Juicer squeezes a career out of fresh fruit and veggies | ParkRecord.com

Juicer squeezes a career out of fresh fruit and veggies

It all began in her kitchen, when Anne Portnoy was searching for a way to squeeze a few more fruits and vegetables into her diet. Back then, juicing was a just a hobby.

But things have changed. These days, you can find Portnoy serving up juice for the masses, having capitalized on a hobby turned passion turned career. She recently opened My Liquid Garden, an organic juice shop at 1241 Center Drive at Newpark.

"Everyone has a hard time eating enough vegetables and fruits," Portnoy said. "When I started to do it, I could feel the benefits. It’s like life and energy. When you’re drinking it, you can really feel it. It’s about sharing that and it’s fun when other people can say they’ve had that same experience."

Portnoy first realized she was on to something when others expressed interest in her juicing. Soon after, she began renting the kitchen at Temple Har Shalom and offering a delivery service. While that earned her loyal customers through word of mouth, the business model was imperfect. With limited rental time each week, it was difficult to deliver fresh juice on the same day it was made.

And she also found that people preferred simply picking up juice from a store instead of ordering it beforehand.

"People didn’t want to think 24 hours in advance," Portnoy said. "They wanted to just be able to come in and get juice."

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Now people can do just that. She opened her shop in November, and the customers have followed. She said Park City, full of health-conscious people, is a ripe location to take advantage of a growing organic juice movement that is spreading inland from the coasts.

"I moved from San Francisco, where there’s a juice shop on every corner," she said. "Here, we didn’t have anything quite like it. So there’s a demand for it. I think people in Park City want something like this."

My Liquid Garden offers several kinds of freshly made juice. The menu includes categories such as all-greens, greens plus fruit, citrus and roots. However, not every item is available every day.

"We try to mix it up," Portnoy said. "We’re just trying to see what the customers are wanting."

Growing her business has been a process unlike anything else she’s experienced, Portnoy said. She has spent long hours getting the company off the ground — the juicing process alone takes four to five hours each morning — and she hasn’t always had all the answers along the way. But what she does have is plenty of support.

"It’s been fun to grow my team," she said. "It’s the first time I’ve done this, but it’s great to have the input and the help and the support. We’re all very like-minded. It feels good to grow and share the benefits of organic juice."

The benefits of drinking organic juice, she said, are many. Unlike juice from grocery stores, which has been pasteurized and treated, killing many of the vitamins and enzymes found in the fruits or vegetables in the process, My Liquid Garden’s juices are rich in nutritional value.

"We don’t do anything. We just juice it, bottle it and then you drink it," Portnoy said. "You don’t have to be a scientist or a nutritionist. Everybody knows — I mean, their intuition tells them fruits and veggies are good for them."

Portnoy has plans to expand in the future. The Park City location would be My Liquid Garden’s hub, with several kiosks located throughout the state. And as her company continues to grow, she hopes that so, too, do her passion and knowledge of the art of juicing.

"I don’t consider myself an expert at any of it," she said. "You can read books and whatever. But I sometimes feel like we’re overloaded on info, so I never put pressure on myself to know everything. But I have learned a ton and I want to always keep learning."

My Liquid Garden

1241 Center Drive