W ith increasing awareness about food additives and preservatives, health-conscious consumers have been stepping out of the big retail grocery stores to find a larger mix of locally produced goods, made without many of the processes that have made basic nutrition into big business. While farmer’s’ markets have been steadily gaining popularity for their ability to provide local and, often, organically grown produce, there is now more reason than ever to expand the grocery list and realize that area markets now offer quality products for your drinking glass as well as your plate. Two area beverage producers are proving that there is a demand for high-level, healthy beverages in the mid-South.
The Juice Nashville After repeated trips to doctor’s offices trying to figure out why her health seemed to be in decline, Stephanie Waring decided to take advice given to her by her brother Steve over the phone from his home in California. He had become quite involved with juicing as part of his everyday nutrition and said it made him feel better. Since doctors had not been able to give a solid diagnosis, Stephanie decided juicing was worth a shot. After all, she had feared everything from lupus to cancer over the months leading up to this point, and was ready to try anything to get her energy and sense of well being back. As it turned out, juicing made all the difference in the world.
Stephanie had a background in the food business, working for industry giants like Nestle, Pepsi, and most recently, Mars. Her juicing revelation had such an impact on her that she decided to pursue it as a career.
“I was making great money at my job,” Waring says. “I was basically living the American dream, but I was feeling empty inside about it.”
Stephanie’s husband, Wes, stayed on at Mars while she invested in the equipment to begin a small juicing operation. She insisted on doing it the right way, using a hydraulic cold press that would produce an unpasteurized, raw juice product with no additives whatsoever. The Juice Nashville was officially born.
Stephanie began making 40 bottles of juice twice per week to sell at farmer’s’ markets and was pleasantly surprised to find that she would sell out every single time. Fast-forward 18 months, and The Juice Nashville is booming!. Wes has since left his position at Mars and now runs the mobile juice kitchen full time. And production at Tennessee’s only cold-press juicery has grown considerably.
“We’ve gone from 40 bottles twice per week to 500 bottles per day Monday through Friday,” Waring says. “We also do home and office delivery Monday through Thursday.” Products range from the tangy “c ya” juice, made from fresh oranges, grapefruit, apples, and ginger, to the delightfully surprising pop of the greener juices, like “ting,” that come from pressed spinach, celery, green apples, and lime. The product line offers individual juice bottles as well as cleansing packages to flood your body with nutrients---three to five times more nutrients than juices you might find in the grocery store..
Consumers interested in trying the products can find them at three farmer's’ markets in the greater Nashville area, including the West End Farmer’s’ Market, 12-South Farmer’s’ Market, and the Franklin Farmer’s’ Market. Online ordering is available at thejuicenashville.com, and the company will open its first retail location in June in The Gulch near downtown Nashville.
JD Country Milk Fifteen years ago, Willis and Edna Schrock lived in Central Illinois, where Willis drove a truck for a dairy farm, delivering milk. They were also experienced dairy farmers who decided to relocate to Logan County, Kentucky, and begin producing dairy products that they felt were processed the “right way,” as opposed to via the methods used by what is often referred to as “Big Dairy.”
The Schrock’s partnered with a Louisville company in 2006, but decided to go with their own name - JD Country Milk- a short time later. “J” and “D,” by the way, are the first and middle initials of all eight of the Schrock children.
Typical milk producers heat milk through a process known as pasteurization. The process heats the product to 170 or 180 degrees Fahrenheit, which Edna Schrock says is not necessary and is certainly detrimental to the finished product.
“The biggest difference in our milk is the processing,” she explains. “Housewives in the 1950s decided they didn’t want to have to shake the milk to incorporate the cream back into it. That’s the only reason I can see for heating milk to that temperature. We use low- temperature pasteurization and only heat to 145 degrees. Most milk is heated to 170 or 180 degrees and that destroys a lot of the good stuff in the milk. The fat particles don’t break down and the cream rises to the top of the jar. You won’t find that on your grocery store shelves.”
JD Country Milk comes in a glass bottle, but not for some slick retro vibe or marketing ploy. First and foremost, Schrock says, it is for flavor. Second, it’s a bit more planet-friendly. “It tastes better,” she adds. “You don’t get that plastic flavor in your milk, and it also gets colder in the glass. You pay a deposit on the bottle when you buy it, and it is refundable if you return them. Only the little plastic lid gets thrown away.”
The Schrock’s have given up dairy farming and now focus primarily on the product. They use raw milk from nearby Kentucky farms, sold to them by farmers they know personally, so that they can remain confident about what goes into their milk. The vast majority of the herds are Jersey cows, which provide high cream content for the milk and their popular butter products. Edna Schrock says one big surprise in their business venture has been the response from customers who are thrilled to be drinking milk at all.
“We’ve had many people who are lactose- intolerant tell us that our milk is the only kind they’ve ever had that they were able to drink without a problem,” she says.
The all-natural, hormone- and antibiotic- free product is gaining traction in the Nashville market. Consumers looking for quality dairy products can find JD Country Milk at the Nashville Farmer’s’ Market downtown every Saturday from 8:30 a.m. until noon, and on Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Vanderbilt’s farmer’s’ market. JD Country Milk plans to expand to East Nashville’s market this summer.