Juicing been getting a lot of attention over the last few years. So I was curious about Collar City Hard Pressed, a stand that opened at the Troy Waterfront Farmers' Market during the indoor season this past November. And after trying one of its creations, I was converted. Not only did the juice taste good -- but also you could see exactly what was going into your drink as it was being made.
So I went back to sample more -- and talk with Collar City Hard Pressed owner Jessica Garrity why she started the business, her plans for it, and how she feels about the whole juicing movement.
On this particular Saturday, Collar City Hard Pressed was serving up three different kinds of juice. I tried two of them: "Go for the Green" and "We Got the Beet."
The Go For the Green is made with celery, romaine, cucumber, apple, lemon and spinach. It tastes, in a word, healthy. You can definitely tell it is packed with veggies, but it still has a pleasant and drinkable flavor. My co-taster said it was like souped-up apple juice.
We Got The Beet includes beet, apple, lemon, and ginger. It had a sweet taste, with tangy hints from the ginger. It's my favorite selection so far.
In both recipes you can taste all of the flavors, but the ingredients work well together. Until you get to the very end, the juice has a smooth consistency.
Here's my quick chat with Jessica Garrity:
Why did you start Collar City Hard Pressed?
It's funny because it wasn't something that I thought about for very long or particularly carefully. I found myself basically obsessed with fresh juice and smoothies and was suddenly annoyed that there wasn't a place in my neighborhood where I could get any. I kind of hate leaving my neighborhood on the weekend so just thought it was only fair that we had a juice place here downtown. I also recognized that juicing was a pretty trendy business and thought downtown Troy would be a great place to get to work.
What do you do with all of the juicing waste?
All pulp goes to one my fellow vendors at the farmers market, Mariaville Farms from Delanson. They use the pulp to feed some of their animals. I rarely have produce left over, but if I do, I pass it along to other people at the market who could use it. Troy Compost is also at the market and they helped me out a couple times before Mariaville and I connected.
Personally, what's your perspective on the whole juicing movement?
Ahh. I'm a lover of good, whole, and real foods, and want them available in as many shapes, forms, and places as possible. I think of juice as one of these forms. (I also love a Brown Bag burger once in a while and definitely indulge in Mariaville's bacon on Sunday mornings.)
Food is all about balance to me. Anytime people become obsessed with ONE food and look at it as a miracle or cure all... I think that's a little nuts.
I'm a fan of the juicing movement; meaning juice should be available and incorporated into a healthy balanced diet. Having fresh juice should be an option. I'm not a fan of anything restrictive or that requires you to give up solid food for several days while you exist on some kind of lemon juice cocktail. If there is someone out there that felt great after doing this, more power to them, but I it's not something I could consciously promote or convince people to do. It just seems like a bad idea to me and personally, I would be extremely unhappy and not nice.
Sometimes people ask me about what I eat, or how I eat, and I always go back to the Michael Pollan quote which is old and cliché by now, but always seemed to be the easiest answer to a complicated question: "Eat (real) food... not too much... mostly plants." And not one of them, eat all of them, the good ones.
What are your future plans for CCHP?
To not drop apples onto my first floor neighbors at the market. To start offering bigger to-go containers (people have started bringing small buckets and Tupperware bowls so I figured it's time). And I have some exciting things in the works with other local businesses. I'm mostly planning for the summer market, which I am really looking forward to.
Do you have any plans of opening a retail location?
Yes. Stay tuned.
This interviewed has been edited.
Lauren writes about shopping, crafting, and living well on a small budget at The Thrifty Ginger.
Earlier on AOA: A short tour of Capital Region juice counters (2013)
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