No Bull: Secrets of the veggie burger sisterhood

"We've been eating these our wholes lives," says Elizabeth Raymond, talking about her mother's veggie burgers in the small commercial kitchen on East Market Street. "And we've talked about doing this for a long time."

Last year, Raymond's mother, Crissanne, a local caterer for many years, recruited Elizabeth and her sister Heather to launch No Bull Burger. Using a recipe inspired by the memory of her own mother's lentil soup to make the patties, Raymond and her girls began shopping the veggie burgers around to local restaurants and chefs they knew. The idea of a full-time family business, however, took some time to take root as both daughters had already embarked on their own careers– Heather has a thriving massage therapy practice, and Elizabeth had just completed her master's in education and planned on being a teacher.

But the family legend of those veggie burgers that they'd loved since childhood, and hearing praise from friends and relatives, made them question those career plans.

"I kept thinking,'what if we didn't do this?" says Elizabeth. "We might miss out on a big adventure." She flashes a big smile. "So far, so good."

"The Farmer's Market got us started," says Heather. "We started selling them there and people went crazy."

Word spread fast.

In addition to being available in many local restaurants and most local grocery stores (Rebbeca's, Food of All Nations, The LunchBox Express, who'll even deliver them, etc.), No Bull Burgers are available in two Virginia Whole Foods stores and six grocery stores in Richmond. Online orders have come from as far away as Arizona and California, and this weekend they make their first sales and marketing trip to Washington, D. C.

For now, they employ two grill cooks and a part-time secretary, and package and deliver everything by hand, but it's clear they have grander ambitions.

"People have begged me for this recipe for years," says Crissanne. "We know it's now or never to make this happen."

The burger, built on a foundation of organic lentils and barley, features carrots, spinach, onions, free range eggs, tamari sauce, and other goodies. And it's a hearty burger. A Hook reporter tried one; and it was a meal, a tasty one.

"This has been a great place to start this business," says Elizabeth. "The buying-local thing is very important to us, and there's such a good community here for that. Everybody has a big heart, and everyone wants you to do well."

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I was so excited to read about this...until I saw that it had eggs in it. Not all vegetarians will consider a burger with eggs in it vegetarian.

I love these things both styles! I'm a meat-eating guy and I can't get enough of the no bull products. Well dome ladies.

@ Thoughtful.

If that's the case, then those people shouldn't be calling themselves vegetarians. They should call themselves what they are - *vegans.* Vegetarians don't eat meat, but will eat dairy and eggs. Vegans neither consume, nor wear, anything that comes from an animal.

So, you can steer clear of it all you want. Meanwhile, plenty of other *vegetarians* will be more than happy to pounce on these.

Me, I eat meat, but so long as these things don't contain tofu I'd be willing to give them a try.


"I kept thinking,'what if we didn't do this?" says Elizabeth. "We might miss out on a big adventure." She flashes a big smile. "So far, so good."

I love that attitude! That's exactly how life should be. If one has ideas, give them a try, because you'll never know unless you do. There's nothing worse than woulda coulda shoulda regrets.

What if you don't eat meat, diary or eggs but you're more than happy to sport leather shoes and jackets? Then what are you called? A vegetarian.

Some people would consider themselves to be. Personally, I don't buy anything that is leather for the reason of being opposed to violence against animals.

booo! Sorry but you are not correct, because there is another kind of vegetarian - one who eats dairy/milk products but not eggs. There are gradations of vegetarianism. The point for me is that I won't eat anything that comes from a dead animal or something that is potentially an animal - an egg. For the kind of vegetarian that I am (and there are many of us) there is a great deal of difference between milk products and eggs because an egg is potentially an animal.

The cow has already been slaughtered for it's meat, refusing to wear leather made from a dead cow does nothing to reduce "violence" against animals since the cow wasn't slaughtered for it's skin, but its meat. If anything you should wear as much leather as you can in the spirit of using as much of the slaughtered animal as possible instead of just letting the leather go to waste!

John, the point is not to take part in the slaughter of animals by buying the products of it- this is an ethical choice. And also not to add to the demand for products from dead animals which increases the supply. As more people see the light about meat eating, the demand for meat will hopefully go down, but if people don't also see that using leather products is part of violence against animals, the demand for that could stay the same, and animal slaughter for leather could continue. But ultimately, for me as well as many others, It it an ethical choice, not an economic one.

I've been an an egg & milk-product consuming vegetarian for (wow, this hurts) nearly 40 years now. I also buy the occasional leather shoe. Eggs worry me not: I can't remember the last time I cracked a fertilized egg (even from friends' backyard chickens), but I cannot live without cheese. Please don't ask me about rennet: I simply don't want to know.

More food for people can be created if people eat fruits & veg & grains rather than animals. In general, the statistics were 10 to 1: acres needed to feed people if they ate directly or indirectly from the earth. This has undoubtedly changed over the decades. Still, I'm reasonably certain that my personal habits have helped feed an awful lot of other people over my lifetime.

There are many shades of ethics in all of this. I happen to believe that there is some violence that needs to be done to some animals: deer, for instance. We humans got rid of their natural predators centuries ago and really do need to take their place. I honor those who can do it, I just know that I can't. I know this from going hunting with my father when I was quite young; I learned early that I personally can't deal with the gutting, skinning, plucking, & butchering required to produce meat. So I don't. I remain glad that some others do my inherited share of the necessary predation.

Still, this seemingly slammin' local veggie-burger is something I'll try a time or two.

This may be a tasty vegetarian burger but the price is outrageous. At least the price charged at Whole Foods Market. $10 + add tax for four in the package. I can make a whole lotta lentil/veggie/tamari sauce patties for what amounts to just under $11. So, if you have deep pockets or like to throw your money to cute girls go for it!!

@ Thrifty - That's exactly what I have and exactly what I plan to do. Thanks for your input.