Roots in the Wild: Dreaming Up A New Vegetarian Restaurant in Northampton
Ashley Niles and Ethan Vandermark were brought together by their love of the wilderness and an impulse to serve. Each already passionate about leading healthy lifestyles, they met and worked together as wilderness guides in Vermont and then Hawaii. It was there, in Hawaii, where they witnessed the transformative power of a close-to-nature, plant-based lifestyle for the young people they guided through horticultural programs.
Ethan and Ashley emerged from the wilderness and arrived in Northampton dreaming up a type of establishment that didn’t yet exist. While there were a few vegetarian restaurants in Northampton already, none of them were completely organic, or primarily locally-sourced. They imagined a place where they could offer organic, local, plant-based delights that would support the total well-being of the folks who walked through their doors. They summed up the spirit of this establishment with one word – “Nourish” – and a hand-drawn beet for a logo.
Nourish began as a tiny kiosk in Thornes Marketplace. There, the couple worked side-by-side, open to close, 7 days a week serving fresh juices and smoothies. “That was pretty exhausting and we got a little annoyed with each other from time to time,” Ashley recalls. They continued to dream bigger, and their business evolved into the airy, light-filled cafe on the corner of Market and Bridge Streets – now one of the most-loved vegetarian restaurants in Northampton.
Of All the Vegetarian Restaurants in Northampton, What Makes Nourish Unique?
Locals and visitors alike head to Nourish in search of hearty “wellness bowls,” (consisting of a bed of grains or greens piled with toppings as tasty as they are beneficial), healing teas, Fair Trade Certified™ coffee, gluten- and grain-free treats, ingenious fresh juice blends and smoothies loaded with supplements and superfoods. It’s all organic, and much of it is locally-sourced.
“There aren’t any other vegetarian restaurants in Northampton that are 100% organic,” Ashley notes, “Where you can walk in and trust that you’re getting some really good food to nourish your body. We decided early on that we would commit to it, and we knew that our food costs were going to be higher because of it, and we knew that it would be harder to source ingredients, but it was that important to us.”
Nourish Yourself: Whole, Organic, Local, Plant-Based
The menu at Nourish consists of primarily whole plant foods for a few reasons. These ingredients are delicious and packed with nutrients; and the body instinctively knows how to break them down, digest and draw the most benefit from them. Due to the unprocessed nature of these ingredients, Ethan and Ashley are able to ensure that each ingredient going into any menu item is of the highest quality, and organically grown. They accomplish this through their close relationships with the local farms they source from.
This passion for quality and purity sets Nourish apart from other vegetarian restaurants in Northampton and across the country. “It’s a principle,” Ethan says of their all-organic, sustainable philosophy. “It’s our foundation. If we take that out, if we aren’t sticking to that purpose, then there’s no true meaning or reason to have this restaurant.”
“It’s also about getting as much as we can locally,” Ashley adds. “We work with local farms, but it’s not just the produce that we’re looking to get local. We get our ghee and our fire cider from Full Moon Ghee and Sweet Birch Herbals, and we get local sriracha and local honey, local maple syrup, local granola. We try to support as many local vendors as possible.”
Commitment to Sustainability
As business owners, Ethan and Ashley strive to keep a low carbon footprint. Local sourcing is one way of accomplishing that. So is using organic ingredients, rather than supporting farms or companies that use harmful synthetic pesticides. Nourish also composts all food waste, and uses compostable to-go materials. “It’s important to us that we limit our waste as much as possible, and that we take care of our environment as we do our bodies,” Ethan says. “Having a restaurant that provides fresh, organic, nourishing food is a privilege. We believe it is our duty and responsibility to reduce our impact on the Earth. It’s a way of giving back to the planet that has so graciously provided for us.”
Whether you’re in the mood for a deep purple “Beetiful” smoothie, a Buddha Bowl, or a slice of toasted Tart Baking Co. sourdough with house-made vegan cashew cheese and avocado, you can know that every menu item is based around conscientiously-sourced ingredients. This means that, whatever you order, you’ll be making a nourishing choice for yourself, your community, and your planet. So if you’re looking for vegetarian restaurants in Northampton to try, stop into Nourish – and experience the high vibration of organic, local, plant-based and seriously delicious food.
WHY WE BELIEVE YOU SHOULD NOURISH YOURSELF!
Organic, local, plant-based, real food. That’s what Nourish Wellness Cafe is all about. Our intention is to contribute to the health and well-being of our community through the food that we create, the guidance that we offer, and the space that we provide. We are committed to supporting local farmers and businesses, and use local ingredients whenever possible. Our recipes are carefully crafted and prepared with love, intended to leave your mind happy, body nourished, and your soul uplifted.