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A man with very short black hair is smiling very cheerfully for the camera ;Rancho Vegano: A Gateway to Tucson's Natural Wonders | Colin Eosom | Ep 142

Rancho Vegano: A Gateway to Tucson’s Natural Wonders | Colin Eosom

Introducing Colin

Discover the enchanting world of Rancho Vegano, a vegan bed and breakfast oasis in the heart of Tucson, Arizona, led by the visionary Colin and his husband. Dive into their journey of transforming a former ranch house into a haven for eco-conscious travelers seeking a fully plant-based experience. In this interview, Colin shares the passion behind Rancho Vegano’s sustainable hospitality, from their delicious plant-based breakfasts to their use of eco-friendly materials.

Learn about the challenges they faced, from renovating a garage into a guest suite to navigating supply chain issues and adapting to the impacts of COVID-19. Colin also shines a light on Tucson’s vibrant vegan scene, showcasing the city’s array of vegan-friendly restaurants and flourishing plant-based community. Join us as we explore Rancho Vegano and Colin’s inspiring commitment to vegan hospitality, sustainable living, and mindful consumption in travel.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Colin will offer insights into Rancho Vegano’s unique offerings.
  • Dedicated to providing plant-based breakfast options.
  • Use of sustainable fabrics and environmentally friendly products.
  • Creating a tranquil and environmentally conscious retreat.
  • Renovation journey, including transforming a double garage into a guest suite.
  • Challenges faced: navigating supply chain issues and adapting to COVID-19 impacts.
  • Highlighting Tucson’s vibrant vegan scene.
  • The growing number of vegan-friendly restaurants.
  • Flourishing plant-based community.
  • The ideal destination for sunny and adventure-filled getaways.
  • Exploring Colin’s commitment to vegan hospitality, sustainable living, and promoting mindful and ethical consumption in travel.

Learn more about what we talk about

Tucson is great for outdoor pursuits, especially in the cooler months.

Animal sanctuaries:

Amazing vegan restaurants:

Other World Vegan Travel content connected with this episode

Connect with Colin

Transcript

 Brighde: Hi, Colin. Thank you so much for joining me on the World Vegan Travel Podcast today.

Colin: Thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here. 
 

Brighde: I am so pleased to have you on here to talk about a destination that doesn’t we’ve covered in the podcast before, and you’re doing something rather special in the vegan travel space, so why don’t you briefly just tell us a little bit about what it is that you’re doing.

Colin: Yeah, for sure. So we’re based in Tucson, Arizona in the United States. A couple of years ago, my husband and I bought an old ranch house. It was built in the 1970s. It was a little rundown. It’s on four acres, right up against one of the mountain ranges on the east side of Tucson. We decided that we wanted to run a vegan bed and breakfast. 
 

So we both got certified with Main Street Vegan Academy. So we’re vegan lifestyle coaches. We also did the Forks Over Knives chef certification and we did the Plant-Based certification from Cornell. So we wanted to make sure that we had some credentials behind us so we could help people understand the nutrition side of things. 
  

We decided to offer a vegan bed and breakfast and what makes it vegan is it is truly a bed and breakfast. We offer breakfast to our guests and they frequently arrive with vegan cupcakes or cookies roasted nuts or little treats along the way. And we like to give them treats sort of every day that they’re here. 
 

But we also look at the environmental side of that too. We use sustainable fabrics in the bed and breakfast, so all the sheets are made from bamboo, for example. We use bamboo toilet paper and bamboo paper products. We use environmentally friendly, biodegradable cleaning products, unscented. 
 

So we really try and provide a very safe environmental space with, you know, as minimum carbon footprint as possible, as well as providing people with healthy, nutritious way to start the day with a fantastic home cooked breakfast. Typically we’ll send that menu to, I guess, ahead of time. 
 

So they already have a chance to look it over. Some of them pre order before they even get here. They tell us what they want every day. And otherwise people just choose sort of the evening before and they tell us what time they want breakfast and we walk around to the guest suite and we knock on the door with a tray laid down with wholesome goodies. 
  

 We’ve really gone for the spa type experience. We’ve really gone for a very meditative space. It’s very calm. We’re away from the main road. You’ve got the beautiful view of the mountains. We have a heated saltwater pool. Guests have full access to the pool 24/7. They get a covered parking space, two covered parking spaces, and just look out over the beautiful mountains. As I said, it’s very quiet. We get some wildlife. We have a couple of horned owls living on the property. We see some hawks. Harris’s hawk and Cooper’s hawk, some Roadrunners and some quail. Not so long ago, we had some birdwatchers stay on our property, from England, actually. And they said that they found 14 different species of bird just on our property. 
 

So, we are in the desert Southwest. We have lots of cactus. It looks very typically desert Southwest with the Saguaro cactus right by the front gate. But it is a very wholesome feel when you get to the bed and breakfast. We’ve really gone for that meditative zen like getaway space and guests so far have really appreciated that. 
  

Brighde: That just sounds absolutely lovely. A burning question I have is how was the renovation of the property? I can imagine that it was challenging. I think everyone always thinks it’s more expensive and more time consuming and this is the reason why I’ve never even wanted to go down that road. Seb and I are terrible at DIY and terrible at making decisions about interiors and things like that so how was that process for you both? 
 

Brighde: It It’s been an interesting experience because we started the renovations during COVID. And so not only were materials very expensive because of supply and demand, but trying to find a contractor who could do the work who wasn’t already booked up or who wasn’t feeling sick with COVID was, was also a challenge. 
 

Colin: We ended up using just a couple of contractors to kind of do everything and they were pretty much living here full time. For example, what is now the bed and breakfast was a double garage. We converted 700 square feet of one end of the house. It was a double garage and we converted the garage space into the bedroom and the living area. 
 

But it also had a little office attached to it and so we converted that into a dining room. And it also had a bathroom. So we moved the bathroom things around a little bit to make it a little bit more amenable, a bit more user friendly. So that guest suite has a 400 square foot bedroom with TV and everything, it’s got its own dining area, little kitchenette, and its own private bathroom and it’s detached the main house, but we have a private entrance. 
 

So we renovated all of that. We took that double garage door out. We ended up bricking it in, putting French doors in, and putting flooring in throughout the whole house, actually. So it’s ceramic tile, it looks like wood, but it’s actually ceramic tile. And we did that throughout the house. We’re still working on things. 
 
 I mean, we have a sky deck, for example, which is above the carport. You can go up there and see a 360-degree view of all the mountains. So we’re in the middle of renovating that. We had the driveway relayed and asphalted, resurfaced. So there’s been a lot between moving the plumbing and moving the washing machine, which used to be in the office space, we moved that into another closet. 
 

It’s been an ongoing process. So the bulk of the work is done. The bed and breakfast was our priority, but we’re slowly starting to work on the rest of the house where we live. It did prove to be pretty expensive because of the supply and demand issues of COVID and it definitely took much longer than we anticipated. 
 

We’ve had our own kitchen renovated and we had to wait six months for the cabinets to come in. And then we had to wait another six weeks once the cabinets were in, for example, to get the countertops laid. So those are the issues we were running into. It’s everything took a lot longer and everything was a little bit more expensive than we anticipated, but it’s been worth it. It’s been a labor of love and just seeing it all come together has been wonderful. 
  

Brighde: Wow I have so much admiration for you both, like I said this is something I   don’t think I would ever want to take on. I have resilience in other areas of my life, but in terms of like, DIY and fixing things and design, it is not something that I am very resilient at all. I really can understand that it would have taken a lot of work for you. 
 

I’m sure listeners will know that you do not seem to have an American accent or a strong American accent. How did you end up in Tucson? 
  

Colin: It’s an interesting story. I’ve been in Tucson for 20 years. January of 2024 will be my 10-year anniversary. And I got married. So I’m from Nottingham in the UK originally and I met someone online. We got married. She was from the United States and wanted to live in England, but after six weeks of it raining nonstop every single day, she burst into tears and said, I want to go home. 
 

And so we then spent the next four years planning on moving back to the States and that’s what we did. It took a little while and downsize the house, and sell the house, but we ended up moving back to her hometown of Tucson. This is where I’m still at. So, we ended up separating and divorcing, and I met someone new and wonderful in my life, and I’m now very happily married once again. 
 

 But that’s how I got to Tucson, and it’s funny, a lot of people back home in England think I sound American, and Americans think I sound Australian. I just have that transatlantic accent. It’s somewhere over Greenland, I think, kind of lost across the Atlantic somewhere. 
  

Brighde: Fantastic. Yeah, I can certainly relate to that. Okay. Your bed and breakfast is completely vegan and, you know, we don’t have, completely vegan accommodations everywhere around the world. So I’m just really pleased that I’m seeing like small hotels and bed and breakfasts pop up around the place. 
 

 Are your clientele mostly vegan? Like, do they seek you out or do people just find you on the booking platforms, and then they’re surprised it’s vegan? How does that work? 
 

Colin: It’s a little bit of both actually. So we find that the vegan clientele finds us out deliberately. They’re searching for vegan bed and breakfasts or vegan hotels. And so they’ll find us. But we’re also on Airbnb and we’re on VRBO. And so those clients tend not to be vegan. And then when they get breakfast from us and they realize, Wait, this wasn’t scrambled egg. 
 

This was a product called Just Egg. It opens a doorway to conversation and we have some reading materials in the bedroom area. So we have some books like the Main Street Vegan Academy book. We have some cookbooks in there and we have the Chinese study in there. So a lot of the scientific things, Dr. Greger’s, How Not to Die is in there. And then we get the Veg News Magazine. So when we read it, we put that in the bed and breakfast too. The Good Medicine Guide from PCRM. So we put some reading materials out in there as well, but it really does open up a conversation. So it’s about 50/50, and I would say that we love it when vegans come and visit us. 
 
Absolutely. We’re happy to provide that safe space for them, but it’s really exciting for us when nonvegans come to stay because it allows that conversation to take place and it exposes them. Wait, those cupcakes were vegan? Those cookies were vegan? That burrito was vegan? Those pancakes were vegan? 
  

Oh my gosh, like, who knew that that was even possible? I can still have my comfort foods and be vegan? So it encourages other people to look at the alternatives. That’s what I’m really pleased about. And, and Tucson is slowly developing a vegan food scene. So that’s really exciting too. So when the vegans come and visit, we always advise where they can go eat very safely, where they can shop safely. 
 

But it’s also good for those nonvegans as well, because we’ll leave menus, for example, in the guest suite and we’ll advise people, Hey, if you haven’t been to Love and Spoonfuls, you should check that out. If you haven’t been to the Midtown Vegan Deli, you should absolutely check it out. And our Midtown Vegan Deli offers a 10 percent discount if you’re a meat eater and you go tell them, I’m trying this for the first time, they’ll give you a 10 percent discount. So, we work hand in hand with a vegan daily sometimes. It’s exciting to see that mixture of clientele and to serve both vegans and nonvegans alike. 
 

Brighde: I absolutely love that. That’s something I was thinking about when you were telling me that. I wonder whether it could possibly negatively impact your reviews. Let me explain. I follow some vegan travel pages and I was excited to see that a Small hotel in England. I think it’s called Beck Hall. Maybe you saw this. I think it went a little bit viral, but I think it’s owned by some people who went vegan a while ago and they decided to completely transition to vegan, having been like vegan friendly, they transitioned to vegan to align with their values, I guess, and that sounds so lovely and they did like a big announcement on their social media and there were a lot of very positive, remarks and comments, you know, I’m guessing mainly from vegans, who were really excited about this possibility, because there are no vegan hotels in the UK, until this one. 
 

But then there were a lot of, like, former guests who were not vegan, and they were really, really upset that they were going vegan. So, the question I have is, have you had any negative comments from people saying, well, if we’d known that this was a vegan place and we were getting a vegan breakfast, we never would have come here. Something like that. 
 

Colin: We haven’t, I mean, we’re very fortunate that we haven’t had any backlash like that or any negative comments. And we tend to use the word plant-based or the phrase plant-based instead of the word vegan. So we have lots of conversations about that with people and we tend to explain the difference. So for example, on our social media and on our website, we tend to use the phrase plant-based because we do nutritional coaching as well. 
 

And so we’ll talk about plant-based nutrition. We’ll talk about enhancing a plant-based diet and lifestyle because I’ve been vegan for, holy moly, since 2010, and I was vegetarian for 18 years prior to that. So it’s been 30 years since I last ate meat. But I’ve learned over the years that the word vegan really sticks in people’s craw sometimes, you know, and so they feel very threatened by the word vegan. 
  

And so I am an ethical vegan. That was how I started. But now I realize the health benefits, the environmental benefits. So that’s all great. My husband is in it definitely for his health. I mean, that’s his primary cause. He’s getting there with animal rights too. So I’m very proud of that. But, a lot of people are looking at plant-based more for their health. So when somebody explains to us, well, I’m looking to increase my health, I’m looking to save the environment, it depends on whether we use the word vegan or the phrase plant-based.
 
 Brighde: Got it. 
 

Colin: And so we say that on a menu, our food is plant-based and, um, we’ve been very careful with that. So far it’s worked pretty well for us. 
 

Brighde: Fantastic. I’m really pleased for you. I felt so bad for this hotel that was getting a lot of kickback for making this transition, but I also know they got a lot of great press as well for going vegan and so many people in England were so excited about it. So I hope it works out for that particular place. 
 

It’s Beck Hall for anyone who’s interested in checking that out. Okay, so I have never been to Tucson before. I’m aware it’s in Arizona. I’m aware it’s a big city, but what are the big draw cards for people to come to Tucson? I’m guessing a lot of people would come for a business trip or for work, but we want to talk about travel for leisure reasons on this podcast. So why don’t you tell us what is the reason why people would come to Tucson? 
 

Colin: Tucson is a great destination. So we’re in the southern part of Arizona. We’re only 70 miles north of Mexico. So we are in the heart of the Sonoran Desert, which is a very unique type of desert. There’s only one area of the world, and that’s here. And when you think back to the cartoons we all saw as kids, and whenever there were Cowboys or deserts. We saw those great big saguaro cactus. This is the only desert in the world where those grow. So you’ll see those everywhere. Tucson has an average of 300 days of sunshine a year, which is why I’m here. So we do have a rainy season. We have a monsoon season in the summer. July through August is a rainy season, but otherwise it’s pretty dry. 
 

Typically less than 10 percent humidity and wall-to-wall sunshine. So, You know, today I’m looking out my window here and I just see a clear blue sky and sunshine. So even in winter, January averages about 20 Celsius or about 70 Fahrenheit during the day. It can get down to freezing at night, but not very often. But typically it’s about 70 Fahrenheit, 20 Celsius, even in the winter. The summer can get a little warm. We can go up to almost 35 Celsius or about 112, 115 Fahrenheit during the day. So if you love the heat, come in the summer. If you like the mild stuff, come in the winter. But a ton of outdoor activities. 
 

Tucson is surrounded on all four sides by mountain ranges. So there are a ton of hikes. We have some lakes in town. My husband and I go paddle boarding in town. So you don’t tend to think of Tucson in the desert as having lakes, but we do. There are some big lakes in Southern Arizona. We have Sabino Canyon, about 20 minutes drive from our property. That is a beautiful paved hike. It’s three miles up to the top of the canyon and back down. There’s a tram that runs up and down if you don’t want to hike it, but there’s a ton of hiking trails if you do.  
 

You can go to the highest point in Southern Arizona within an hour of here to Mount Lemmon. What’s cool about Mount Lemmon is you start on the desert floor and you go all the way up to Alpine. So you get the alpine forest up there, you get the log cabins up there, and for the winter visitors, we have the most southerly ski resort in the continental US. So Mount Lemmon has its own ski resort and it does get snow. That’s where personally I like to see the snow is on the mountain, not down here on the desert floor. I can look at it and think it’s super pretty. But we do have a ski resort that does operate throughout the winter. We have the Biosphere 2, it’s all under glass. It’s like a contained environmental study and University of Arizona have owned that and run experiments through there. 
  

We have the Sonora Desert Museum. We have the Pima Air and Space Museum. There is a ton of stuff to do here. The downtown area has really been rejuvenated over the last five to ten years. Tucson is quite the foodie scene right now, so there are a ton of restaurants. We have some completely vegan restaurants, and we have some other amazing restaurants that offer great vegan options, very vegan-friendly. 
  

The servers are very knowledgeable. And, there’s a Tucson foodie website. They have their own vegan correspondent. So, Death Free Foodie, we follow her on social media. She’s stayed with Our Bed and Breakfast several times and she’s featured us. She’s going to be coming back and doing another interview to feature us again on social media. 
 

But she writes a whole vegan column. For the Tucson area, new restaurants, and new things to try. We have vegan night markets three or four times a year here. We have a couple of veg fests, so it’s an upcoming vegan scene. There’s just a ton of stuff to do here, especially if you like the outdoors.  
  

It’s a big golfing destination. We have multiple golf courses in the area. There’s the Tucson Racket Club if you like to play tennis, and Pickleball is huge around town right now, with lots of outdoor places. Again, because we have so much sunshine and it’s so mild, especially during the winter. We do get a lot of winter visitors. We get the snowbirds as we call them, and they’ll flock into town. 
 

Tucson’s population almost doubles in the winter. In February we have the world-famous Gem and Mineral Show and vendors from all around the world bring their crystals and their rocks and their geodes. It’s top-notch and if anyone is ever interested in lapidary or crystals and rocks, Tucson’s the place to be in February. 
 

Brighde: It really does sound like such a unique destination. It really has something for everyone. And I was going to ask you about the snowbirds. I was thinking to myself, I bet a lot of Canadians go down there after Christmas.
 

Colin:  Ya  
 

Brighde: Yeah, it just sounds like such an interesting place and I love this idea of like somewhere mild to go in the wintertime as well. 
 

Colin: yeah. 
 

Brighde: Something I’m curious about is, maybe you mentioned it or I missed it, but how far are you from the town? Like, do you need a car in order to get to where you are? 
 

Colin: Yeah, ideally, it’s pretty easy to get to the downtown area. It’s about 20-25 minutes, but it is a straight shot. So, there’s the AZ 210. It’s almost like a mini freeway that skirts along the southern part of the city. So, from us, to get to the downtown area, it’s about 20 to 25 minutes, depending on traffic. 
 

There are several social events that we go to, and a lot of them are downtown. But, as I said, it’s about 20 minutes to downtown. It’s about 20 to 25 minutes from Tucson Airport. Again, that’s a straight shot because the airport is on the south side of town too. If you wanted to go up to the capital of Arizona, Phoenix, it’s just a two-hour drive from Tucson. 
 

 If you want to go visit Tombstone, the old shootout of the O.K. Corral that happened in Tombstone, Arizona. That’s an hour southeast of us. Benson and Willcox are all pretty close as well. And as I said before, we’re only 70 miles away from Mexico. So if you wanted to go to Mexico for the day, you could go to Nogales. That’s just about an hour’s drive south of us as well. 
 

So very, ideally located. There are some wineries in the area too, if people are interested in wine. They do wine tasting. We have a couple of animal sanctuaries in town, that I’ve been to that are very cute, especially if you’ve got kids and you want to go see the pot-bellied pigs or the goats and the horses that are being rescued. 
 

So we have some good options in town and very centrally located. Although we’re very quietly located, everything is pretty easy to get to with the vehicle, for sure.  
 

Brighde: I’m wondering if maybe you have many cyclists coming to you? 
 

Colin: We do. Yes, I’m glad you mentioned that. There is something called The Loop, which is a big paved path around Tucson. We do have a river. It’s dry most of the year, the Rillito River, but in the monsoon season, it flows like crazy. But there is a paved path along all the washes and the main river, and it’s called The Loop, and it’s 135 miles long. 
 

So. You can walk it, you can run it, you can cycle it, and we have the El Tour de Tucson in November, so it’s just like the Great Bike Race, we have the Tour de Tucson every November, we have the Tucson Marathon as well. So, lots of areas for cyclists, lots of areas for runners, and around the property here there are 100 miles of hiking trails, and there’s also something called Fantasy Island, which is only 10 minutes away. Fantasy Island is for cyclists, off-road cyclists, and mountain bikers. 
 

It’s kind of a set. a bicycle park where they can go and do their mountain biking stuff. Not very brave, I haven’t tried that yet, but I need a crash helmet and knee pads before I even attempt that. But again, lots of, lots of areas for people. We’ve had guests at our bed and breakfast bringing their e-bikes. We are living within less than one mile of the Saguaro National Park East. So you can cycle that. There’s an eight mile loop there with rolling hills and people cycle that. So a lot of guests bring their bikes and they go cycle the Saguaro National Park and then they’ll hit the trails in the loop. So plenty to do here with bikes, yeah. 
  

Brighde: My goodness, this just sounds so interesting. A friend of mine, she was just asking me if I had any ideas for a winter destination because she lives here in Vancouver, British Columbia, and she really wanted a bit of warmth, and I didn’t think of Arizona. I’m gonna message her after this. 
 

Colin: Yeah, for sure. 
 

Brighde: I love it. Okay, so you mentioned that there are lots of really great restaurant options in Tucson, so I’m curious if you wouldn’t mind, sharing some of your favorites, but another thing that I’m curious about as well is if you have any, like, cooking facilities in the Bed and Breakfast, or is it strictly a Bed and Breakfast, maybe a small kitchenette or a kettle or something like that? 
 

Colin: Yeah, so that’s a good question. So there’s a microwave, there’s a fridge freezer in there, there is a coffee pot, and there’s a water dispenser that does hot and cold water, so there’s minimum cooking facilities in there, but if people wanted to bring food back and microwave it or something like that, that’s an option. 
 

We do cooking classes, actually, as part of our coaching business. Then we leverage our own kitchen in the main house, and so we’ve had several guests come and do cooking classes with us and they tie that in with their stay. So it’s kind of a, group discount type thing, you know, it’s kind of a bundle price to do the class and everything, but, but local restaurants, wonderful. 
 

So Midtown Vegan Deli, Tanya, our friend started the Midtown Vegan Deli. It is both a restaurant and a grocery store. So you, absolutely know that from the beer and the wine to the potato chips, to whatever, 100 percent is vegan and the food is amazing, and they do take out, so that is really good too. 
 

Beaut Burger is another great restaurant that’s in the downtown area, 100 percent vegan. Love and Spoonfuls have to be one of my favorites as well, and that’s more in the Midtown area, and it’s gone through two or three owners, and, I have to say, it keeps getting better and better and better, they do a lot of American comfort food, so you want your southern fried chicken steak, and mashed potatoes and gravy, they got you covered, so, that’s a really great place to take non-vegan friends. 
  

So when we have nonvegan friends come into town, they say, where can we go to eat? We always say, let’s go to Love and Spoonfuls. They try something and they’re like, Oh my gosh, this isn’t chicken? This isn’t an egg? This isn’t beef? And so that’s a wonderful restaurant that serves that traditional food that everybody’s comfortable with. That’s a really good option as well. Urban Fresh has really good lunches. They’re open at lunchtime. They’re in the downtown area as well. Tumerico is another big one here in Tucson, they have two locations, and it’s more of a daily special, they don’t have a set menu, so you go and see what’s on the daily special and this has an amazing, great reputation, and as I said, Tucson’s vegan scene is developing. 

We’re now getting the vegan night markets that we’ve had three or four times this year, and it’s overgrown. So, the vegan night market has just grown and grown and grown and it’s reached a point now where they’re having to close off a whole street in the downtown area to have all the 50 vendors plus selling food and their wares and it’s amazing. It is truly an amazing area now.  
  

Brighde: Fifty vendors, that’s incredible! How do people find out about this? Because I’m sure people would want to time their visit for one of these fairs if they can. 
 

Colin: yeah, absolutely. So we’re gonna start posting it on our own website on ranchoveganoaz.Com. We’ll start to post those things under our news area. We’ll post them on our social media and Death Free Foodie is on Instagram, and that is Hannah. And she is the vegan correspondent for the Tucson Foodie website. So look at the Tucson Foodie website, follow death free foodie on Instagram, or look at our own website, and you’ll start to see those dates as they come up. 
 

Brighde: Incredible. As well as having your bed and breakfast, you also offer some vegan lifestyle coaching. You’re certified by Victoria Moran’s Main Street Vegan. It’s a very popular program. I’ve met lots of people who have done it now. So, who are the kinds of people who would sign up for that? 
 

Colin: It’s been an interesting mix of people, actually. So, we’ve had a few people come to us for lifestyle coaching who are already plant based or already vegan. But they just want to develop their knowledge a little bit further. Maybe they’re tired of microwave dinners and they want to learn how to cook something. The last couple who came to see us wanted to learn specifically about tofu and jackfruit. They’d heard this thing called jackfruit and had no idea how to cook it. We’re a little scared to try it and just wanted some guidance on how to prep it, how to spice it, and season it. So they spent about four hours in our kitchen and we did some tofu stuff, some jackfruit stuff. And then we all sat down to eat together over, you know, a glass of vegan wine and had a whale of a time sitting by the pool.  
 

We also have people who are looking at incorporating plant-based options into their diet. So we have a lot of people come to us who say, Oh my gosh, I went to my doctor, my cholesterol was sky high, I’ve got type 1 diabetes or I’m pre-diabetic, I’ve got some heart issues, my doctor’s recommending more plant-based stuff. It’s scary, I don’t know what to do, and there is so much information out there, that people can google it. But it’s overwhelming. And so to be able to have someone who understands it to say, let’s meet you, where you are. That’s our motto. We want to meet people where they are, and we’re not going to shove veganism or ethics down anyone’s throat. 
 

It’s a case of what you want to learn from us. How can we support you in your own journey? So we meet people where they are and we tailor every coaching session directly to what the client needs. So it’s been a good mix of both vegans and non-vegans alike, just for different purposes, but it’s going really well. 
 

Brighde: I’m so thrilled to hear that. That’s fantastic. So being so close to the border with Mexico, I’m curious as to whether you have any good Mexican-influenced food. I’ve become quite interested in this cuisine. Having not spent much time in North America yet, it’s just so tasty and delicious. Are people able to enjoy this cuisine, in Arizona too? 
 

Colin: Oh, absolutely. There is a huge influence of Mexican food here in Southern Arizona. I mean, there are some great Mexican restaurants in town and we probably cook Mexican food two or three times a week, even at home for ourselves. And we kind of bring that into the breakfast too. We do a breakfast-style burrito. We put just egg in there, and we do some fried potatoes, and we put some green chili in there, some jalapenos, and some salsa. So there’s definitely a Southwest twist to the type of food that we offer. And again, with the jackfruit, the last class that we had, cooking class, they wanted jackfruit tacos. 
 

So they wanted a very taco-type seasoning on their jackfruit. But they wanted to really have the texture of pulled pork. They didn’t want it to appear like a plant. They wanted the texture of meat. So we taught them how to cook that in the oven and season it correctly to give it that true Southwest flavor and texture. 
  

So again, they were able to serve that to their friends and their friends had no idea it was jackfruit and that it wasn’t meat. Their friends had no idea until they told them afterward. So that’s great news for us. When a client comes back and says, I serve this at my dinner party and my non-vegan friends had no idea and they loved it, that’s a win for you. 
 

Brighde: It always is, isn’t it? It’s fantastic. So, Colin, this has just been so enlightening. I would love to come and stay. In the future when our little cat Pinky is no longer with us, she’s already quite old, we hope to live a more nomadic life. Seb and I always talk about, like, following the weather and Tucson just sounds absolutely perfect for us in winter time. I’m thrilled that you exist and I’m thrilled to share your place with our audience here. Before we say goodbye, Colin, would you mind telling us how people can find you, book you, and learn more about what you’re doing and your services? 

Colin: Yeah, absolutely, so the best area is our website, so it’s www.ranchoveganoaz.com or AZ. com for our non-American friends. You can give me a call, at 520 390 4107 within the United States, or we have [email protected] as an email address as well. So, feel free to reach out to us if you’ve got any questions about what we offer, you want to check the website out, check out our availability to come stay with us, it’s all there on the website, or drop us a line, we’ll happily get back to you as soon as we can. 
 

Brighde: I love it. Fantastic. Listeners, don’t forget to check out Rancho Vegano. It sounds absolutely amazing. Colin, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with  us today.  
 

Colin: My pleasure. Thank you so much, I appreciate you having me on the podcast, thank you. 

Brighde: You’re welcome.

Book your trip!

Paris to Dordogne Valley: Castles, Caves, and Countryside with Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

From$6,995$6,495

5-12 June, 2025
8 Days, 7 Nights
Group size: 15-26
stay in a private southern France villa
Tons of castles and quaint villages
17,000 year-old prehistoric cave art

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