PORTLAND, Maine — Smoothies and juice bars are to 2016 what espresso bars were to 2003. Not entirely new, but taking off and here to stay. While Greater Portland is a far cry from San Diego, where liquid kale in a cup is dispensed from every streetcorner, new concepts abound this spring. They promise health, vibrancy and vitality by the ounce.
At soon-to-launch Maine Juice Co., cold press and organic is the name of the game.
Besides having killer SEO, the newest Biddeford startup is so on trend it hurts. Cold-pressed juice is not in abundance in Maine yet, but the couple, who came across this healthy beverage while honeymooning in Hawaii, hope it goes down smooth.
“We are offering drinks loaded with greens like kale, collards, mint and arugula,” said Tim Nickerson, who adds spices such as turmeric and oregano oil to juices to ratchet up the health. A 2-ounce elixir shot with ginger, honey, lemon and turmeric delivers “astounding health benefits.”
To extract nutrients at their peak, he employs a 2-ton hydraulic press.
“You get 100 percent of the enzymes, it doesn’t oxidize,” said Nickerson, touting the cold-press benefits that svelte celebs like Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen have known about for years.
“It slowly grinds it, cold chops it to a desired consistency. We scoop it out into a mesh bag and the press squeezes the bag to extract the nutrients. It presses all the enzymes out,” said Nickerson, whose wife, Michelle Bozeman of Brunswick, is a co-owner.
Over in Portland’s gentrifying Munjoy Hill, a new smoothie shop is in the works offering similar wholesome health.
Flying Fox Juice, named after the largest bats in the world (which sometimes are called fruit bats), is set to open on Washington Avenue in Portland in June. Birch Hincks, who lives in the neighborhood, is building out her first-floor cafe this spring.
“I’m doing veggie smoothies, nothing too sweet,” said the 32-year-old UMaine grad. “I’m on the commuter route, and the healthier the better.”
The menu, like this snug, reclaimed wood and marble cafe, is handmade and still under development.
The other liquid she’ll carry is 44 North Coffee’s cold brew.
“I’m excited to add to the reawakening of this neighborhood,” she said.
On the other side of the city, Farm Truck Juice is serving up green drinks galore. This worker-owned coop opened quietly in the West End in February, but this spring, expect the spot to be jumping. Founded by Portland restaurateur Walter Loeman, Farm Truck offers fresh-pressed juices made from organic, locally sourced ingredients. The Good Green Almighty, Ready Set Reboot and Float’n in Florida are keeping urbanites aglow.
As consumers become more health-conscious, there’s no telling where these startups may go from here.
“These places are popping up all across the country, but people in Maine are missing out right now,” said Nickerson. “We will partner with local farmers to bring bottles of organic, raw, nutrient-dense juice to the juicy people of Maine.”
Maine Juice Co. launches with a mobile cart in the Pepperell Mill in June where it will sell 2-ounce vitality shots and 8- to 16-ounce juices. The company plans to offer larger sizes and deliver in Greater Portland and eventually to yachts this summer.