Port Coquitlam juicery squeezes health trend

When Jessica Clark and Callan Morrison need to de-stress from planning their wedding, starting a new business and embarking on another career path, she reaches for a Daydreamin’ while he hits a Homerun.

They’re not cocktails. They’re fresh juices the Port Moody couple have created at their new cold-pressed juicery in Port Coquitlam, called Squish Juicery (squishjuicery.com).

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Their joint venture, which has been open for five months on Lougheed Highway near Shaughnessy Street, is the culmination of a journey that started with an eating disorder Clark wrestled with when she was younger. It then had its lightbulb moment when the couple learned everything they ever needed to know about juice during a happenstance holiday visit to a similar establishment in San Diego.

Clark said she started drinking fresh juices as an easy way to ingest nutrients she wasn’t getting as she tried to sort out her own health issues. Morrison said he has always been attracted to their health benefits.

Those perceived health benefits sparked the boom that have made fresh juices a multi-billion dollar market in North America, according to industry analyst and forecaster Orbis Research, although the recently revamped Canada Food Guide recommends making water the drink of choice while fruits and vegetables should be consumed whole.

After Clark and Morrison returned from their holiday, they embarked on months of trail-and-error research, concocting juice recipes using combinations of fresh fruits and vegetables plunked into a countertop juicer at home. They started with oranges then moved on to creating green juices.

Morrison, who’s also about to start a new gig in commercial real estate, said creating a flavourful, consistent juice requires a careful balancing act of finding just the right proportions and variety of fruit and vegetables.

“There’s more to it than just throwing things into the juicer,” he said.

Their first success was The Intern, a green juice concocted with medium sweet apples, lemon, kale, spinach, ginger and carrots.

Morrison said they went through 20 variations before they got a combination they were happy with, and when they launched it at Port Moody’s first Car-free Day two years ago, it was a hit.

That led them to their quest to turn their passion into a commercial venture, which includes an industrial-sized juicer that can press cases of fruits and vegetables into 30 litres of juice in 30 minutes.

Clark said while cold-pressed juiceries are common in urban centres, they’re a rare sight in the suburbs. But as more people migrate east from Vancouver in search of cheaper living expenses, they’re seeking the city experiences to which they’ve become accustomed. It’s not unlike the growing thirst for craft breweries beyond east Vancouver.

While acknowledging the comparison to craft beer, Clark said juice is the ultimate kid-friendly product.

“If they try it, they like it,” she said. “There is no such thing as a bad fruit or vegetable.”

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