Since we opened, we’ve been committed to using the freshest local ingredients in our pizzas, salads, antipasti and cocktails. In our latest collaboration with the Vermont Juice Company, we’ve taken our commitment to freshness a step further, by introducing their cold-pressed juice concoctions to our craft cocktail program.
We sat down for a chat with Vermont Juice Company’s owner, Hannah George, and talked about their exciting young company and the many beneﬁts of cold-pressed juice.
Pizzeria Verità: How did you initially become interested in juicing and how did that inﬂuence where you are today?
Hannah: I’ve been interested in health and wellness for years. I grew up in a health-focused family, so it was always kind of natural to me to tend to want to eat healthy food. When I started juicing ten years ago I just fell in love with it, and it’s been something I’ve done since.
The way the business came about was I was living in Minnesota and was introduced to the concept of cold-pressed juicing, which was a bit different than what I was used to. It’s a method where the pulp is pressed, rather than spun, and it yields a smoother, much more nutrient-dense juice.
The difference was incredible and I fell so in love with cold-pressed juice that I wanted to do something with it. I’m from Vermont and thought it would be a great way to get back to where my family is. Burlington is a great community for health and wellness and didn’t have cold-pressed juice yet, so I was inspired to come back and start the juice business here and bring cold-pressed juice to Burlington.
Pizzeria Verità: Can you describe what goes on in that cold-pressing process?
Hannah: The cold-pressed process is the optimal method for juicing, because it’s a very slow process that uses thousands of pounds of pressure – rather than a fast-paced, spinning motion, which generates heat. The lack of heat and the lack of the extra oxygen being sucked in by the spinning motion allows for the nutrients and the raw, live enzymes to stay intact – because heat and oxygen kill off all those enzymes. It gives you a juice that’s much higher in nutrients. Also, because it’s a slower process, we can bottle it and the nutrients in the bottles stay intact for up to three or four days.
I think the biggest difference is in the texture of the juice – it’s a really smooth juice, it’s strained very efficiently with the press, and we’re able to pack pounds of produce into a bottle – so in a 16 ounce bottle there’s at least two pounds of produce in there.
Pizzeria Verità: How do you create the various combinations of juices – is it by flavor or is it for the health effects of the ingredients?
Hannah: That’s a great question, it’s a little bit of both. It’s function and flavor. Sometimes it’s a little more function, sometimes it’s more based on flavor, and it’s always a combination of both in some way. So if it’s a really heavy green juice, where we’re focusing on all those nutrients, we want to make sure there’s the right balance of ingredients in it to taste appealing. Sometimes green juice can be a little intense for some people. We want to make the juices taste approachable.
The way we built our core menu was to be able to drink our juices in a cleanse package, where you’re drinking six juices a day for a period of time, so we really wanted those core six juices that you’re getting to be a really good balance and representation of nutrients, of a whole spectrum of nutrients. So that’s the gist of where we came up with a lot of our juices – we want a variety of produce, root vegetables, leafy greens, fruits, just whatever you can think of.
Pizzeria Verità: What are some things you’ve learned since opening?
Hannah: One simple thing I’ve learned is just listening to your customers. We had a set juice menu when we opened and we had set ingredients, set flavors, recipes. We got a lot of feedback from customers and little things like, “this one has way too much celery” – things we would hear frequently enough that it was worth reevaluating the flavor and tweaking it a bit so it would taste better.
Pizzeria Verità: What’s next for the Vermont Juice Company?
Hannah: We are always excited for any collaborations. This Pizzeria Verità collaboration has been an awesome starting point for that – it’s so exciting to work with other businesses and we’re always looking for those opportunities. Along those same lines, we’ve got something in the works with a beer company that hopefully works out in the near future. We’re also excited to expand to other places in Vermont, have some other locations, maybe in southern Vermont.
Pizzeria Verità: In terms of pairing your juices with our cocktail program, what do you think the effects of your healthy juice will be when they’re combined with spirits?
That’s another good question! I honestly think that you will be getting some vitamins and minerals in the juices, so maybe the hangover won’t be as bad the next day! I really think so, because you are depleted of these things – that’s part of what a hangover is – so replenishing those, we get a lot of people coming down here for a hangover cure. Replenishing your nutrients afterwards is key, so if you’re combining the two, I think the after effects won’t be there as strongly!