The first time I saw Brad’s Raw Chips was when a friend brought them over as a gift. We both LOL when we saw the price on the container from Nature’s Pantry–$7.29—and read the weight—2 .5 ounces. That makes a pound of kale worth nearly $50! Even to a kale lover like myself who thinks the vegetable deserves a far nobler fate than to separate trays of haddock from trays of flounder in the ice at the seafood counter, this is outrageous. Brad, what are you thinking?
I’ll have a chance to ask that question in person this weekend when Brad Gruno comes to State College to promote his Brad’s Raw Chip line on Friday and Saturday at Wegman’s in State College. Brad Gruno developed his intriguing chips 4 years ago and made them for himself using a home dehydrator until so many of his friends asked for them that he started producing them commercially in a one car garage and selling at farmers markets and natural food stores outside Philadelphia. Today the operation is in a 4000 square foot facility in Upper Bucks County and employs 16 people.
Brad isn’t the only raw foods evangelist in central PA this weekend. On Sunday and Monday San Francisco Bay area raw food chef and instructor Heather Haxo Phillips will do events at Nature’s Pantry designed to introduce the concept of a raw foods diet and demonstrate how to practice it. On Sunday from 5 to 6 Phillips will present a lecture entitled “Why Raw?” and on Monday from 6 to 8:30 a workshop entitled “Forget Cooking” will teach how to prepare a variety of dishes and will explain the ingredients, kitchen skills and equipment you need to get started.
In a phone interview, Phillips said “I’m excited to introduce people to raw food. And the best way to keep people excited about raw food is to show them how to prepare it.” Heather confessed that she eats a mostly raw diet most of the time, since going “cold turkey” five years ago in order to lose weight . “Basically, I don’t eat things that come in boxes or cans– you just feel better when you eat this way.” Raw foods, according to Phillips, means not allowing food to be heated above 115° to 140° degrees F which destroys phytonutrients.
State College has enjoyed the option of raw foods for a while. April Myers’ the Enchanted Kitchen is currently next to Lotus Center Yoga at 127 S. Pugh Street and is open Tuesday through Friday for lunch and Thursdays for dinner. Myers’ was formerly part of the eclectic cuisine at Websters’ Cafe and prior to that, at the State College Friday farmers market. Her spring rolls and sunflower seed pate have devoted followers and have done much to advance the cause of raw foods cuisine in our area. Myers recently offered a raw food Valentine Dinner by reservation and plans to do more special events like that in the future.
Raw food doesn’t have to be an all or nothing proposition. Including more raw foods in a diet of healthy, lean proteins that focuses on plenty of fruits and vegetables is a good way to eat anytime of the year. Even in February and even in Central Pa.