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Features

Two Raw Juiceries Pressing Forward Locally

Jill Latham, owner of Vibrant Earth, juicing when she was in her residency to become a registered dietitian.

The Vibrant Earth truck can usually be found outside of Core Power yoga locations throughout Denver.

The juice at Vibrant Earth is made overnight by her staff in a local commercial kitchen and is about 98% organic.

Vibrant Earth offers eight different juice varieties.

Raw pressed juice is taking off nationally, and Denver is home to two standout raw juiceries in Vibrant Earth, complete with a mobile juice truck, and The Juicing Tree in Park Hill. 
Walk into your local natural foods store, and you'll likely find a slew of health-touting, organic, cold-pressed juices that pack a nutritional punch. These juices can be used as a cleanse or integrated into your daily routine -- and companies like Suja and BluePrint have paved the way for this commercially, offering dozens of varieties and an easy path to nutrition and health.
 
At a cost, of course. Cold-pressed juices can run anywhere from eight to ten dollars a piece -- and often brands are able to market their product as "raw" or "organic," even if they aren't. Many products can be marketed as organic, but when a cold-pressed juice is truly raw, an actual warning label needs to be present -- a label that voices the potential health risks posed by drinking unprocessed juices. The juice at Vibrant Earth is made overnight by her staff in a local commercial kitchen and is about 98% organic.
 
Regardless of warning labels, the benefits of raw cold-pressed juice continue to be praised, and can help improve circulation, immune function, skin health, and energy and mood levels. Now, the cold-pressed juice trend is making its mark locally with the Park Hill-based brick-and-mortar Juicing Tree, and with Vibrant Earth, a mobile juice truck that offers delivery service. 
 
The Juicing Tree: Nutrient-dense with a Norwalk juicer
 
Paul Krzystyniak and his wife Leslie sparked the idea for Juicing Tree after Paul took a trip to California, where he drank cold-pressed juice twice a day and was amazed by the benefits. As a nurse, Leslie shared an enthusiasm for the health-enhancing properties of juicing. "There was absolutely no juice like it in Denver -- especially ultra-high quality juice this dense in nutrients made on a Norwalk," says Paul. "Sure, there are a few you can find in the city, but those are all made on centrifugal juicers, which produce about a fifth of the nutrition and have zero shelf life." With a Norwalk juicer, it's possible to press pulp-free juice and receive the highest nutrient content possible.
 
In comparison to brands you might find sold in natural food stores, the small-batch "micro-juicery" aspect of companies like The Juicing Tree can make a very big difference. "Juices like Forager, Suja, BluePrint and Pressery have all been pasteurized -- they're not raw. For any product to be offered on a resellers shelf it must, by law, be pasteurized, and often they're processed using High Pressure Pasteurization," explains Paul. "Our product is truly, completely raw, and we use local ingredients whenever possible. Because of that, our juice has a three- to four-day shelf life versus the processed juices at places like Whole Foods that have a 25- to 30-day shelf life."  
 
Patrons might be getting an all-around better product with local raw juice companies -- blends aren't watered down with excessive apples or cucumbers, instead, they're dense in greens. At Juicing Tree, for about a dollar more than store-bought brands, one can choose from blends like the "Insalata," a blend of celery, chard, cucumber, dill, kale, leek, lemon, red bell pepper, romaine, and spinach; "Tropic Tonic," made with apple, carrot, lemon, ginger, and Thai coconut water; or the "Pink Cadillac," a healthful concoction made with sprouted raw cashew, strawberry, colorado wildflower honey, and himalayan pink sea salt. Cleanse and detox packages are available in one-, three- and five-day packages, but it's just as easy to pick up a few for integration into a normal diet. 
 
Jill Latham, owner of Vibrant Earth, juicing when she was in her residency to become a registered dietitian. Vibrant Earth: Pressed by an expert
 
Jill Latham, Owner of Vibrant Earth, got her start in juicing when she was in her residency to become a registered dietitian in Santa Barbara. Latham had been juicing herself for over eight years -- but as a dietitian, she wanted to make a product that would set her apart from others, and she wanted to be able to take the process that she felt her clients might shy away from into her own hands. 
 
"Now, there are so many of these companies popping up -- I do think it's a detriment that they don't have a lot of the nutrition background. Juicing is so therapeutic for the body, and if you do't understand physiologically how the body functions, it's hard to guide people. I think thats what sets me apart," Latham explains. 
 
After she created a program, she started selling to a few clients and it took off. In Santa Barbara, she even won a "Woman Entrepreneur of the Year" award from the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation, but she looked to the Rockies as a place to grow the business.  
 
"I saw Denver as a market that would be open to this product, and the education about this product," says Latham. "We hydraulic-press everything so there's no heat oxidation, which destroys the nutrients in the juice-then it's bottled immediately."
 
Jill is concerned with the marketing of store-bought juices that might use HPP, too. "HPP is a very controversial type of pasteurization -- I don't think we understand the implications of what that is yet. They say the nutrients remain viable for up to two weeks, but any outside source that causes volatile B vitamins and antioxidants to oxidize makes me question what you're really getting out of them," says Latham. 
 
The juice at Vibrant Earth is made overnight by her staff in a local commercial kitchen. It's fresh, and about 98 percent organic. "There are few things I can't get organic, but whenever I can, I do. We work with local farmers, and Arrow Farms grows all of our leafy greens in hydroponic towers for us." 
 
Latham adds flax oil to her juice, too. "I'm one of the only companies that adds oil to the juice. I add flax oil because  you need fat to absorb fat soluble vitamins, and when you drink a juice that's higher in glucose, you get high spikes in your blood glucose levels. The fat in this oil prevents that and keeps levels down -- it helps moderate absorption, keeps you full and gives drinkers the benefits of Omega 3s."
 
Jill is selling her raw juices a little differently than most: from a mobile truck that can usually be found outside of Core Power yoga locations throughout the city. "I've had the truck for a few weeks, but before I got the truck I really worked on facilitating all of these relationships before I had it. I've been here for three months, and I didn't have any of it when I got here." 
 
The mobile aspect of Vibrant Earth allows curious passerby and yogi's alike to pick up any of her eight varieties of juice, from the densely green "Energy" blend, to the refreshing "Immunity" blend, as well as cleanse packages and superfood smoothies. Vibrant Earth also offers free local home delivery, with drops made at about 6 a.m.
 
Samantha Alviani

Read more articles by Samantha Alviani.

Samantha Alviani is a freelance writer and contributor to Confluence and Westword.
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