More and more people across the country are choosing to eat healthier. And for many, that means choosing organically-grown and prepared foods.
Here in Tillsonburg, residents are now able to fulfill that choice in a new organic cafe – the Indigo Cafe & Eatery.
“I’m really pleased to offer a place that has these healthier options for eating in, that cater to the whole family,” said owner Kelly Spencer. “But we also do take out, so you can grab a sandwich, a wrap or protein smoothie and take it with you on the road to your busy sporting events or activities.”
The Indigo Cafe & Eatery has been open for several months now in Tillsonburg, serving up its first organic meal last fall.
For several years Spencer had hoped to see a restaurant or cafe open in Tillsonburg – one where a family could eat a meal together, and one that provided different, healthy options and healthier characteristics such as less deep fried and more organic choices. She did her research and paperwork and decided to open up a cafe and eatery herself.
“I have very active kids and a lot of the time we’re out on the road and it is very difficult to find healthy food quickly, or even take out when you’re going to the hockey game, ringette game or football,” she said noting the definition of organic.
“Organic means the absence of chemicals and pesticides used in growing or raising plants and animals.”
While the term organic has been around for many years, not many people have opted to eat organically grown foods. As Spencer points out, eating organic doesn’t have to mean sacrificing taste.
“A lot of people may think when they hear the word organic that it might taste super healthy. But hands down, almost every time, the organic food will taste better. It will have more flavour and it will be juicier.”
When she opened her organic cafe and eatery, Spencer wanted to make sure the organic foods she sold and provided would appeal to many people.
“(Organic food) was not appealing to my kids so I wanted to create a menu that did have those alternative options like spinach drinks but as well, an organic fruit smoothie. I wanted to offer regular foods.”
Indeed, the Indigo Cafe & Eatery now boasts a wide selection of organic foods and drinks for all preferences.
On the menu is all-day breakfast that serves organic, free-range eggs, organic all natural, nitrate-free bacon, ancient grain and organic breads. Soups are homemade family recipes with all natural, fresh and organic ingredients, a variety of salads are made with organic fruits, nuts and vegetables. There are also several unique items on the menu, including Asian inspired dishes such as homemade Nepalese Momo’s – dumplings filled with vegetables and served with a coriander tomato sauce from Nepal, vegetable curry and rice, sushi, and butter chicken. For those wanting a meal that is closer to mainstream food, such as items commonly found in a restaurant, there is a healthy pub style selection of foods to choose from, including organic beef chili, organic nachos and organic beef burgers.
“When I first opened the cafe, about two months into it, my father was coming here frequently and he said one day that I have to ‘man-up’ the menu,” said Spencer with a laugh. “Not that the soup and sandwiches weren’t good, he just wanted heartier foods.”
With a healthier choice in lifestyles and foods today, Spencer said there are many new buzzwords associated with the organic food industry that are quickly becoming more common and more familiar to the general public.
“I also started looking more at other healthier options out there, not just organic but there’s non-GMO foods – which a lot of people are hearing about,” said Spencer noting the term non-genetically modified organisms.
In addition, to the term organic, other popular buzzwords include free range, free run, non-GMO (genetically modified organisms) and fair trade - all of which are used when referring to organically grown foods.
“A free range, organic animal is antibiotic free, hormone injection free, lives under the sky, grazes out in fresh air and eats the grass (or grain), depending on what the animal is,” said Spencer.
Due to increased awareness about organic foods, Spencer said she is able to keep her prices competitive at the cafe and eatery.
“I think the demand for organic foods is increasing and therefore, prices are becoming more competitive. I even notice at the grocery store for example, bananas are almost the same and apples are almost the same (price as non-organic produce). Which leads to the question, if its only 10 or 20 cents more, why would you want the foods with chemicals? Isn’t your health worth that extra few cents or dollar?”
Spencer incorporates and uses locally grown, sustainable foods – everything from eggs, vegetables and beef, all purchased from nearby farmers and growers.
Choosing to eat organic foods can be simple and enjoyable.
“It’s just taking the foods you normally eat every day,” said Spencer. “And eating less boxed food, less processed and less freezer processed foods.”
For more information on the Indigo Cafe & Eatery, visit www.indigolounge.ca or call (519) 688-1188.