Micro-juicery coming to Santa Fe
Two things that I've never jumped on the band wagon with are hating Mondays and drinking cold-pressed juice. Mondays just aren't that bad – and I've just never understood the idea of cold-pressed juice. Isn't juice just juice? A juice by any other name would taste as sweet...
When I walked into the Santafe.com office on Monday morning, I noticed the tiniest ice cooler I've ever seen sitting on my desk. The cooler was decorated with a simple "Verde" logo across the front.
Here was a reason why I don't hate Mondays: I don't think about work all weekend and when I return to the office, there's promotional stuff sitting on my desk. Surprises are great, but food and drink samples take the cake. Or, well, maybe not cake – considering the tiny cooler was full of bright pink and green cold-pressed juices. There sat four seductively healthy looking bottles of fresh juice, complete with handwritten time stamps indicating they were pressed just hours earlier.
Until this morning, I've failed to educate myself on what "cold-pressed" anything actually means. With a little research, I discovered that many juices are produced in machines with fast-spinning metal blades, which generate heat. This heat has been said to break down nutrients in fruits and vegetables. According to a sleek media packet that accompanied the juice, cold-pressed juice preserves those nutrients by gently grinding the produce then pressing the liquid out of the pulp.
So back to Verde Juice Company – I feel healthy just typing the name. Until now, Verde Juice Company's menu of cold-pressed juice blends has been limited to delivery sales to private clients, according to the release. But come fall (the release wasn't more specific), the micro-juicery is opening a store front amidst the backdrop of yoga and fitness studios lining San Mateo Road, according to the press release.
Santa Feans with a taste for fruits and vegetables in liquid form are in for a treat. First off, I'm hard-pressed to find anything that doesn't sound delicious on a menu that ranges from summery melon coconut water to an almond chai, all made from scratch.
But back to my little cooler and its four sleek 15 oz. canning jars containing brightly-colored juice. This was a lot of juice, and while I was tempted to drink all the bottled health and goodness myself I knew I was going to need help. My editor Todd – a Santa Fean familiar with, but also skeptical of, many health food trends – grabbed a glass and joined the taste test.
The first juice glowed with a bright magenta color and sported the name Apple Cleanse. It seems relatively straightforward with a short list of ingredients, including cucumber, apple, beet, celery, wheat grass and lemon. Todd and I gushed about our mutual love of beets, but were both pleasantly surprised that the juice was not dominated by earthy beet taste. The drink offered a tasty balance between apple and beet flavors, with cucumber and celery undertones serving as refreshing complements to the flavor.
The verdict: Apple Cleanse is amazingly well-balanced; sweet, not bitter and certainly healthy.
Second, was the opaque green drink with the enticing name Eastern Roots. Out of all the juices, this elixir took me most by surprise. Boasting a list of ingredients like carrot, apple, spinach, kale, parsley, ginger, turmeric, almonds, lemon and spices, this juice came across as the most "out there." For one thing, I'm not a fan of carrot juice but similar to Apple Cleanse, the flavors were so balanced and well-blended that Eastern Roots emerged as both a light and refreshing drink and one with serious substance. The almonds gave the drink a thicker consistency than the other juices, but it was a consistency that went down well with subtle hints of cinnamon and nutmeg flavors. Todd said he enjoyed the delightful interplay between the carrots and the ginger. We both agree that the flavor is complex but not overpowering – it almost grew better with every sip, no small feat.
The verdict: Eastern Roots offers a complex, hearty but not overwhelming experience. No diminishing returns here: The last taste is just as good, if not more interesting and better, than the first.
Up next was the electric green Spring Green. The color matches the tropical list of ingredients: cucumber, apple, orange, spinach, kale, pineapple, parsley, grape, almonds and lemon. Pineapple, orange and grape added a tart sweetness that mellows the greens taste of the kale and spinach. This tropical juice packs a hearty punch and Todd and I disagreed on the best time of day to imbibe this concoction. Todd said this drink would make a good afternoon pick-me-up but I think something this citrusy and sweet would be for the morning.
The verdict: Spring Green proves that sweet can have substance. This is a tropical way to get your kids to love healthy greens.
Cups clean and ready for the fourth juice, Todd and I prep ourselves for the last fruit and veggie loaded mix. Hydrating Sweetness is a healthy vibrant green color and boasts a combination of apple, cucumber, spinach, kale, carrot, celery, parsley, lemon and chia seeds. Despite the major cucumber scent, the fruit dominates this juice. I can imagine preferring the sweet and citrus flavor of this juice over lemonade on a hot afternoon.
The verdict: Hydrating Sweetness is an effervescent citrusy drink secretly packed with chia protein. This juice could stand alone as a post-workout snack.
No juice-tasting would be complete without the input of Tess Curran, our receptionist and resident health food nut. After tasting all four juices, Tess remarked: "I've never tasted such good combinations. The ingredients don't overpower one another. They're very well combined."
These aren't chunky health smoothies. Each beverage is around 98% juice, making the consistency light and smooth to drink. Overall, I'm impressed. If they keep creating juice of this caliber, Verde Juice Company can look forward to garnering a loyal following of current juice nuts and perhaps converting a few. I'm now one of them.
If I ever do start hating Mondays, at least I know I could just pick up a fresh cold-pressed juice while I ride to work on my new health food bandwagon.
Verde Juice Company is launching a crowd funding campaign to finance the purchase of more glass bottles, develop a composting program and help finish building the commercial space. "We are committed to being a zero-waste business model," the campaign notes. Hosted on Indiegogo, cold-pressed juice fans can support the new business by placing presale orders with as much as a 60-percent discount. Learn more at their website.