Eat Meet a Ms. Fit

Meet a Ms. Fit: Amy and Hannah Pickle of Raw Girls Memphis

Kathie Bergquist
Written by Kathie Bergquist

Ms. Fit: Tell me about Raw Girls. What do you do?

Amy and Hannah Pickle of Raw Girls

Amy and Hannah Pickle of Raw Girls

Amy: Each week, we prepare a box of gourmet raw foods to be delivered to your door. All prepared simply, with local ingredients we source from local farmers in and around Memphis. In addition, we have a gourmet cold pressed juice business called: Raw Girls Juicy Cleanse, where we deliver cold pressed juices, super food smoothies, Chinese herbs, supplements and raw foods, all to support a healthy cleanse that folks won’t starve while participating in.

Ms. Fit: Let me know a little bit about who each of you are and your backgrounds.

Amy: I’m a passionate foodie who loves to work with local produce and make friends with local farmers. I attribute all that’s great about our food to the farmer. They are the ones cultivating the soil, and harvesting mineral rich produce that sustains us, as opposed to processed foods that deplete us. I base my entire menu each week on what I can find locally.

My background: I attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. While there, while many of the younger students were partying on the weekends on campus, I was taking an hour-long train ride into NYC to study under Chef Jean Georges Vongerichten of Mercer Kitchen. I learned a lot about French-Thai cookery, which has helped a great deal in our raw foods business. We use a lot of Thai elements, like coconut, lemon grass, and limes.

From there, I traveled to San Francisco to beg for a job in the kitchen of Zuni Café. I had cooked so many amazing dishes from the Zuni Café Cookbook that I wanted to study under Judy Rogers herself. She had a long, 9-year career as a chef at Chez Panisse under Alice Waters. I was hoping to extract all of the knowledge I could out of the experience, and I did.

There’s not a day that I don’t hear Judy in my head, talking to me about ingredients, or finding the balance in a vinaigrette or dish. It was there that I learned to celebrate the beauty of a good local lettuce. To get excited about the spiciness of arugula, the juiciness of a late summer tomato, and the way a perfectly ripe black mission fig feels when you squeeze it gently.

Hannah: I’m an alchemist. I have a genuine interest in bringing together elements that work together to uplift and inspire my own life as well as the lives of others. It started when I was a yoga studio owner and kundalini yoga teacher. I found that my students needed more than just their yoga practice to feel good.

I fell in love with raw foods and superfoods after reading Eating for Beauty and The Sunfood Diet, both by David Wolfe. I began to experiment with creating raw meals in my home and was blown away at the changes in how I looked and felt, in such a short amount of time. I couldn’t keep this knowledge to myself, so I started teaching the benefits of live foods and super foods to my community, through workshops at the yoga studio. It caught on like wildfire.

This lead to deeper study and a course certification with David Wolfe through the Body Mind Institute.

Ms. Fit: How did Raw Girls get started?

Amy: I had attended one of Hannah’s Superfood and Raw Food Workshops and was mesmerized, not only by her, but by these ingredients from Equator, the Himalayan Mountains, and Peru. Ingredients I hadn’t heard of at the time, like Goji Berries, raw cacao, cacao nibs, Maca root, Shilijit, and so on. I got an instant high on our concoctions/elixirs, as well as her ethereal beauty. I fell in love with all of it that night.

Hannah: It was love at first sight. A big part of our love affair were sexy nights in the kitchen creating culinary magic with raw foods and super food ingredients. After many years of working with and teaching raw foods, Amy took it to a whole new level I had never experienced, pure ecstasy for the palate.

Amy: We had friends come over one afternoon, and they tried our pea and parsnip risotto—a raw dish we make with parsnips, peas, hemp seeds, hemp oil, and lemon zest. They asked if we’d cook for them weekly. Hannah and I both had our own businesses at the time, but thought cooking occasionally for people on the side might be fun. Within a week we had 10 clients, then 20, then 100+. It has been a delightful wild ride.

Ms. Fit: Why raw?

Amy and Hannah: It feels good. It’s unaltered. It’s whole, in its natural form. We love to work with foods that haven’t been in plastic on a shelf or in a freezer or have been in a factory. It’s pure food without processed, artificial ingredients, or chemicals.

Raw foods contain all of their nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. Nothing is cooked out.

Your body is able to take what it needs for replenishment and rejuvenation.

It’s live food, and when you eat it you feel alive with life force. It’s easy, your body knows what to do with it, unlike gluten or processed foods that sit in the body for days, weeks and even years.

Ms, Fit: What is a week like in the life of a Raw Girl?

Amy: On Mondays we find out what our farmers will have at the market on Saturday. From there, we create our menu around what produce will be harvested for us. The creation of the menu is something Hannah and I truly enjoy doing every week. We draw inspiration from our farmers, Alice Waters, and foods from places we’ve traveled.

We post our menu on our online store on Tuesday, and email our customers our new menu. We have cold press juice production on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, and on those days we are having lots of fun in the kitchen. We play anything from manta music by Snatam Kaur to Shakira and Beyonce. Before we had employees, Hannah and I did it all—which was kinda fun and always hot in the kitchen.

Hannah creates her award-winning raw desserts on Saturdays. Her raw chocolate ganache is everyone’s favorite, including mine. I’ve never experienced chocolate as rich, dark, deep and complex as Hannah’s is. It’s so good I’d like to help her create a line of raw chocolates. It’s absolute bliss.

Ms. Fit: Tell us something you have learned from this process.

Amy: I’ve learned that you can manifest anything you want in this life. We are the creators. Hannah and I stay in a creative space, and we listen to our intuition when it comes to making all decisions from what to prepare, to where we want to see ourselves in the future. I’ve learned that with the right partner there are no ceilings or walls. We can do anything together. And, we aren’t afraid to try.

Hannah: I’ve learned that I love the fast-paced excitement that comes from working in a professional kitchen. I love working side by side with my wife. We create beautiful food together. I’ve learned that I love to make a difference in our community, through beautiful, healthy food, and cleansing. I feel that this is just the beginning of so many fun adventures, like cook books, yoga, and raw foods retreats in exotic locations. I’ve learned that the sky is the limit.

Want to find out more about Raw Girls Memphis?

Check out their Facebook page, online storeor email them at rawgirlsmemphis@gmail.com.

AND: Try these Raw Girls recipes:

Parsnip Rice Risotto with Spring Peas, Hemp Seeds, Mint and Lemon Zest

Hannah’s Decadent Key Lime Pie

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About the author

Kathie Bergquist

Kathie Bergquist

Kathie Bergquist is publisher and editor-in-chief of Ms. Fit Mag. She teaches writing at Columbia College Chicago and edited of the anthology. "Windy City Queer: LGBTQ Dispatches from the Third Coast" and is co-author of "A Field Guide to Gay and Lesbian Chicago." Pulled reluctantly into a fitness lifestyle by her wife and partner of many years, Bergquist is now a runner, a boot camper, and a yogini.

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