With Pure Grub, Asanté Bierria not only wants to nourish your body, but also nourish your soul.
Based in a commercial kitchen in Mt. Washington, the company sells (and gives away) organic, plant-based, gluten-free health foods, and probiotic beverages in a variety of locations across Pittsburgh.
“Every bite should have nutritional value,” says Bierria.
He recently hurled vegetables and rice in a mango jerk sauce, hot Japanese sweet potatoes and warm cornbread at Trace Brewing in Bloomfield – where Bierria is stationed every Thursday from 5pm to 9pm.
Earlier in the week, shoppers at Lawrenceville Farmers Market – his home base every Tuesday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. – had a choice of pan-Asian stir-fries or spring salads with papaya dressing. Check out Pure Grub’s full schedule online.
To tackle food insecurity, Bierria and other volunteers are providing a cool box and pantry at Millvales Tupelo Honey Teas. Bierria serves 150 healthy meals a week that anyone in need can eat without question. You can donate supplies or send money to puregrub412 through Venmo.
Every winter until early spring, Pure Grub takes over the duty widow at Tupelo Honey Teas. This summer Bierria and his crew will set up their VBQ, a vegan grill series, on the company terrace every first Thursday of the month from 5 to 9 p.m.
The menu changes weekly but is always packed with nutrient-rich produce made with seasonal ingredients from local farmers’ markets or the East End Food Co-Op.
Pure Grub staples include balls of goodness, which are ground tree nuts and maple syrup coated with cocoa or ginger-cinnamon. Five years ago, Bierria served these high-protein snacks to seniors in a nursing home and they came up with the name.
Health-conscious people with a sweet tooth can also enjoy Ice Cream Sandwich Bites (coconut milk ice cream in a walnut Sammie) and a Blueberry Jam Parfait made from coconut cream, blueberries, chia seeds and cocoa.
Bierria jumped on the superfood bandwagon almost a decade ago following a health problem. Experience made him realize that diets don’t work; To see real change, you have to incorporate healthy eating into your lifestyle, he says. He attended the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon to learn from people who were literally outstanding in their fields.
“It’s a way of life,” he says. “With good quality food, my body could be strong enough to recharge my batteries and move forward. After Portland I decided to see how I could generalize it to the masses. “
Bierria found culinary inspiration in his Cuban and West Indian background, an early career in the service industry (he was a bartender in the Firehouse Lounge and the Shadow Lounge), and his partial ownership of the Heirloom Superfood Market, which once occupied the building on the former 31st Street pub Penn Avenue in the Strip District.
With the help of Chef Jon Beck, Bierria began hosting holistic pop-ups in collaboration with wellness specialists including yoga teachers, Reiki masters, and acupuncturists. The pop-ups provided a safe place for people to learn and grow.
Bierria now offers catering and menu plans for people who want to eat well on a budget without sacrificing taste. He is also expanding his superfood empire to include wholesaling for local businesses. You can now get Pure Grub at Cafe Conmigo in Wexford and Cafe Cravings in Mt. Washington. Bierria also has an ambition to bring its products to university cafeterias and the Pittsburgh International Airport.
And if local facilities have cool boxes, he is happy to fill them with donated meals.
“The food I make is prepared on purpose,” explains Bierria. “It’s my way of saying, ‘I love you, we share the air, now eat. The reward is a stomach full of decent food. “
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