The Mason Jar Cafe in Benton Harbor serves flexible, farm-fresh food in artistic space | Food

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” Let food be thy medication,” goes the oft-quoted stating from Hippocrates.

For Jayme Cousins, the co-founder of The Mason Container Coffee Shop in Benton Harbor, this expression has actually ended up being both an individual mantra and a service design.

About 9 years back, Cousins was identified with embolism and, in the future, with numerous sclerosis. When she started following a paleo diet plan to fight her signs, she recognized “that food was a substantial part of a great deal of the health problems that individuals have in this nation,” she states.

In 2014, when she and her spouse, Abel Martinez, chose to open a coffee shop together, they had a clear vision for their menu.

” I began consuming actually tidy and recognized there’s not a great deal of locations to go to consume,” she states. “So we chose that we would be that location.”

At The Mason Container Coffee Shop, Cousins and Martinez source their active ingredients from a long list of regional suppliers, consisting of bread from Little bit of Swiss Pastry shop, coffee from Uncommon Coffee Roasters, premium jams from Slow Jams and Red Barn Amish Cheddar cheese. Bacon from Nueske’s Bacon and Jake’s Nation Meats, totally free variety and grass-fed pork from Primal Roots Farm and turkey from Michigan Turkey all appear in dishes– and can be traded out for tofu as a vegan option.

” We source our meats that are raised without prescription antibiotics,” Cousins states. They’re hormonal agent totally free, they’re totally free variety and humanely raised. … I constantly inform individuals to consume tidy and consume regional. We aim to utilize the cleanest items that we can discover.”

The Mason Container’s menu has plenty of gluten-free choices, consisting of Lauren’s Unique, which is “a huge plate of veggies, and they can do eggs or tofu on it, topped with cilantro. It’s a stunning meal,” Cousins states. “They do a great deal of root veggies and seasonal veggies therein.”

Huevos Rancheros, another popular meal, includes natural eggs made any design over corn tostado, black beans, fresh guacamole and queso fresco. Fluffy banana oat pancakes, made from oat flour and bananas, are gluten-free, with a texture someplace in between that of banana bread and a timeless pancake.

Not whatever on the menu signs up for healthy requirements, nevertheless. The packed French Toast– cinnamon challa bread packed with sweet marscapone and topped with fresh fruit– has both gluten and massive quantities of sugar and maple syrup.

” Our kitchen area makes whatever from scratch,” Cousins states. This implies that visitors may need to wait a bit longer for their meal. On the weekends, when the coffee shop is often at capability, Cousins motivates visitors to being in overflow seating at a coffee shop in the back of the structure, where they can acquire a latte or a handmade Poptart.

Visitors can likewise roam through the numerous artists’ stores that share area with the coffee shop. A previous Cadillac dealer in Benton Harbor’s arts district, the area houses the little working studios and stores of numerous artists, consisting of painters, jewelry-makers, utilized book stores and glassblowers. Functions from regional artists likewise hold on the walls in the dining locations.

Prior to opening The Mason Container Coffee Shop, Martinez and Cousins had both operated in the dining establishment company considering that they had to do with 15 or 16, Martinez as a cook and Cousins in numerous functions. Opening their own company was a dangerous action, however one that has actually settled. In the very first 6 months after they opened in May 2014, the café grew from 10 tables to 30 tables, and its personnel has actually grown from a five-person operation to more than 30 staff members.

Cousins sees The Mason Container as an important part of a revitalization of Benton Harbor’s downtown.

” I believe that we’re an anchor for Benton Harbor,” she states. “I suggest, we are a location. … There’s absolutely a great deal of motion going on, and a great deal of growing.”

For Cousins, keeping a healthy menu and way of life is a “consistent knowing procedure.” A self-taught food lover, she is continuously getting books, publications and looking into online to discover brand-new aspects of how finest to feed herself and her consumers.

Among The Mason Container’s biggest successes has actually been its zucchini bread waffle.

” It resembles crispy on the outdoors, soft in the middle,” Cousins states with a smile. “It’s big for kids that have celiac, due to the fact that they do not get to consume things like that extremely frequently. … These waffles are much like– you would not understand it was gluten totally free.”

Making food that complies with dietary constraints– and still tastes scrumptious– is “the very best part of exactly what I do,” Cousins states. “Since I really get to assist individuals and offer individuals great food that they’re thrilled to consume. It’s extremely satisfying.”

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