After a sweaty CrossFit session one day early this summer, my friend turned to me and asked, “Have you been to Juice Press?” When I said that I hadn’t yet, she proceeded to tell me how amazing it is, and that she could eat every possible meal there (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and dessert). For those unfamiliar, Juice Press is a USDA-certified organic, raw, kosher, halal, vegan chain that originated in NYC.
I had forgotten about my friend’s recommendation until I came down with a late summer cold and was craving the energy boost from a healing, nutrient-packed green juice. According to ayurveda, consuming juices and other “cold” raw food dampens and weakens our digestive fire. Generally, I am not big on raw juices where I live (the Northeast of the US) unless it’s the middle of summer and the noontime sun is beating down on me, or I’m visiting someplace tropical where a cooling juice offsets the heat and humidity and puts me in balance and harmony with my environment.
Living out on the east end of Long Island, I visited the Juice Press location on Main Street in Southampton, NY which is open seasonally (April – October). The shop is on the small side, with wall-to-wall refrigerators housing the cold-pressed juices and raw foods. An island in the middle of the store features bite-sized samples of energy bars (Mint Chip, Almond Cacao and Clean Green Protein).
Cold brew coffee is offered on tap and filtered water is available for refilling water bottles in exchange for a donation to the Robin Hood foundation, an organization dedicated to ending poverty in NYC. I sampled the raw oatmeal (a famed Juice Press favorite), which is made from steel cut oats, cashew, date, coconut oil, vanilla and seat salt, topped with berry jam (strawberry, blueberry, agave, raspberry, vanilla, bay leaf) and it tasted like a dessert: sweet, chewy, and delicious. I also purchased a bottle of Mother Earth, a raw juice blend of cucumber, celery, kale, swiss chard, dandelion, parsley, lemon and ginger.
It tasted fresh, nutritious and healing. I also tried the Mother F*#%in’ Fireball, a raw fruit and veggie juice blend of ginger, celery, lemon, apple, cucumber, kale, dandelion, swiss chard, parsley, acerola, cayenne and oil of oregano. To date, this has been my favorite product from Juice Press. The flavors are fresh, vibrant and revitalizing. The cayenne, ginger and oil of oregano added heat, spice and zing to what otherwise may have been too cooling of a juice for my liking.
Juice Press sets itself apart from other juice companies by abstaining from high pressure processing (HPP), which is a method of pasteurization that extends the shelf life of a product by neutralizing molecules that cause juice to spoil faster. The popular Evolution Fresh juices by Starbucks, for example, have a 45-day shelf life thanks to HPP. In contrast, Juice Press prides itself on having an “epically” short shelf life (3 days max for green juices, orange juices, raw oatmeal and raw chia), which the company says speaks to and underscores the freshness and vitality of their products.
I love the concept of fresh juice daily out here on Long Island, but the Juice Press kitchen is located in NYC. I can’t speak for the other locations, but in Southampton there is no dine-in option which means the samples, juices, smoothies, salads, dressings, sandwiches, and desserts all come in plastic to-go containers. Yes, they are BPA-free and recyclable, but I still felt very wasteful walking out with two plastic bottles of juice, two plastic clamshells of raw food and a plastic vial of raw dressing.
In addition to the excess of plastic waste, Juice Press products aren’t made in house at the Southampton location, and I can’t help but worry about the carbon footprint and food miles logged as a result of receiving deliveries of fresh product from NYC daily. Therefore, the verdict on Juice Press for me is while I feel lucky to have über fresh juices at my fingertips, I’ll reserve it for times I’m in need of an acute cold remedy or as an occasional treat.
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