PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — There is a new option for vegans in Peoria and those just looking to incorporate more healthy foods into their systems.

Tuesday, Jam Rohr celebrated the opening of her new store, Radish Kitchen. She describes her business as the only dedicated vegan facility in the Peoria area, and she is focusing on making locally sourced, organic, whole foods in-house. 

“Everything starts from a plant and then is made into a meal,” said Rohr.

About three years ago, Rohr gravitated toward a vegan lifestyle after experiencing some health challenges.

“I started having this really awful pain in my lower abdomen and I didn’t have health insurance and I couldn’t figure out what it was,” said Rohr. “So I started trying to transition to eating more whole foods and omitting red meats and then trying to omit dairy and seeing how I feel. And I just noticed I felt better.”

In September 2020, Rohr was making meals for a friend. That’s when Upbeet Jams — now Radish Kitchen — was born. 

Rohr said, “So I went down to the farmer’s market to see what I could find. Made meals for her and then a few more people wanted it. Then a few more people wanted it, and then I suddenly grew out of my home kitchen.”

Rohr started using a commercial kitchen in a local church. Thanks to a growing business over the course of a year and a half, she has now opened her own space, and she is getting a lot of community support. 

“I really didn’t expect to ever grow into a full storefront, but here we are,” she said.

Along with exposing people to changes in food choices, Rohr is also hoping changes in people’s perspectives will follow. 

“…Breaking down the stereotype of the angry, judgmental vegan because that’s not the type of person I am. I want it to be approachable to everybody, but accessible to the people who want it.”

Jam Rohr

For those that are on the fence about the changing food choices, Rohr recommended starting slowly. 

“I always say, ‘Just try it.’ There might be something you like and if you don’t like it that’s okay. But just add more plants to what you’re already eating, and you might find some kind of joy and maybe feel a little bit different,” Rohr said.

Radish Kitchen is located at 1200 W. Main St. #22 in Peoria.