PETA Declares Iowa Veggie Burger Among Nation’s Best

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Going green is a lifestyle for Kerri Rush.

"I'm kind of known as the wheatgrass girl. I have been for a long time," Rush said.

It became her livelihood when she forged her business, Fresh Café & Market, out of adversity when her mother was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in the liver, colon and lymph nodes.  Rush said, "It kind of changed our lives as far as what we did to maintain being healthy and to boost her immune system.  Juicing was a huge part of it."

Serving up healthy alternatives at the Downtown Des Moines Farmers’ Market since 2006, Rush is now gaining national fame from PETA.  "When they called me from PETA, I thought, 'What is this?' I didn’t know, I thought it was a joke or some gimmick or something."

This week her veggie burger was named to PETA's Golden Burger awards as the Top 10 burger in the country.  "We take brown rice and quinoa and we steam it.  We shred beets, carrots, mushrooms, garlic and a mix of secret seasonings and we blend together," said Rush.

The key ingredient that launched her burger into PETA fame may be what’s not in the burger.  Rush said, "We don’t use any beans in ours and I think that is what separates ours from some others."

Megan Evans agrees it is in fact one tasty burger.  She said, "You could taste it was fresh.  There’s a lot of frozen options, but to be able to have one that is homemade and the ingredients are quality, it is really great.  It’s just good."

With these patties, the early bird gets the worm.  "Oh we ran out right away today.  I have people that order 40 at a time from me and keep them stocked in their freezer so they can throw them on the grill later," said Rush.

From tacos and sandwiches to smoothies and immune boosting shots, Rush says her goal isn’t just to feed hungry souls at the farmers’ market, it’s also to educate them.  She said, "I really am here to help educate people and teach them how you can do just a little bit, not about taking something away from your diet. I’m not trying to tell you not to eat this or that.  It’s just add one good thing in everyday and you can see a difference."

You can find Fresh Café & Market at 3rd Street and Court Avenue every Saturday at the Downtown Farmers' Market.  They also deliver across the metro every day from their online menu. Visit www.freshcafeandmarket.com

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