by Kelly Behr
Native Foods Cafe
Native Foods uses this image courtesy of http://www.revelinnewyork.com
Two sisters with a love for animals and shoes are the brains behind the operation at MooShoes in New York City. They were the first cruelty-free retail to store to land in the city selling handbags, accessories, t-shirts and of course…shoes. Native Foods Cafe caught up with one of the sisters, Erica Kubersky, for our October newsletter.
Where are you from?
I am from Queens, NY
What is your sign?
What inspired you to become vegan?
My father is Israeli and as a kid we would visit often. Some of my family lived on a kibbutz and during one of those visits, I was taken to meet the cows. I was around 8 years old at the time and all of a sudden it just occurred to me that the hamburger I had eaten the night before was made from one of the beautiful cows I was now cuddling up to. I asked my parents for further explanation and I was lucky that my parents were completely honest with me. I decided right then that I would never eat an animal again and again I was lucky that my parents supported my decision and that was that. I became vegan when I was in high school about 8 years later when I further educated myself about the egg and dairy industry.
What do you think has had the biggest impact on the growing vegan movement in the past year?
I think the fact that the information is so readily available these days. It would be very hard for someone to honestly say “wow, I didn’t know that..” anymore.
I also think that now since vegan food and products are so readily available, people aren’t as nervous to try it..and like we all know once you try it for a bit, you realize it is the best thing ever!
Why did you start Moo Shoes?
MooShoes was really my sister’s (MooShoes partener) idea. Soon after going vegetarian, someone presented me with the hard truth about my shoes and again just like that, that was it for me and I decided then that I would never wear leather again. This was in the late 80’s and let’s just say that the options were pretty limited. My choices were converse or some pretty unattractive incidentally non leather shoes that were found at the discount stores. I was very committed to my newly found vegetarian lifestyle, but I was also pretty committed to being a stylish pre teen so that was when my sister and I started dreaming/wishing/hoping for a vegan shoe store. Long story short, 15 years later, the dream was still alive and we opened MooShoes with zero knowledge of running a business but 100% faith that it would work.
Native Foods uses this image courtesy of http://pansymaiden.squarespace.com
How do you find all those cool handbags and shoes?
We never stop looking. We go to shoe shows, scour the Internet and magazines, we listen to what our friends are saying, and we look at everyone’s feet.
Do you have a favorite vegan designer/line?
Well I’m probably partial to the line of shoes we manufacture ourselves, called Novacas (no cow in Spanish and Portuguese)
Do you have a favorite vegetable?
Well I know it is everyone’s favorite these days but I swear kale and I go way back.
What about a fruit?
That changes with the seasons..right now I can’t get enough peaches or watermelon.
What is your favorite dish to enjoy at home?
Tofu scramble..I could eat brunch any time of the day
Do you have any pets? If so, what kind and what are their names?
Yup, love them! I have 2 dogs..Libby, a lab mix, Lucy, she is that very specific medium brown breed, plus 4 cats-Monty, Mimi, Mel, and Frannie
We also have a store cat..Marlowe
What is your favorite current menu item & dessert at Native Foods Café?
Well since there isn’t a NYC location yet, I have to go by my memory of my last California visit where I think I ate at Native Foods 4 times in one week. I love the selection of bowls, quite possibly my favorite way to eat, but specifically I think the Soul Bowl was my go to dish. Desserts, again if memory serves, I had some pretty amazing apple pie there.
If aliens landed in your backyard, what is the first food and drink you would serve them?
Wine, you know so maybe we could keep things friendly and really try to get to know one another and either some Dr. Cow’s Vegan cheese or a cashew butter and jelly sandwich- I mean, I am trying to impress them, right?
What one vegan product do you think you could never live without?
I love so many things, but I probably use Melinda’s hot sauce in just about everything I eat, but I truly thank my lucky stars for veganeise and as of lately anything that is made by Califa Farms
What do you do in your free time?
I do a bit of running, hiking, and loads of dog walking. Oh and I’m sure I watch way too much tv
If you could only recommend one book to a vegan newbie, which one would you choose?
Anything from Sue Coe. Her work has such a powerful effect on me. If you don’t go vegan immediately after reading Dead Meat..I’m a little worried about you.
If you could live anywhere in the world…. where and why?
I wholeheartedly love NYC, but like every city dweller sometimes I dream about getting away from it all. I’m lucky enough to have a family place in upstate New York that I can escape to, but the most relaxed I have been in awhile was a recent visit to Acadia National Park in Maine. So if I wasn’t a slave to NYC, maybe that is where I would go.
Native Foods Cafe Vegan Restaurant, vegan food, vegan, vegan shoes, vegan fashion