How amazing would it be if, after working a 12-hour day and enduring a hellish subway commute through the freezing rain, you came home to find your grandmother ladling out bowls of nutrient-rich chicken soup?
It’s probably not going to happen, but that’s basically what ordering from The Oliver Weston Company feels like.
Created by Hannah Springer and her husband Hugo Corvera, the small traditional foods company delivers bone broth, fermented vegetables, gluten-free breads, and much more—and is the healthy secret of many busy New York wellness gurus, like acupuncturists and star facialist Julia March.
“It’s all word of mouth, and I actually have a good number of health practitioners among my customers,” Springer says. “A lot of people really come for the broth and then they’ll see that I have all of these other offerings, and they end up becoming really loyal customers.”
The company is named for two of the couple’s three young boys, and Springer says it all started with her first pregnancy, with Oliver, which had lots of complications and opened her eyes to health issues she was experiencing. She decided to get healthy, and after attending the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, she discovered the philosophy behind the Weston A. Price Foundation.
“It just really resonated with me, to eat really old-fashioned, traditional foods like people have been eating forever,” she says. “I started with raw milk and gradually made changes, started to put back meat—but all grass-fed and local and humanely raised, then fermenting vegetables, making bone broth, making my own kombucha and yogurt. I really embraced this whole approach.”
Springer says her personal transformation was dramatic—from clearer skin to better digestion—and she began counseling others on how to transition to traditional foods, which is when she realized many of her busy clients, even those who she taught to cook, didn’t have the time to be fermenting and making broth and would rather buy it from her. So, in 2012, Corvera quit his job and they made The Oliver Weston Company an official business.
Now, the company works out a commercial kitchen in Brooklyn (near the Whole Foods in Gowanus), and makes deliveries to about 40 to 50 households per week, in Brooklyn, Western Queens, and Manhattan. They carefully source produce from small farms in upstate New York and meat and eggs from Amish farms in Pennsylvania.
I placed an order a few weeks ago (the one downside: convenience and quality do not come cheap), and Corvera showed up at my door with a bag full of colorful jars on a recent Monday night. He still makes most of the deliveries. That week may have been the best I’ve eaten all year.
I ate different combinations of crustless potato-leek quiche, sweet potato puree, and fermented pink cabbage for multiple meals, and a kabocha-butternut chicken curry was delicious, filling, and soul-warming. (The only thing I didn’t like was the gluten-free sourdough bread, but I’m a serious bread person.) Everything had lots of flavor, but it also all tasted like things I could have made myself, if I only had the time (maybe), which I found to be oddly comforting.
“It’s simple food, it’s not fancy,” says Springer, who doesn’t have formal culinary training but has been cooking since she was a little girl. “People love that it tastes homey and it’s not too exotic. It tastes familiar.” Which is great, just in case your grandmother’s cooking skills aren’t hereditary. —Lisa Elaine Held
For more information, visit www.theoliverwestoncompany.com