As the 19th of November approaches and I look back over what we have accomplished these past 2 years, I want to say thank you to our customers, friends & supporter. We’re Still Here! You have helped so much by buying our product, spreading the word, making suggestions, & even volunteering in the urban garden. While it is true that it can be more expensive to offer fresh, organic, natural products…our profit margins are lower than most restaurants so our customers can afford a delicious, healthy product and at the same time support local farmers and sustainable practices. Looking back over the past two years here are some accomplishments and answers to frequent questions.
Green Restaurant Association: It took us a year to attain the Green Restaurant Certification. We are only one of nine in all of Texas and proud of it. While it seemed daunting initially we believe it makes a difference. For example, in one week: we fill 4 large barrels of pulp and compostable cups (straws, lids) that are taken by Brazos Valley Recycling for composting (reuse), we recycle 4-5 large barrels of paper, aluminum, plastic, & glass and a pickup truck bed full of cardboard (we take these to the recycling center across from the Vet school). We use no other trash services. We have no Styrofoam containers, we use LED lighting, and re-usable cloth towels that I take home and wash in an energy efficient washing machine. This alone has allowed us to astronomically reduce our use of paper towels. We use compostable cups, lids, straws, take-out containers, and napkins. Some of these efforts do cost a little more initially but once the system is in place the cost is minimal, and the results are worth it. One reason we wanted to be a certified Green Restaurant was to support our mission of community education and sharing. We want to encourage all businesses, restaurants, cities, universities, schools, and churches, to consider doing anything they can to help the environment. I would be happy to talk to anyone who is interested in learning more. Any food service establishment who makes even minor changes, can make a huge difference for the environment considering the amount of waste we produce (see Famous Chef Mario Batali’s video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftk8W-ybdPg).
Supporting Local Producers: This is very important and yet challenging. Trying to provide organically grown fresh produce on a regular basis to a growing business with little storage space, is a challenge. Since the beginning we have worked closely with Howdy Farms (campus CSA), providing a win-win situation for the Juice Joint, our community and TAMU students. Most of our organic apples, celery, & carrots come from the Farm Patch (Mike & Mark are great), many other fruits, veggies, protein powders, beans, tortillas etc. come from HEB or family owned operations. We buy other items at the Brazos Natural Food Store and frequent as may local businesses as possible. It matters! We’re always interested in working with local producers so please contact me if you are interested in partnering with us 704-6010. We encourage everyone to use more local produce. I applaud all the local restaurants & businesses who support local vendors and producers.
Organic Matters – Using as much organic and local products as possible was a commitment of mine from the beginning. There are very few restaurants or Juice Bars who use any organic produce, yet this is, in my opinion, critical. Organic produce is more expensive (e.g., organic apples $80-100/case, conventional $35/case). But our mission involves more than just profit motive and I felt I could not open a juice bar that claimed to be healthy and not pay attention to organics. Does it matter, in my opinion, yes! All the items on the Environmental Working Groups “dirty dozen” (produce with the most pesticide herbicide residue) are the most popular fruits & vegetables & thus what you are most likely to find in juices and smoothies (salads, vegetarian meals). Apples have been #1 for years, until strawberries took their place this year due to the use of banned chemicals in soil treatment. Apples are sprayed with over 70 different chemicals. Some you can wash/peel off, many you cannot. If I juice a fresh apple, remove the pulp, everything is quickly absorbed by the body (vitamins, minerals, live enzymes, herbicides & pesticides). Who is most vulnerable to these chemicals – the young, the old, women, those on medications, & those with weakened immunity? A second reason organically grown produce matters is the health of the soil. Healthy soils provide healthy produce with the maximum vitamins, minerals, & nutrients. (http://research.ncl.ac.uk/nefg/QOF/page.php?page=1)
continued….see Post 2