By Jim Servin
As a sommelier, fromager and French Culinary Institute-trained chef based in New York City, Lisa Roberts Hurd lived and ate well. But in 2007, a series of autoimmune disorders, including celiac disease, fibromyalgia and bronchial asthma, compelled the academic foodie (she has a master’s in classical archaeology from Oxford) to take a closer look at her diet. An anti-inflammatory regimen, she realized, could address autoimmune issues. Organic greens would be key to rebalancing and recovery. “I love olive oil and lemon, but you can have only so much of that,” says the founder of the popular wellness consulting platform FOOD.BODY.SOUL, and a guest instructor of culinary nutrition at Stanford University’s BeWell and Healthy Living programs. “You want the ingredients to be elevated a bit. I started experimenting with other flavors.”
In 2008, she met her future wife and co-founder, Kristin Hurd, then a real estate agent facing her own health issues: a congenital cardiac condition for which she underwent open heart surgery at the age of 39. “When someone tells you, ‘You have to have an anti-inflammatory diet,’” says Kristin, “it sounds like the world is completely over.” Together, they created a line of refrigerated, fresh, organic, dairy-free, gluten-free, plant-based dressings and sauces, naming the company Lisa’s 1973 after the co-founder’s birth year, a time of “forward-moving change,” she says. “Roe v. Wade was decided, and significant environmental laws went into effect.”
Playful ’70s-style graphics bring a light touch to the company’s serious missions, posted on its website: “sustainable practices, equality for all, social responsibility, end food insecurity.” The brand’s first dressing, Groovy Zest, a hot honey-lemon sauce, adds zing to salmon and chicken. A second dressing, Disco Spice & Everything Nice, excellent on mango sorbet, blends cilantro and jalapeño. The Thai basil-infused Studio Fifty-Fresh is a favorite of kids and one Manhattan nutritionist, who enjoys it as a soup.
The shift to a plant-focused diet, made more fun with delectable dressings, paid off for the couple. Fifteen years later, they are thriving, living with a 9-year-old son in Litchfield County, Connecticut, vacationing in Southampton (“It’s a magical place that we love year-round,” says Lisa) promoting a digital cookbook series, and developing a line of vinaigrettes that will be released in the next few months. In April, they launch single-serve sachets, “a better for you, on-the-go option,” says Kristin. Lisa’s 1973 is available at Wishbone Farms in Southampton, Provisions in Water Mill, Orchard Grocer in Manhattan, Greene Grape Provisions in Brooklyn, and soon will be expanding to 500 locations on the East Coast, from Portland, Maine, to Palm Beach, Florida. Order online at lisa1973.com.