FARM TO TABLE By Tyler F. Thigpen
Juicing’s health benefits lead to a proliferation of sellers in the Lafayette market.
Aug. 1, 2014
The natural foods world is in the midst of a juice revolution. The proven health benefits of juicing raw vegetables, fruits, greens, herbs and other natural products have people throughout the US embracing the relatively new trend. It’s no wonder since associated improvements in health include better mental and psychological fitness as well as weight loss, lowered cholesterol, more restful sleep and many, many more.
|Photo by Kari Walker|
The juicing rage, which is quickly gaining traction in South Louisiana, primarily involves raw, whole produce, which is different from “traditional” smoothies and similar yogurt-based drinks. In New Orleans, juice bars like Superfood Bar and others have opened in the city, while the Big Squeezy recently opened in Baton Rouge.
Luckily, the times they are a-changing in Lafayette as well. The Beet, a cold-pressed juicery, opened July 17 on Kaliste Saloom Road serving organic, cold pressed juices and smoothies made with local ingredients sourced from Market Basket of Youngsville, Gotreaux Family Farms (both can be found selling at Hub City Farmer’s Market) and more. Soon, Evolve, an artisan juicery, will also grow from a farmer’s market-based venture to a south Lafayette storefront.
“We started in December and the market was cold, so people weren’t buying juice,” says Melodie McMath, founder/owner/operator of Evolve. “I created a raw, dairy free, sugar free hot chocolate with nuts, dates, and raw cacao powder and people bought that and that product really allowed us to gain some traction and build a customer base. Now we have loyal supporters and we are growing quickly and looking to open a store very soon. The support has been overwhelming and wonderful.”
Evolve was started in December of 2013 when Melodie and her husband, Zack McMath, as well as co-founder Vasavi Veerina, started the business at the Saturday morning Lafayette Farmers and Artisans Market at the Horse Farm. Now, Melodie, Zack and their dog Fitzgerald can be found at the Wednesday night and Saturday morning markets at the Horse Farm and their products can be purchased around town at equally health-conscious businesses like Bibi’s Patisserie and Tea House on Pinhook Road and Xtend Barre Lafayette in River Ranch. Evolve also works with Brick and Spoon, Village Café and others on special menu offerings that are frequently served up at the restaurants.
In addition to Evolve’s mission of providing community members with healthy, fresh juices and other products, the business works to incorporate locally grown foods at every opportunity. Melodie purchases pesticide-free, locally grown produce like bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes and much more from Up To Grow Good and Inglewood Farms, two other businesses that can be found at the Horse Farm Market. She also purchases Mary Mary Markets’ sprouts for custom made concoctions.
Currently, Evolve is focusing on creating and selling juices, smoothies and kombucha, but the business hopes to begin offering raw, healthy meals, vegan treats and desserts when the store opens this fall. Their kickstarter campaign (search “Evolve juice” on kickstarter.com) begins Friday, Aug. 1, as the business looks to the community for support of their new business venture. Eventually, Melodie says she hopes the business will grow into a health center where community members can go for fitness, nutrition and holistic medicine.
“Evolve grew out of an appreciation for how healthy juicing and eating raw can be. My friend was terminally ill with cancer and he was at the end of his treatment with nowhere else to turn. He decided to try Gerson Therapy that works to treat illnesses using raw foods, juice and other non-toxic methods. My friend’s been in remission for 10 years now. I had a similar experience with my skin and noticed a huge difference in my skin after just 12 days of juicing. I know that it works and juicing can be a bridge between Western and Eastern medicine. My goal is to help our community find better health using these natural methods.”
Tyler F. Thigpen is a wetland ecologist, past president of Acadiana Food Circle (www.AcadianaFoodCircle.org) and co-coordinator of Pig & Plough Suppers, a slow foods dinner series celebrating our Louisiana foodways by promoting chef collaborations that feature foods grown and raised in South Louisiana.