THE JUICE IS LOOSE
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Food trends come and go (hopefully bacon will never leave), but every so often an advance in kitchen technology opens up a world of opportunity. Lonnie Atkinson, a Winston-Salem native and mother of two, saw an opportunity nearly 10 years ago while working in California and ended up following through with a dream.
Atkinson is the owner and founder of Village Juice Company. What began as a dream in 2010 has turned into a reality, and she’s excited to share it with everyone who inquires about the lifestyle.
“We have been working on this for over a year, developing recipes and doing all the fine details of putting a business together and putting a kitchen together,” Atkinson said.
In the basement kitchen she operates Village Juice Company out of, Atkinson works alongside her brother and father, who both believe in the health benefits and saw first hand the change it can make in someone’s life.
“In 2008, my mom called and said she had been diagnosed with stage one lung cancer,” Atkinson remembered. She was living in the Bay Area at the time, which is where she developed her palate for juices and raw foods. Prior to receiving that call, though, she had been preaching the raw food and juicing lifestyle to everyone she knew, including her mother. However, it wasn’t until this devastating news that her mother decided to adopt the lifestyle herself.
“I was going to move to New York … but then I moved home to Winston and we put her on a really strict diet, well, her, my dad and I, of all alkaline raw foods. She wanted to prep her body for surgery, so she went on this diet and lost 12 pounds and her cholesterol dropped 100 points,” Atkinson said. “It was amazing.”
Following this series of events, Atkinson moved to New York and began working for some of the raw food companies that were popping up and becoming popular in the Big Apple. She didn’t stay for very long before returning to Winston-Salem where she met her husband, who she said shared an interest in juicing and raw foods.
“Our first emails talking about starting our own business go back as far as 2010, so it’s been a long process that evolved and now it’s starting,” she said.
Village Juice Company is different than your home juicer, and much different than the pasteurized brands being peddled out of supermarkets. Atkinson utilizes a cold press, which creates the purest form of liquid while maintaining the nutrients that often get lost in the heating and cooling.
The cold press process that Atkinson employs for Village Juice Company requires a large industrial grinder, or presser, with a hopper to feed all the fruits and vegetables into. The grinder spins much slower than you kitchen juicers, which keeps the heat from friction low so as to not lose any of the nutrients in the process. From there, the fruit and veggie mash drops into a bag that is pressed at 2000 pounds to squeeze all the juice out. It’s the purest juice you can get from the ingredients, Atkinson said.
But one problem is that because she doesn’t pasteurize her product, she can’t sell wholesale. So, she delivers each bottle herself, door to door, with a smile and a willingness to answer any questions.
“All the nutrients and enzymes are still intact in the product, but everything is alive and therefore deteriorates faster,” she added. “Live juice dies young.”
Village Juice Company is currently offering around nine different flavors, or juices, that sell for $8 each at 16 ounces. The minimum order is five, and the shelf-life of each juice is anywhere from 3-5 days, which makes her supply chain and order of operations perfect for returning and expecting clients. !
To place an order, visit Village Juice Company’s Facebook page searching the company name, or visit www.villagejuicecompany.com, although the website is still under construction.