It isn’t just Popeye who’s eating his spinach these days. And maybe eating isn’t the only verb we should consider when talking nutrition. The health- and fitness-conscious are pounding down the greens in liquid form. According to online food culture tracker Food Republic, juicing represents an estimated $200 million in annual retail sales in the US, not to mention the equally vital home juicer market.
Santa Fe's no exception, with two new juice destinations cropping up in the past year. Modern General (637 Cerrillos Road, 930-5462), a new concept store from Vinaigrette restaurant owner Erin Wade, opened in February. The spring 2015 menu features five juices, five smoothies and two health shots—including the Purple Russian juice, with cabbage, pineapple, fennel and ginger and a turmeric (anti-inflammatory) health shot with orange, honey and cayenne.
Wade says the menu has a chef-driven approach in which taste is valued over nutrition; however, with these ingredients, nutrition is never far afield. "We think incorporating juices and smoothies—the life-giving essence of natural fruits, veggies and herbs—is an easy, delicious and joyful part of a healthy, balanced life," says Wade.
The menu is intentionally streamlined. "Most juice and smoothie bars offer a plethora of options, add-ins and permutations. This is awesome but doesn't really fit with the Modern General ethos, which is about simplifying—eliminating some of the omnipresent tyranny of choice we face nowadays—and 'nothing you don't need,'" says Wade. "So we wanted a more pared-down menu, where each selection is nourishing, nutrient packed and delicious, but not overwhelming."
Wade sources wheatgrass and sprouts—and, seasonally, kale, mustard greens, fresh herbs and radishes—from her Los Portales farm, which also stocks Vinaigrette. As such, she expects to keep the menu agile, inspired by "the cravings of the season and its most abundant produce."
Verde Juice (851 W San Mateo, 780-5151), which opened in November, focuses on creating a nutritionally complete profile. Verde serves cold-pressed juice, which retains all the live enzymes and sensitive micronutrients (such as phytonutrients in leafy green vegetables) of the ingredients. Unlike other cold-pressed juice creators, Verde incorporates the plant fibers into the juice, packing in more nutrition and health benefits.
Its popular Green Goddess drink includes kale, spinach, wheatgrass, chia and pumpkin seeds (omega 3-dense seeds are another Verde hallmark), loading the drink with magnesium, a natural stress reliever and sleep aid. Eastern Roots incorporates fresh turmeric, ginger, carrot, kale and other ingredients considered to possess cancer-fighting agents. The company specializes in cleanses and provides a recommended schedule and delivery, if desired, for the program.
Verde Juice also has several other feel-good qualities: The company reuses its glass bottles, composts its juicing pulp, buys local ingredients that are mostly organic and pays its employees above a living wage. Verde Juice also expects to open a pop-up shop in Collected Works Bookstore this summer.
Longtime health-nut favorite, BODY of Santa Fe café (333 W Cordova Road, 986-0362) features "elixirs" ranging from cleansing drinks to juices. For example, the Master Cleanse includes maple syrup, lemon juice, ginger and cayenne pepper, while the Sunrise juice features orange, apple, carrot, beet, lemon and ginger. The Santa Fe Farmers Market Café Fresh serves a Green Drink made from seasonal ingredients sourced from the market's vendors.
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