Street Organics café and online store is truly a story of a family searching for a silver lining.
Back in 2011, owner Kristen Morrison wrote a book, Naturally Better, inspired by her son Gryffin who was born with Down Syndrome.
“I wrote the book to help other parents navigate a path through what is usually a gloomy diagnosis. The book has sold in 32 countries,” explains Morrison.
“Through natural therapies and an organic approach to diet, Gryffin has had a wonderfully healthy start to life and on the back of my book, we began the food business.”
What began as an online store called Naturally Better Foods, then expanded to a co-op style store in Murrumbeena, in Melbourne’s southeast.
From there they grew to a concept store in Malvern, launching a cafe in early 2013. Morrison reveals they have big plans to expand, which prompted them to change their name to Street Organics.
Street Organics is a family business. The recipes have mostly been developed based on available seasonal ingredients and Morrison’s aim to achieve minimal waste.
No one at the café is a trained chef; they are just passionate about wholesome, organic food cooked from scratch.
“Basically, we have been guided by what our customers asked for and the business model has grown with demand,” says Morrison.
“Because as a family we discovered the incredible health benefits of eating cleanly and organically, we strive to keep our prices as affordable as we can. It can become super expensive to feed a family this way, as we well know!”
As well as the concept store, Morrison and her husband still run an Australia-wide online store, selling groceries and dry goods which are available in bulk (to keep costs down and reduce packaging waste).
The cafe portion of the business started just over a year ago and they make all of their meals, treats and snacks in-house, from scratch. Those catered for include gluten-free, paleo and vegan diets as well as low-FODMAP foods.
FODMAPs is an acronym (abbreviation) referring to: Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. These are a set of molecules found in food, that can be poorly absorbed by some people, particularly those who suffer from bowel problems.
“We press fresh nut milk every morning for our coffees and often hear our customers comment that they have never seen such a big array of gluten free, vegan, organic treats in a cake display fridge,” exclaims Morrison.
“We work very much with the seasons. We look at what we personally want to eat, what seasonal produce is available and how we can work around our small in-house kitchen to produce food we are proud of.
“We are also guided by what our team can produce quickly, without requiring qualified chefs to run the kitchen. Essentially, we have allocated times each week to look at left over produce from our store, which needs to be cooked, ingredients on-hand and what the weather is doing- and then we create!”
In a perfect world, Morrison says they would love to only stock local, Australian-grown raw ingredients, but it just isn’t practical in all cases due to lack of availability and climate.
While there is a lot of conflicting information in the modern, western media about what constitutes healthy eating, Morrison believes that true clean eating comes down to eating organically.
“Chemicals used in agriculture are responsible for a myriad of modern ills and ridding them from our food-chain would be the best thing we can do.
“Essentially though, healthy eating is all about eating food which is made from scratch. No numbers, no artificial anything, just quality, raw ingredients combined to nourish and delight us.
“We have conversations every day with customers who are passionate about veganism or paleo or quitting sugar, but the main piece of advice we would offer is to think about what feels right to you. Do you prefer not to eat meat? Do you crave sugar? Do you react badly to baked goods? When you think about your diet, what areas do you think you need to improve on and if you choose just one to begin with, you can easily substitute an ingredient and see if you notice a change.”
The most popular items on Street Organics’ menu are their gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan cakes and treats. Morrison says some customers buy them by the dozen! Paired with their cashew latte made with house-made nut milk, it is a delicious and nutritious snack and is a refreshing change from soy milk.
The new stews and vegan curries are rising in popularity as the weather gets colder too.
Morrison says at Street Organics they love cooking with whole almond meal because it is made from ground whole almonds, including the skin, which contains much of the nutrients.
“You can make it yourself by grinding whole raw almonds, or you can use the bi-product of making almond milk. Whole almond meal can be frozen or used to prepare raw desserts. We even use it to make our own vegan pesto,” says Morrison proudly.
1430 High Street, Malvern VIC 3144
(03) 9972 8329