IMG_2247.jpg
Strawberry Moon
Seattle's enervated raw juice scene is poised to perk up this month, thanks in part to nutrition-related New Year's resolutions and a pair

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Seattle's Raw Juicers Press Forward

IMG_2247.jpg
Strawberry Moon
Seattle's enervated raw juice scene is poised to perk up this month, thanks in part to nutrition-related New Year's resolutions and a pair of new partnerships between local juice pressers and fitness facilities.

Strawberry Moon, which yoga instructor Sean Dereck last year launched from the Haute Yoga studio in Queen Anne, this weekend started selling its products at Urban Yoga Spa. "They kind of pushed us over the edge," laughs Dereck, who's been trying to grow his company slowly. The juices will soon also be available at Yogabliss on Mercer Island, although Dereck stresses his beverages aren't only for yogis.

Another pressing operation - Juicebox, which sells its juices at La Bete during the restaurant's off-hours -- last week set up a permanent cooler at Lab5Fitness.

"It's kind of a natural fit," co-owner Brandin Myett explains in a video for the Capitol Hill gym. "Fitness and eating well, we kind of believe they go together."

Although juice sales have held steady nationally, with orange juice consumption dropping off significantly between 2006 and 2010, trend watchers believe juice is on the brink of stardom. Starbucks in 2011 acquired Evolution Fresh, which operates four retail juice bars (three of which are located in Seattle) and supplies its cafes with fresh, cold-pressed juices. And last year, Coca-Cola tried to wedge its way into the premium juice market with its new Minute Maid Pure Squeezed line. But juice still isn't a daily preoccupation for health seekers outside of select markets, such as Los Angeles.

"You can't turn a corner" in Los Angeles without bumping into a juice shop, says Dereck, who isn't sure why raw juice has been considerably slower to catch on in Seattle.

"I can't wrap my head around it," he says. "Because our city is so progressive in so many things."

The local yoga scene felt similarly stunted to Dereck when he four years ago moved here from Los Angeles. But "the yoga world has exploded" since, and he anticipates juice appreciation will follow.

"It's food as medicine," Dereck says, touting the healthful properties of burdock, dandelions and beets.

Both Strawberry Moon and Juicebox offer extensive cleanse programs, which Dereck prides himself on customizing according to drinkers' tastes. "I don't like to standardize the process," he says. "If you don't want parsley, but you still want to cleanse, you can write us."

Dereck also routinely cuts dark greens with citrus, an exception he makes to his local-sourcing principle since lemons and limes help balance out the hearty flavors of Washington-grown fennel and kale.

"Eighty percent of something is better than 100 percent of nothing," he says, adding that he eventually hopes to offer an all-local juice which he likens to a blue-plate special.

Although Dereck strongly believes in cleansing, he doesn't dismiss the benefits associated with grabbing a bottle of raw juice from a studio cooler. While a casual drinker misses out on the consultation process, and thus can't be guaranteed a juice without parsley, he or she is still getting "high-nutrient density with low-caloric intake," he explains.

Strawberry Moon juices are packaged in glass bottles, and Dereck envisions expanding the company's home delivery service.

"The way we used to do with milk, we'd like to do it with juice," Dereck says.

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