“Our lifestyle right now is all about connecting with sourced energy and living in a way that is in harmony with the natural rhythms of the world,” says Lauren Elbe. “We are in a constant pursuit of the highest quality of ingredients,” her partner, Sheldon Lawrie adds.
“And,” chimes Elbe, “the highest quality of life.”
On a moody Friday afternoon, I met with Elbe and Lawrie at a community garden on the corner of 7th and Manitoba Streets—a fitting location to nurture a food-forward conversation.
Elbe and Lawrie are purveyors and dutiful practitioners of health. Their products are deeply rooted in experimental and ancient practices that promote well-being, sourced directly from the land. After stealing hearts all over Vancouver with Elbe’s first brainchild, Nuez Nut Milk, Elbe and Lawrie’s latest endeavor, Pure Earth Superfoods, emerged—excuse the pun—organically.
“We had a heavy interest in fermentation, magic art, science, alchemy and mixture,” explains Lawrie. “Lauren was testing recipes and learning by doing in our own kitchen. It’s fully experimental; every piece is different. You don’t know how it’s going to turn out until its ready.”
The ethos behind Pure Earth Superfoods is built on a pedestal of integrity with the intention of connecting their consumers with the abundance of local produce here in the Fraser Valley, by way of their delightful, unique and cult-favourite fermented products.
“We wanted to support local agriculture, and since we want to be farmers ourselves, we created a business model that we could eventually feed into with our own produce,” says Elbe.
“Having a relationship with the farmers is a key component to our business,” adds Lawrie. “After all of our work at the farmer’s market from selling Nuez, we had a lot of great relationships. You want a great product, start with the best ingredients, which means local, fresh and grown with intention, in balance with nature.”
The term “ferment” derives from Latin verb fervere meaning, to boil. And while the popularity and education around fermented foods has only recently become prevalent, the use of fermentation and its practices dates back to as far as 7000 to 6600 BC, in the Neolithic Chinese village of Jiahu, China, and continuing to weave through history in India, Egypt, Babylonia, and Sudan.
“Fermented foods have been used as a medicinal food for [thousands of years], in almost every culture, to maintain vitality. And sometimes that looks like gut health, sometimes that looks like immune health,” says Elbe. “I became interested in nutrition through a healing journey of my own and found myself to be really empowered by engaging and healing with medicinal, high quality, nutritional foods.”
Jars of Pure Earth’s coveted fermented goods–Spicy Turmeric Ginger Carrots, a beautiful fuchsia Mountain Apple Sauerkraut, Jalapeño Sauerkraut and other more seasonal stock–can be found on the shelves (and on menus) at Hey Kokomo, Vegan Supply Chinatown, The Soap Dispensary, all Nectar Juicery locations, 33 Acres Brewing Co. and more.
“In any fermented, cultural base, it’s all about sharing that culture,” says Elbe. “Which is also part of the healing process. Community and relationships.”
For more info on Pure Earth Superfoods and where to find it, visit pureearthsuperfoods.ca. 3ND
*Below words written by Joshua Michnik, Founder of 33 Acres Brewing Company.
2 hours down a logging road up past Pemberton, Lauren and Sheldon invited a group of Friends and my Family to camp on their farm for a beautiful weekend in June. I’ve spent time on a lot of farms growing up in Saskatchewan, but I can say I’ve never been to one as mystical as this. Short walks to view points overlooking a beautiful lake. Streams of fresh mountain water to cool down in and fresh water ponds to bath in. The weekend was full of warm conversation, lovely meals, and taking in the beauty around us. The gardens were still very green, but the bounty was ahead. Thank you to Lauren & Sheldon for organizing such an amazing weekend and letting us into your world. The images for this article were all shot during this time.