2 October, 2022, 04:28

Farmers Market Profile: Arlene H. Siegel of R’s Raw Kitchen

“This is delicious!”

It’s a common farmers market patron reaction to Arlene H. Siegel’s macadamia nut cheese. A raw living vegan herself, Siegel is the heart behind R’s Raw Kitchen.

Siegel, who began her raw vegan journey in 1998, says it didn’t take long for her to feel the benefits of her new diet.

“A lot of times people are led to making a change because of a health crisis,” she says. “That wasn’t my case. I was just looking to take my health to the next level.”

That next level included dropping a few pant sizes and building a business based on helping others enjoy appetizing and healthy food. Now, R’s Raw Kitchen is a staple of the farmers market, bringing a smorgasbord of raw vegan goodies to St. Philips Plaza, including three varieties of flat breads, several flavors of nut cheese, kale chips, macaroons, and ready-to-eat entrees like veggie burgers and lasagna.

“I was initially reluctant,” she explains. “I started at a small market and gained the confidence to move to a larger one. I’ve now been at the St. Philip’s Sunday market for two years.”

In addition to raw treats, R’s also offers classes to introduce and instruct students in basic raw living cooking skills.

“My classes are an integral part of what I do. We make food and share our health goals. It’s a support system and a jumping off place.”

Siegel spends her week shopping for ingredients at local stores. After that, the process of dehydrating, soaking and fermenting begins. It’s a process that leads to products and a lifestyle she believes strongly in. But she still embraces those who follow a different path.

Macaroons from R's Raw Kitchen (Photo by Jennifer Rothschild)

Macaroons from R’s Raw Kitchen (Photo by Jennifer Rothschild)

“I want people to be healthier, but I also understand that what works for one person, may not work for the next,” she explains. “We are all on a journey, our own unique journey. This is a way, but certainly not the only way.”

Raw and vegan food can be intimidating and different. Siegel breaks down those barriers and makes it accessible, delicious, and mouthwatering. She is creative, always striving to bring something new and fresh to the market for her customers.

“I love the people at the farmers market,” she says. “When someone is ready, it’s so much fun to show what is possible. I love converting someone, having them try something new and truly enjoy it.”

Find R’s Raw Kitchen Sundays at the St. Philip’s Plaza Farmers Market. Products can be found at Urban Fresh and New Life Health Center. For more info, including class schedules, visit rawkitchen.co.

Jennifer Rothschild is an aspiring freelance food writer by night.