Janet Egelston-Cichy, owner of the Northampton Brewery, lights up when she says, “I love that we’re able to be a part of people’s lives through different stages—we help them celebrate births, engagements, weddings—and even when people pass away, we are here to give them a place to gather, too.”Read More
When most people picture a glass of wine, they usually think of a red or white variety made from grapes. But for husband-wife team Paul and Leslie Cameron, making wine is a whole lot more than fermenting crushed vine fruit. The wines they produce at Cameron’s Winery in Northfield are made from a diverse range of fruits and other ingredients, many of which are sourced from local farms. The wines themselves are sweet, often balanced with a mild tartness.Read More
A Juicy New Business
Story by Samantha Marsh | Photo by Dominic Perri
Alli Messenger, owner of Blake Orchard Juicery in Wilbraham, did not start her college career with the thought that she might one day own a juicery. She was always interested in nutrition, but it was after watching the documentary Forks Over Knives that Alli truly changed her views on food and began to learn more about the benefits of raw foods and juicing.
“I wanted to offer something to people that was healthy and nutritious,” Alli says. Blake Orchard Juicery began as a way to offer a healthy product to people that would make them feel their best. A Longmeadow native, Alli decided to launch the juicery close to her home and to the Valley’s plethora of local farms and produce. After extensive research on nutrition, the purchase of a Press Right hydraulic juice press, and a secured rental kitchen on the property of Rice Fruit Farm in Wilbraham, Blake Orchard Juicery was born.
A one-woman show for now, Blake Orchard Juicery offers seven types of organic juices and two homemade types of organic almond “mylks.” The juices are available for home delivery and are also sold at area farmers’ markets.
“I hope to expand my home delivery service,” Alli says. Home delivery is a great option for those who want to try drinking fresh raw juices, but are intimidated by the process. Due to Blake Orchard’s juicing process, the juices last for up to three days in the refrigerator, so people are able to order juices just a couple times a week and have enough for the whole week.
“My juices are cold pressed,” she says, “which is a two-step process that requires no heat or oxygen.” According to Alli, cold pressed juices typically have five to seven times more nutrients than juices pressed using other processes, and result in a smoother, denser product. Cold pressed juices use more of the fruit, and therefore have a higher yield and less waste.
Alli makes juices that are based on the effect they will have on energy and health, but also have flavors that go well together and taste great. Her three green juices, “The Insomniac,” “Iron Man,” and “Skin Cleanser,” are some of her most popular. Through she hesitates to pick a favorite juice herself, Alli says she is partial to “Glow,” which combines carrot and ginger juice.
Alli sources most of her produce from Red Fire Farm in Granby or the Berkshire Co-op in Great Barrington. Her kitchen is equipped with two commercial juicers, a Vitamix, and bottling supplies and is located inside Rice Fruit Farm, a local farm store dating back to 1893 that opened its doors again in April. A small-but-mighty operation, Blake Orchard Juicery is filling glasses throughout the Pioneer Valley.
Blake Orchard Juicery juices are sold at Rice Fruit Farm and will be at several farmers markets this summer. Check BlakeOrchardJuicery.com for details.