How a Trek in Nepal Inspired My Juice Business (Smoothie Recipe Included)
Travel does many things to you. In committing to the open path, to the adventure of the unknown, it brings the possibility of opportunity and a liberated mind that can take you anywhere. Our journey took us to the Himalayas and Nepal. This is where our journey into the juicing world began.
My childhood friend Ryan Slater and I had both recently graduated from university. After five years of dreaming up nature scenes while studying painting and planning future cities while studying urban planning we decided to save up and take off to seek mountain scenes and adventure. Nepal was a bubble in our minds bursting with mysticism, magic and mountains.
Fall of 2009, we were on the yak trail, with eager eyes for Himalayan peaks and adventure. On our way around the Annapurna circuit, we got snowed in, in a small mountain town called Manang. Waiting for the storm to pass, we noticed the locals drinking a vibrant orange coloured drink. We soon learned that this drink was made from Seabuckthorn Berries. A small tart tasting berry that grew in high altitude, gave the local community the nutrients their otherwise starchy diet lacked.
From that moment on, our trip became a juice seeking adventure. Seabuckthorn in Nepal, moringa oleifera, sugar cane and turmeric in India, the best king coconuts we've ever had in Sri Lanka. We even met a guy that somehow juiced bananas in New Delhi (still not sure how that worked). Every day, in whatever city we found ourselves exploring, we would frequent the local juice stand. We were seeing the same people over and over again, these street side communities of juicers greeting us juice obsessed foreigners with eager smiles, curious questions, and the most delicious, locally sourced juices.
Flash forward to the Fall of 2010.
Instead of trekking through mountains, we were navigating through starting a food truck in Vancouver, where a pilot program to bring local, organic, and sustainable food options to the streets had just been born. Potential vendors had to vie for certification with the best business plans that met the city's new and innovative regulations. There were over a hundred applications and only fifteen available spots.
Our entry was The Juice Truck, Vancouver's first cold pressed juice business. We wanted to bring that same street side accessibility and street side community that inspired us throughout our travels back home to Vancouver. The process was much like a foodie version of American Idol. Judging Panels. Food tastings (more so drinking "tastings for us). The Street Food Pilot program wanted projects that made local, organic, sustainable integral parts of their businesses.
The steep competition brought hopeful restauranteurs to come up with ethical and creative food menus. Local produce, local free range meats, local food supporting local community and agriculture. This sparked a movement of amazing and sustainable street food options. Much like the markets we visited in Asia, where the smells of street food danced through the aisles of crowded kiosks, Street Food Cities were born in Vancouver, where all of the food trucks would come together for Food Truck Fest. A community of local street food, inspired by global community and food from all over. Indian curries, Korean kimchis, cultural cuisines fusing into a crock pot of new and delicious creations. Street Food in Vancouver is a place where young upcoming chefs are pushing to make their mark, inspired by sourcing local and sustainable food programs.
Three years later, and we launched Vancouver's first bottled juice cleanse program and are onto our way in launching our first store front.
Here is a recipe for one of our most popular Winter Smoothies. I think it's the perfect way to wake up your Valentine.
2 tbs cacao powder
1 shake cinnamon
1/2 tsp raw vanilla
2 tbs hazelnut butter
2 medjool dates
1/2 ripe avocado
1 shake of Himalayan rock salt
fill to 500 ml with almond milk
Mix in blender until smooth.