NOW OPEN: The Vegan Gardiners Set Up Storefront In Ford City

Saturday March 27th, 2021

Posted at 2:15pm

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Ryan (left) and Amy Gardiner Upton stand together in their new store in Ford City.

The Vegan Gardiners, a plant-based deli, is now open in Ford City.

The new deli, which opened Saturday, March 27th, started as a personal passion project for the owners (and couple) of 10 years. Amy and Ryan Gardiner Upton say they’ve grown their operation over the past four years into a full-blown store with various products and lines, enjoyed by foodies around town.

“I started just making [the products] for myself and Ryan,” explains Amy, as the project was initially ‘The Vegan Gardiner‘ singularly. “There was just a lack of good vegan stuff. Our friends would try what I made and said it was so good I should sell it.”

“It just had a natural flow from there to grow with Ryan making vegan meat,” Amy explained. As the business continued, both Amy and Ryan found more joy in creating products for others to enjoy.

The Vegan Gardiners started hosting pop-ups such as at the Downtown Farmers Market, and worked out of a commercial kitchen to supply wholesale goods. When the pandemic hit, it impacted them in a way that was a final push in the direction to open up their own establishment. The pandemic also gave them time to be able to focus on planning the opening.

The business, which started with a small array of vegan cheeses, has expanded into various goods which are now available in the store. Various flavours and types of cheeses are available, including but not limited to: smoked applewood cheddar, sharpened smoky cheddar, a Havarti line, and brie. The cheeses all are made with different processes, with some being labelled as oat-based (made from their in-house oat “mylk”) and some based from cashews. Much of the goods are gluten free as well as vegan, and many mimic the melty, gooey, stretchy “cheesiness” someone would be looking for in such a product.

The Vegan Gardiners also sell various types of vegan meat, including bacon, patties and sausages, as well as garlic dips, oat mylk, hemp mylk and almond mylk. They plan to soon expand to offering vegan ranch, as well as pre-wrapped, ready-to-eat meals. They’ll also be featuring weekly specials with new additions all the time.

“We are very much about being non-judgmental,” Ryan explains. “You don’t have to be fully vegan to enjoy our products. You can add it into anything…your pizza, nachos, have fun with it!”

“We are made in Ford City 100%,” Amy mentions. “We live here, we work here… we’re really proud to be here.”

Check out The Vegan Gardiners for yourself and find something unique to add to your meal at the new store, located at 998 Drouillard Road, and visit them on Facebook here for more information.

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