Category Archives: vegan


~ Blodgett, Oregon

Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

I really wish I had taken detailed notes on the history of Vegantopia. I just assumed when I was ready to write this article I could pick the brains of the founder and creator of Vegantopia later. But we all know how that goes. I believe he purchased the land and built the house in the 80’s or 90’s. There may have been remnant creations or foundations earlier as he did tell tales of certain musicians contributing wood to the stage down below. The house itself was a one-two bedroom downstairs (if you count the terrarium he has a bedroom setup in) with its own bathroom and kitchen. Then the two door garage in an industrial sized warehouse converted barn that could host two large diesel trucks, but currently empty with a fashion walkway and a performance stage, and a food trailer which housed the kitchen of the ranch’s name “Vegantopia”.

Upstairs is a three bedroom house with kitchen, living room, dining room area, three rooms (we used one for our son’s room, the other an office, and the final a master bedroom), a bathroom with a claw-foot iron tub. Fireplace, deck, and two stairwells – one to the deck, the other from the garage. The side of the house hosted an awned storage bay with stacks of firewood for the winter. An organic garden, a gypsy wagon/vardo for a guesthouse with its own sink, bed/loft, table, chairs, and stove. Solar panels to power up the house and a disintegrating hut that was once a workshop. A creek running through the property with a foot bridge over it, an apple orchard, hiking trails, and a faerie ritual circle up in the woods. It was a magical place. I don’t remember if it was 8 or 16 acres of land.

Vegantopia was the name given to the place by its founder Markey Stuart. Markey created a tempeh kitchen where here he concocted his magical creations of a variety of tempeh that was sold to grocery stories ranging from Ashland, Oregon to Portland with most of the sales in Corvallis and Eugene.

There is little on the web about him or Vegantopia. You can find mention of his infamous Tempeh and soymilk he produced in issues of FA times, vol 32, issues 1 and 4.

They referred to Mark Stuart as a long tie Co-op owner and mastermind behind Vegantopia. He sold his local 6 soymilk made from organic soybeans that they described as impeccably pristine clean food as a basic wholesome soymilk packaged in reusable glass canning jars. We had the pleasure of being gifted it there while we co-habitated the land. We rented the top house and the vardo while Markey lived in the smaller unit down below.

The Vegantopia Tempeh was the most famous creation of the kitchen – fresh, tender, nutritious cakes made of soybeans, garbanzo beans, or quinoa fermented with extra high mycelia content from organic ingredients and packaged in cellophane instead of plastic. Eaten raw or cooked its a favorite of all local vegetarians and vegans.

As Mark Stuart was selling off his empire, we had plans to purchase the land and home from him, including the tempeh trailer but we were unable to come up with the funds by the time he was ready to move on (which was rather quickly) so it was sold to another amazing family that was a perfect fit for the land and home.

An amazing secret magical paradise. Vegantopia has woven its own web.

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Lammas Celebration and tree planting ceremony over Cian’s umbilical cord, Oregon, USA. Planting of lavender, and underneath a baby persimmons tree. Thursday, August 1, 2013. (c) 2013: Photo by Leaf McGowan, Thomas Baurley. More information, copy of photo, to purchase, or to obtain permission to reprint visit To follow the adventures, go to or travel tales This blog, see

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Chocola Tree (Sedona, Arizona)


Chocola Tree Organic Eatery
* 1595 West Hwy 89A, Sedona, Arizon 86336 *

As I try to live the healthier lifestyle, incorporating more vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free into my diet, we were very happy to see a gluten-free vegan restaurant in Sedona. Though “Sedona” being “Sedona” amped up in price tags taking advantage of alternative travelers and tourists I met with what I expected – HIGH priced menu items for unforgivable quantity, quality, or measure. I’m not sure why these trendy spots feel they need to over-charge people who want to be healthy as it seems counter-productive to what the movement stands for in my opinion. New age is new age, and this would be one of the classic hotspots for that kind. Don’t get me wrong, the food was decent, but the manner of delivery is not. First off, everything was way over-priced – and would have been a place I normally would not even give a moment of my time. I was however with a group that wanted to try their food, so in we went. I figured I’d try to be minimalistic with price so was going to go for the coconut curry soup. But the waiter says “its cold – is that ok?” I said, “cold? can’t you heat it up?” and he said “No that’s how its served, we don’t have any way to heat it up here, we don’t use microwaves and we don’t have a stove top”. Okay, being health-conscious I get the “no microwave” but really? A restaurant without a stove top? really? In addition, the soup would not come with bread, even though the bowl of soup was in the $8-10 price range. Really? If I wanted some bread, I’d have to order it separately and it would cost $4-8. I was sickened with the concept. So I went with the Gluten-free waffles. They were good, the middle part. The edges were a bit hard. If they don’t have a stove top, I suppose it was done in a waffle maker. Anyhow – neo-hippie decor with southwestern style, staff was friendly (though full of themselves), and it was crowded. If you’ve a lot of money to toss out the window, into the New Age lifestyle, this would be the perfect place for you – I’m sure the minimalistic food would be perfect for your palate. Not mine. Will never return. They claim 100% organic and/or wild-crafted produce with a 95% seasonal menu. They state they use artesian spring fed source free of chlorine or fluoride water in their cooking and serving. Rating: 3 stars out of 5. Visited 11/24/2013.


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Boiled Peanuts – a southern U.S. specialty


Boiled Peanuts

I was first initiated into this redneck snack when moving to Tallahassee, Florida for University. I was abhorred by the idea, but fighting resistance of trying things odd, I came to love them. They are very popular in any region where peanuts are found to grow. It is the practice of boiling green and raw peanuts, rather than fully mature nuts. They are not fully dried as is done with roasted peanuts or those for oil, butter, etc. They are boiled in salt or cajun flavoring, and develop a strong salty taste with a consistency that is very soft very similar to peas. You can find them being hawked on the roadside by vendors when driving down country roads in the southern United States. This became a folk food in the southern USA, and were called “goober peas” since the 19th century. Some believe they were brought by African slaves and were prepared liek a fish fry in a social gathering setting, often accompanying fried green potatoes, fried fish, okra, black eyed peas, collard greens, and barbecque or cajun food. They can also be found as street foods and snacks in Indian, Indonesia, the Phillipines, Thailand, Central and South America, Nigeria and Ghana, as well as many other parts of Africa. In China they are boiled with salt and star anise, and made into a soup in Taiwan. They are known to contain antioxidants and therefore very good for you – with over four times the antioxidants of raw or roasted peanuts.


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Lentil as Anything (Melbourne, Australia)

Lentil as Anything restaurant
, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. April 15, 2011.

Lentil as Anything
* * Abbotsford Convent * 9 am – 9 pm except mondays noon – 9 pm * (03) 9419 6444 * 1 St. Heliers Street,
Abbotsford, Victoria 3067 *

A most excellent dining experience after a day of sightseeing around the Melbourne area. The band of three of us headed off to one of a series of three “Pay as you Feel” vegetarian restaurants located in Melbourne, Australia. Now having only experienced this “Abbotsford” location located within an old nunnery, I’m inspired to go back to Australia to experience the rest that exist in St. Kilda and Footscray as well. The Abbotsford Convent is within a historical site that will seat upwards of 150 patrons. The concept of the restaurants are based on “trust” to “pay what you can” or “pay as you feel” what the food and dining experience was worth, a concept which impressed me so much I paid more than I would normally for such a meal. They also invite their patrons and fans to donate (which can be done on the web site) towards a philosophy that places human dignity above profit. When dining, all donations for the meal are made into an anonymous box which they feel preserves dignity while promoting trust and feelings of social inclusion. Many activities and artistic expression, fellowship, and communing take place at the “Lentil as Anything” restaurants including live music, world music, films, and art exhibits. All food is sourced from local organic farmers and producers that is prepared on site by volunteers and staff often served all you can eat buffet style. Food is vegetarian with vegan and gluten-free options/selections. They also offer catering services. They pride in being community based and driven. They are a unique not for profit community organisation. A most excellent organization and dining experience. A must not miss in Melbourne. Rating: 5+ stars out of 5. Visited 4/17/11, 4/18/11.

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Green Leaves Vegan Restaurant, Los Angeles, California

Green Leaves Restaurant

1769 Hillhurst Ave. Los Angeles, CA. 90027 * 323.664.2345 323.668.2345 * Open Daily 11:00 am. 12:00 am. *
Nestled in Los Feliz is a hole-in-the-wall restaurant that will fulfill all of your palate’s desires … and in a healthy, organic, and vegan sensation. Friendly staff and very clean restaurant, Green Leaves’ is a great place to hang out for brunch, dinner, or late night fare. Invigorating coconut milk right from the shell, and tofu and seitan spiced just right, and their specialization of thai cuisine is to die for. My visit on the fourth of july for brunch welcomed me refreshment after a crazy night and hangover that was refreshed by the spice and coconut milk – rehydrating me perfectly and naturally. I had the Coconut Milk, the Tofu Pad Thai, and split an order of deep fried soy chicken legs served with house sauce. Hard to tell it wasn’t chicken and sooo much more tasty. Excellent restaurant. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

A re-visit on 10/3/15 was awe-inspiring that the food was just as delicious as we remembered from past visits. I thoroughly enjoyed the vegan chicken drumstick dinner and rice, the vegan chicken satay, and a young coconut drink. It was just what i needed. This is by far one of my favorite restaurants in California, and potentially on the West Coast. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

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