Fresno may be smack dab in the middle of the most productive food growing region in the world, but we are no where near the “Top 10 Vegan Cities” list recently compiled by Veg News.
Truth is, we probably wouldn’t even make the top 50. On the list are cities with booming vegan communities and diverse dining selections that offer something other than grilled cheese as a vegan option.
Los Angeles and Oakland are the only California cities to make the list. Interestingly, Detroit, one of the cities Fresno is often compared to in list stories, does make it. That’s right, Detroit has a more robust vegan community than Fresno.
Veg News writes: “In Detroit you can get your vegan soul food fix while also keeping it healthy at juice bars like Drought Juice.”
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But Fresno’s vegans aren’t about to hang their heads. They realize that changing the region’s food culture will take some time, encouragement and education. They also point to positive signs, including greater interest in eating a plant-based, vegetarian or vegan diet. And there are also more vegetarian and vegan menu items at local restaurants like Max’s Bistro, Trelio the Yard House, Little Peking, Casa de Tamales and Fasika Ethiopian Restaurant. There are also several food trucks serving vegan foods, including Raw Fresno and La Jacka Mobile.
Vegan food-based business owner Janna Melkonian, of Rappit Up in Fresno, is encouraged by the growth of vegan and vegetarian businesses in the community, including hers. She makes vegan wraps, salads and rice bowls.
“Fresno can encourage locals to eat more locally grown fresh vegetables, especially since most of them are grown here and distributed everywhere else,” Melkonian said. “Also, Fresno has so many locally owned food businesses, many of these businesses offer foods that can easily be vegan-ised, I feel like if business owners added more vegan options to their menus that could get us to be more vegan friendly.”
Fresno-based vegan blogger Ashley Hankins-Marchetti said that although there is only one true vegan restaurant, The Loving Hut, she tries to encourage people to cook at home, using hers and other people’s recipes. Her blog, Eat Figs, Not Pigs, is loaded with recipes of vegan comfort food. Think, ramen noodle pizza, rigatoni pie, and vegan elote (Mexican street corn.)
“Indeed, in this vegan-friendly region, you can have your tempeh bacon breakfast burrito and okra gumbo, too,” wrote Michelle Robertson of SFGATE.