By Will Grandbois
Sopris Sun Staff Writer
While most grocery stores don’t even compost their leftover produce, Dandelion Market goes above and beyond by turning it into hot meals for the hungry.
The donation-based Nepalese meal of the day is ready at around noon each weekday, thanks to Devika Gurung, 40, who hails from Nepal’s Mustang District and more recently from Pokhara.
While she dealt with plenty of Westerners while running a retreat center there, Gurung probably never would have ended up stateside if it wasn’t for her husband, filmmaker Hamilton Pevec. The couple met in India in 2007 and lived in Nepal together for a while before opting for Colorado when their child was born.
“It was a tough decision to make this move, but I wanted to see his life and meet his family,” Gurung said.
A multi-generational Carbondale household and a fairly familiar landscape made it easier.
“When I saw the mountains and the river and nature I felt already the connection,” she added.
Soon, Gurung began looking for ways to get out and engage with the community. She teaches yoga at The Launchpad Wednesdays from 9 to 10:30 a.m., and started out working the produce section at Dandelion Market (559 Main St.).
“I liked the intention. It exists because of the local community,” she said. “I saw what is going to the compost every day. I like cooking, so I talked to (manager) Katrina (Byars).”
By late autumn 2016, she was trying out some of her recipes for those in need, and by reasonable donation for those who could pay.
“There are a few customers that count on us and come regularly, she noted. “Some people you can see don’t have money or haven’t eaten and are hungry. Everybody else knows, when you go to a restaurant, how much it costs.”
Her cooking has evoked a warm response in those who sample it.
“People are so open here. They want to try new things,” Gurung said. “I’m able to share something that is coming from my roots. If I’m cooking Nepalese food I want to stick to the tradition and not westernize it.”
The offerings usually involve curry or lentils, rice, and plenty of produce. It’s always vegetarian and usually gluten free and vegan, as well.
All the ingredients are available at the market, and she also sells a custom spice mix and her own blend of chai. Folks who want to dive even deeper can take a three-hour cooking class, which costs $50 and takes place monthly.
As she tries to do more independent workshops and Dandelion Market contemplates a move, she hopes to lay the groundwork to continue and even expand the program.
“It’s really important the food that you take because it becomes medicine,” she said. “You support your own local farmer instead of using vegetables and fruits from a different country, and whatever you’re missing, nature knows and provides.”
Published in The Sopris Sun on March 9, 2017.