Changing the world, one vegan meal at a time
Leaf and Seed Cafe owner Susan Herhold’s decision to stop eating meat followed years of choosing cage-free, open-range animal product options. While she and her husband, Shannon, were on a road trip, they passed a truck filled with chickens in tiny cages, and she realized it was time for her to remove meat from her diet. “I looked at my husband and said, ‘I’m not eating meat anymore.’ Shannon replied, ‘If you’re not, I’m not.’”
Susan, a vegetarian for three years before going vegan, has recreated many of her old recipes as vegan options, a skill that led her to begin a vegan meal-delivery service, which led to the Leaf and Seed food truck, and now the Cafe.
The self-taught chef loves a challenge, and she has placed a “veganize this” suggestion box on the restaurant counter to solicit ideas on what Susan should make next.
That resilient and resourceful nature has served Susan well in the kitchen. After her mother passed away when she was young, Susan and her siblings lived with different family members over the years, and at one point, she lived in a foster home.
“In every place, I was so grateful to have a place to live that I would help them in the kitchen, she recalls. “I learned how to cook from people in Florida, Tennessee, Ohio, West Virginia…they all cooked a little differently.” Her family’s West Virginia farm, where they grow their own produce, showcased a style of country cooking that most influenced her. It required creativity for meal preparations, as they couldn’t afford to waste resources.
The biscuit bowl, a popular Leaf and Seed breakfast option, made with vegan sausage, vegan butter, oat milk and cheese derived from coconuts, is a modified version of a dish she made during her formative years of cooking.
Plant-based comfort food
The Leaf and Seed Cafe presents a casual dining experience, with orders placed at the register and a freshly made meal. The accessible vegan restaurant provides a respite from requests for unique order ingredients. Susan has done her research.
In many other restaurants “(y)ou have to ask about everything,” says Susan. “It gets a little picky, but I don’t want to eat that stuff.” Leaf and Seed doesn’t compromise on clean, vegan eating. “We don’t use any artificial color, flavor or preservatives. Everything is as clean as we can get it,” she says. “Food should make you feel good, give you energy, and get your mind going.”
After eating a large lunch, we felt energized for the rest of our workday, unlike an afternoon slump experienced after eating a meat-laden meal. Whether you are vegan, vegetarian, or curious about doing something positive for the environment and your health, the Leaf and Seed Cafe is a must-try.
Open 10am-8pm Wednesday-Saturday | 10am-2pm on Sunday
Leaf and Seed Cafe, 116 10th St.
419-407-5333 | theleafandseed.com