Faithful listeners will know this to be true: we can’t get enough of Grass Fed, Rochester’s premier vegan butcher shop and deli. Thus, this week, we couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome Rob Nipe and Nora Rubel, founders of Grass Fed, to the podcast. The husband-and-wife team joins us to dish why they view Grass Fed as training wheels for veganism, and they give us the breakdown of the vegan meats Rob makes, including breakfast sausage, pastrami, and barbecue brisket. Plus, they tell us how Bruce Springstreen prompted them to explore making small-batch, handcrafted plant-based meats in earnest. In our conversation, Nora also shares the joy the duo finds in connecting with customers, building relationships with Rochester’s vegan community, and the unexpected individuals who have expressed interest in their products.
Grass Fed vegan butcher shop and deli is the joint venture of Rob Nipe and Nora Rubel, offering delicious small-batch, handcrafted vegan meats made from good, plant-based ingredients. Rob (the Butcher) hails originally from New Jersey and, as a former omnivore, seeks to create delicious cruelty-free versions of the meats he previously enjoyed. He loves a challenge and has spent years perfecting his mad meat-making skills. Sharing them with his adopted city of Rochester is a dream realized. Nora (the Butcher’s Wife) loves to cook and eat. She also writes and teaches about food, culture, and religion at the University of Rochester. She understands the cultural and nostalgic connection folks have to the foods they grow up with and is excited to help them feel those connections in a cruelty-free way.
“We try to trumpet the idea of veganism as something that is attainable.” – Rob Nipe
“There’s only so much we can do in the world to ease suffering, but there are certain things we can do to limit our impact.” – Nora Rubel
Highlights for Episode 636:
- Why Rob and Nora became vegan and how a plant-based diet helped Rob’s health issues
- How a novel helped move Nora from vegetarianism to “ethical” omnivorism to veganism
- What Nora means by the phrase “non-practicing vegan” and how vegan meats allow people to make the leap into going entirely plant-based
- The story of Rob’s decision to develop vegan meats
- How they developed an amazing vegan Passover celebration meal and the positive response from their friends
- Why they started their business in Rochester rather than a bigger city like New York
- Their connection to the kosher community and how important the community is to their success
- Nora’s work as a Jewish Studies professor at the University of Rochester and how it intersects with the Grass Fed vegan butcher project
- Most animal cruelty is legal on the farm. A judge is questioning that.
- Once a beloved vegan ice cream brand, Coconut Bliss’ new dairy line outrages customers.
- A Jewish studies professor and her cheesesteak-loving husband are behind Rochester’s new kosher ‘butcher shop’
Connect with Rob Nipe and Nora Rubel:
- Grass Fed Website
- Grass Fed on Facebook
- Grass Fed on Instagram
- Grass Fed Butcher’s Wife on Instagram
Connect with Our Hen House:
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The Our Hen House theme song is written and performed by Michael Harren.
This episode is brought to you in part through the generosity of A Well-Fed World. A Well-Fed World provides the means for change by empowering individuals, social justice organizations, and political decision makers to embrace the benefits of plant-based foods and farming. Learn more at awfw.org.