Ladles of Love
Virginia Beach-based Soup Love brings high-quality quarts to local markets
Adjacent to Amy Markman’s contemporary Virginia Beach home is an immaculate 150-square-foot commercial chef’s kitchen dedicated to everything Soup Love. Among the industrial fixtures of stainless-steel refrigerators and sterile prep stations are bright pops of color from Markman’s collection of Le Creuset cookware and a smattering of décor in Soup Love’s signature pink hue.
Markman’s journey to becoming one of Coastal Virginia’s most sought-after soup crafters wasn’t exactly planned. Soup Love is the culmination of Markman’s lifelong commitment to the culinary arts which first began in her childhood home. “My dad always had a cast iron pot on the stove [smelling of] garlic and caramelized onions,” remembers Markman. “We made a lot of Matzoh Ball Soup together.”
In 2019, the father-daughter bonding activity blossomed into bonified retirement plan for Markman, who for nearly two decades prior served on the Virginia Beach Rescue Squad and as a respiratory specialist at Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital. “Establishing Soup Love was the perfect way for me to combine my background in medical social work with my passion for giving back to the community,” explains Markman. “I have a fondness for the geriatric community and I know soup does tie in with that, so [things] just happened to come full circle.”
Markman and her staff of three now work around the clock to create healthy, hearty and locally sourced batches of soups. Markman uses her 24-hour bone broths as the stock in many of her soups. “We use stock bones—the neck, back, and all the bones with joins [like] knuckles, feet and wrists—because that’s where the collagen is,” says Markman. “I couldn’t leave my vegetarians and vegans out, so I created a Vegetable Broth [too] with a little bit of hot pepper.”
“There’s no fat in my broth,” she adds. “[Soup Love products] are made without preservatives and [I use] pink Himalayan salt, if I add salt at all. I’m very particular about the quality of the product I sell because it’s a reflection of me.”
To further her mission of giving back to the 757 community, Markman sources nearly all produce and raw materials from local farmers and creators. Her team utilizes local farmers markets as vending space, too. “The farmers markets have been a godsend. They generate revenue, help spread awareness about Soup Love and support the community. Everyone [benefits] from buying local.”
Markman’s attention to detail doesn’t stop with her soups. Every order is packaged with Soup Love swag, pink tissue paper and a handful of treats from Hershey Kisses and lollipops to vegan-friendly candies.
“I really have a passion for this business and have been very humbled for everyone’s support,” says Markman.
Among the Soup Love soups she will have available this fall are a Butternut Squash blended soup and White Bean Tuscan Soup.
A Sampling of Soups
24-Hour Roasted Chicken Bone Broth
Markman’s pilot pint isn’t just a stock, but an elixir that tasty enough to sip on its own. Markman herself takes it straight from the mug. The broth’s savory tastes and immune boosting qualities come from herbs, stock bones, black peppercorns and a host of other seasonings that shine through every bowl.
Chicken and Dumplings
Dubbed by Markman as one of Soup Love’s naughtier soups, the Chicken and Dumplings is a creamier, more tantalizing take on the classic chicken noodle soup. Savor warm shredded chicken, thick noodles and a buttery base brimming with nostalgic aromas.
Each spoonful of this hearty soup is loaded with farm fresh vegetables like yellow squash, zucchini, green beans, corn, edamame and tomato. Markman keeps seasonings to a minimum in this mixture allowing the true harvest taste to surface in every bite.
The 757 is prone to hot fall days. No better way to beat the fleeting heat with a bowl of Soup Love’s chilled gazpacho. A blended soup, the gazpacho boasts a thicker texture and flavors reminiscent of summer salsa including hints of bell pepper, garlic, tomato, onion and jalapeño for an extra bite.
Strictly Southern and loved by Virginians, Soup Love’s Brunswick Stew is one of the company’s top-selling soups. Its Chicken Bone Broth base is dressed up herbs and seasoning, hearty potatoes, fresh corn, celery and the Brunswick staple, lima beans. Markman swaps traditional pulled pork for shredded chicken, too.
You can order Markman’s soup for home delivery at SoupLoveVB.com or shop in-person at the following markets: (Norfolk) Ghent Farmers Market, Talbot Park Farmers Market; (Virginia Beach) Old Beach Farmers Market, King’s Grant Farmers Market, Farmer John’s Market; (Cape Charles) Pearl Market. Retail shops include The Farm Life General Store and B&L Farm Market in Virginia Beach and Norfolk’s Westside Produce & Provisions.