener Kitchen, a collective of Baltimore-based vegan businesses that supply food for local restaurants, will aim to make healthy plant-based foods more accessible and affordable to the greater public with a Pigtown storefront and deli.
The company, which originally operated under the name PEP Foods Inc., has worked as a distributor and caterer since 2013, but will solidify its roots with a new, visible space at 803 Washington Blvd., featuring a commercial kitchen, tables for dining-in, and sales counter, according to its co-founder Brenda Sanders.
The space, which is set to open within the next few weeks, will boast a variety of grab-and-go meals, desserts, dairy-free mayonnaise and cheeses, and meat-free proteins, like the wheat-based meat substitute seitan. There are also plans for the storefront and deli to serve as an incubator for vegan chefs who hope to one day own their own businesses or restaurants.
Sanders said the company thought of the idea for the deli and incubator around five years ago as they attempted to build momentum in the city through catering and festivals in hopes of making healthy vegan foods more mainstream in Baltimore. Seeing the “many health disparities [that] exist between more affluent communities in Baltimore and the lower income ones, especially lower-income communities of color,” was a main motivator, Sanders said. Life expectancy, which can often be tied to diet and access to healthy foods, also varied among communities, she said.
“Folks were eating what they have access to in their communities,” with unhealthy, processed foods most often found in lower-income neighborhoods, Sanders said.
“Our mission is to bring healthy foods to Baltimore for everybody,” said Sanders. “We want everybody to have access to delicious, healthy foods.”
The Greener Kitchen opened its doors temporarily on Thursday for a sneak peek of their space with a “waffle sundae” event, complete with fluffy vegan Belgian waffles, non-dairy homemade ice cream, meat-free products like fried “chicken,” buffalo strips and items that paid homage to the city’s carryout scene -- all with a plant-based twist.
Sanders stated that the event was a success.
“People were absolutely amazed,” Sanders said. “They couldn't believe food taken from plants could taste that good.”
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