Springhouse began eight years ago at the Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market after co-owner Jessie Doyle decided to sell the healthy snacks she had been making for herself.
“We thought it would be a fun side hustle to sell kale chips at the farmers' market on weekends, and then the demand was huge, it really took off,” she said. “So we quit our other jobs, and figured out how to run a business.”
Doyle is this week’s midweek mugging recipient, and owns the store with Seth Graham.
Now located at 2290 Gottingen St., Springhouse offers plant-based meals such as salads, grilled wraps and bowls, along with fresh juices and smoothies. The store also has a grocery section with items including trail mix, hummus, coconut bacon and more.
“We’re just trying to help people eat healthy more often,” Doyle said. “So focussing on plant-based foods, whole foods, but reminding everyone that you don't have to choose between healthy food or tasty food—you can have healthy food that tastes good.”
Some of the most popular items are the chocolate almond bar, the protein salad and the smoothie parfait, Doyle said.
When testing new menu items, Doyle said their priority is, “making sure our food is full of flavour, super healthy and enough variety with a few different flavour profiles so...nobody ever gets bored.”
Springhouse works with local suppliers including Greens of Haligonia, Pop Culture kombucha, and Acadiana Soy tofu.
Doyle, a graduate of the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition, also hosts regular nutrition classes on topics including how to make “superfood” snacks, and learning about plant-based protein. The classes provide recipe demonstrations along with nutritional information on the food they make.
“It’s a really fun course, we’ve been doing them for quite a few years and I find that people really like chatting about food, they share tips with each other and resources,” she said.
Class sizes are between 15-30 people, and registration is available online.
While initially one of the only plant-based businesses in the city, Doyle said it’s been great to see the vegan community grow.
“I think it is a result of people wanting to live in a way that is more environmentally sustainable, better for their own personal health,” she said. “I think people are thinking a lot about what they’re eating, really making an effort to do their best.”
Doyle said she wants to break out of the idea that you have to be completely vegan to enjoy plant-based foods.
“The vast majority of our customers are not vegan or vegetarian, but they just want to eat healthy more often,” she said.