Maple City Market offers plenty of quick meal options for a busy vegan

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By: Crystal Hallwood

Crystal Hallwood/Flavor 574

If I know I am going to be running short on time, I try to plan ahead and take my lunch with me. I am a fan of my own cooking. But sometimes even the best-laid plans go awry. 

What’s a vegan to do? Fast food for vegans isn’t quite what it is for the masses.

My fast food repertoire includes Panera for a bagel with peanut butter (note: not all bagels are vegan — check at the counter), Whole Foods salad bar or the Martin’s salad bar.

None of these options is especially fast, as most require some serious interaction and schlepping out of your car, building your lunch and waiting in line to check out. Plus, they’re awfully difficult to eat in a hurry (except the bagel).

Most recently I was pressed for time in Goshen. I was hoping to try some Indian food, but the person who answered the phone said it would be hard to enjoy the lunch buffet as a vegan (but assured me I’d have options at dinner). Bummer.

I was getting ready to loop the downtown area when I saw Maple City Market, a small co-op. I love co-ops.

It’s a fairly small market, but I was impressed by the dry goods wall stocked with a host of grains, nuts, etc. Since it was my first time there, I took a quick stroll through the aisles to get a feel for the store. (Ever notice that all co-ops smell alike?) It’s got a nice variety of items and I like its vibe. The small refrigerated area has a fair number of vegan options, too.

After my stroll, I went to the grab-and-go area.

What I like is that everything is very clearly marked (vegan, vegetarian, gluten free) and the ingredient list is on each product. That makes it super easy. They had a handful of options, but I am a fan of pot stickers, so I grabbed those.

I noticed the big soup pots, and one was vegan. It was an African stew, so I grabbed a cup to go. I didn’t get anything to drink (I always carry a water bottle).

The bill came in just under $10 for the soup and veggie pot stickers. I contemplated getting another item, but I wasn’t in a big hurry to spend $15 on lunch and not be sitting down getting waited on, so I passed.

The soup was really good. It had huge chunks of veggies, was very hearty and had warmth – but not heat – from the spices. It had a nice cinnamon presence.

I was a wee bit disappointed in the pot stickers, as the edges were crunchy in a way that wasn’t so nice. It made me wonder how long my poor potstickers had been waiting for me. The inside was tasty, though.

So to sum it up, I love what Maple City Market is doing as a co-op and how easy it is to shop there. I wouldn’t make a special trip to eat there, but it sure is nice to know that there is yet another place I can grab a bit to eat when I am on the run.

For more tales of dining vegan in Michiana from Crystal Hallwood and her fellow meatless maven Rama Ganesan, subscribe to the Vegan at the Bend email newsletter.
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