It’s clear that a restaurant is on the right track when its tomatoes taste like tomatoes. This is seldom the case with establishments that source their ingredients from international growers. As a strictly raw, organic, vegan and locally-sourced herb shop and cafe, Agi’s Raw Foods uses the kind of superior vegetables that draw a drastic distinction between nourishing food and an Applebee’s wedge salad.
“We pull all [our ingredients] from local businesses,” explains Staci Welch, nutritional consultant, director of finance and sales for Agi’s and part of the energetic three-woman team that runs the company. “If I can get it from a farmer, I will.”
This is an approach that speaks of a mission beyond turning a profit or creating a brand. Instead, it indicates an effort to benefit the community and nourish, rather than just fill up, customers.
It is, unfortunately, also an approach that becomes expensive, both for Agi’s and its customers. While innovative in their culinary realm, Agi’s meals are a bit on the pricey side, though not wallet-crippling. A Garden Veggie Sandwich, which features fresh onions, red bell peppers, greens and a raw, non-dairy cheese spread on dense flaxseed and jalapeño bread, will run for $8.50. A slice of Decadent Chocolate Cake with a thick layer of subtly fruity cacao and agave fudge is $5.79. A six-ounce bottle of pink ginger lemonade is $1.79.
But when it comes to raw foods, cost is not the point. And taste — which is good, but requires a change of expectations — is only half of it. What really counts, says Welch, is the feeling the food creates. “Some people can become so disassociated with their body. They’ve forgotten what it’s like to just feel good in their body.” The key to feeling good, she and her partners say, is the cleansing of the body and benefiting from the intact enzymes and nutrients in raw foods.
“There’s a natural flow the body will go through in the process of healing itself … Until it detoxes, it cannot uptake vitamins and minerals. So you’ll find a lot of people who eat well, but they’re sick because they need to cleanse the body first … Once you detox, you can start feeding [your body] some really good living foods,” notes Welch.
In an effort to help its customers make that lifestyle transition, not only does Agi’s offer raw vegan meals and snacks, but also shelves of herbs, books, gift baskets and even potting soil. All of it is raw, vegan, organic and local.
Address: 2255 N. University Parkway, Provo
Web site: AgisRawFoods.com
Hours: Monday-Saturday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.