The Coastal Star

Health and Harmony: Boynton Beach’s Bean Scene comes with a pleasant vibe

Inside the Secret Garden Café, chef Lynn Dorsey shows off her vegan ‘crabcake.’

Ocean Ridge resident Naomi Donner receives a ‘sacred sound session’

by Randall Rodriguez at the Bean Scene Sunset Marketplace.

Photos by Tim Stepien/The Coastal Star

By Lona O'Connor

   Twice a month in a small parking lot on Boynton Beach Boulevard, you can get a tarot reading, a massage, a vegan meal and top it all off with a burly man who strategically places Tibetan singing bowls along your prone body and then gently strikes the bowls with a gong, sending vibrations through your body.
    This is the Bean Scene. It may be small, but the funky vibe is unmistakable.
    “There are people blissing out, right on Boynton Beach Boulevard, even though the train might be coming,” said Bean Scene founder Nina Kauder.
    As if summoned, a freight train rumbles by. A crescent moon hangs in the dark blue evening sky. A drummer provides a hypnotic backbeat to the Bean Scene.
    The Bean Scene, which began in September, is thought to be the only all-vegan market in Palm Beach County. During South Florida’s winter months, there are organic vegetables growing around the perimeter of the parking lot. There are vegan meals, wine and beer available inside at the Secret Garden Café, the anchor of the scene.
    Even products such as jewelry and art are “ethical and vegan in spirit — no leather or feathers,” says Kauder, a chef by trade and a teacher at heart.
    “My whole focus is on how fun, easy and affordable being healthy can be,” said Kauder, who has also taught gardening and nutrition for the Community Caring Center of Greater Boynton Beach, a nonprofit group that also incubates fledgling businesses and delivers low-cost meals to senior citizens and others in the surrounding neighborhoods.
    CCC also runs the Secret Garden Café, where chef Lynn Dorsey is busy whipping up the Thursday evening vegan menu, which includes barbecue tempeh (a soy product cut in strips like skinny french fries), stuffed portobello mushrooms and mock crabcakes.
    The tables are all occupied, so Hilary Draper and her daughter Vivian, who live in Boynton Beach, are perched on stools at the counter. Vivian, 5, is spooning up lentil soup and anticipating her entree, vegan mac and cheese. Draper, a graduate student at Florida Atlantic University, is polishing off Dorsey’s tofu scramble and chickpea curry.
    Though Thursday is vegan day at the Secret Garden Café, a deli counter inside the café sells meat-based as well as vegan foods Tuesday through Friday.
    “We’re not here to make anyone feel wrong for what they eat,” said Kauder. “We get organic and grass-fed meats from the best vendors. We meet people where they’re at.”
    Dorsey also cooks CCC’s meals for about 100 seniors, as well as being a caterer and a personal chef.
    “It can get a little intense,” said Dorsey, who has a teenage daughter and son. “But I enjoy helping the community and taking care of the older people.”
    Originally from Louisiana, Dorsey has a lifelong love of cooking for others.
    “I love to see the smiles on people’s faces,” she says. “Food makes people happy.”
    Back out in the funky parking lot, Jeff Overstreet of Delray Beach has just purchased a container of carrot cake bites made of raw ingredients by chef Cindy Adams. Seeing how fast Adams’ stock is being bought up, he decides to buy a second container, this time chocolate almond bites.
    Goodies in hand, he surveys the scene.
    “It’s a great concept and phenomenal people,” he says.
    The next Bean Scene takes place from 4 to 8 p.m. April 7 at Secret Garden Café, 410 E. Boynton Beach Blvd., Boynton Beach. It will continue on April 21 and May 5. During the summer, Bean Scene is scheduled to relocate to the Boynton Beach Art District, 410 W. Industrial Ave., joining the district’s art walks on the fourth Thursday of each month.
    The Secret Garden Café is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday-Friday.
    For more information, contact 877-1411 or email info@beansceneflorida.com

    Lona O’Connor has a lifelong interest in health and healthy living. Send column ideas to Lona13@bellsouth.net.

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