- Alyson Hardwick
- Fruition’s Jessie Doyle and Seth Graham.
Fruition is what you get when you combine two health-conscious, enthusiastic entrepreneurs with Halifax's increasing demand for tasty organic, local food. Like many successful small business owners, co-founders Jessie Doyle (chef), a registered nutritional consultant, and Seth Graham (CCO) turned a hobby and lifestyle---preparing and enjoying raw food---into a career.
Doyle defines raw food as "food that has not been cooked, and none of the ingredients have reached a temperature higher than 105 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit," leaving enzymes and vitamins in tact. There is also a focus on plant (over animal) products, meaning it is mostly "vegan and whole foods-based."
"Eating whole, raw foods is a big change for a lot of people," she explains. "Actually spending time coming to the market and making food from scratch. But it's not inaccessible. It takes a change in thinking."
The self-taught pair started out making and selling Kale Krisps---still one of their most sought-after products---after friends and family convinced them to. "We just always loved farmers' markets and we were loyal market shoppers," says Doyle. "We thought it would really be a fun hobby."
After quickly selling out of their sole product at the Seaport Farmers' Market that fateful Saturday in 2011, they decided to take their "hobby" to the next level.
Last year, after a successful crowdfunding campaign, Fruition upgraded to a larger interim space with a small kitchen on the market's second floor. It is here that Fruition has really come into itself. Although availability ranges seasonally, the burgeoning business now offers over 20 products, their most popular including the inaugural Kale Krisps plus chocolate almond bars, pad thai, garden burgers and Pumpkin Seed Pâté.
"A lot of the feedback we hear about our dips is that they're really versatile," says Doyle, explaining that people use them for crackers, a base for pad thai and/or as sandwich spread. "We're just trying to make raw food a little more accessible and delicious. No matter how healthy it is, if it's not delicious, you're not going to enjoy it."
But do not fear: Graham and Doyle aren't here to convert you to "rawism." "You never discourage people from heating [food] up, if that's what they want to do," explains Graham. And Doyle has some quick tips for doing so: "The healthiest way to cook is by lightly steaming things. For five minutes or less is ideal. Sauteing gently with a heat-safe oil, like coconut oil." She doesn't recommend using olive or hemp-seed oils. "Deep-frying is obviously the worst," she says matter-of-factly. And while the three of us laugh at the obviousness of her statement, Doyle reaffirms that they aren't here to judge. "We really believe in everything in moderation. We're not into demonizing foods. We try to discourage this cycle of guilt---it's important to just do your best. If you're going to have a treat, enjoy it!"
Last week, Fruition announced an expansion to the first floor entryway of the Seaport Farmers' Market, offering a much larger preparation space, seating and room for a salad bar as well as juice and smoothies: "things that we've wanted to do for a while," according to Graham. Although the space is currently under construction, the pair takes possession on December 17, and is hoping to be fully operational before Christmas. Although slightly dismayed at losing their harbour view, Graham confirms he and Doyle are looking forward to the future. "Some people say we'll be trading in our beautiful view for a view of customers, so you can't really argue with that."
Fruition 1209 Marginal Road, 266-3858
Thu-Fri 10am-5pm, Sat 7am-3pm, Sun 9am-3pm