When one thinks of places where pressed organic juice companies are growing rapidly, New York and California are the two immediate choices that come to mind.
Yet, juice entrepreneur Lisa Reed is demonstrating that Ohio needs to be on that list as well. Yes, Ohio.
“I never doubted that people in Ohio would ‘get’ pressed organic juice,” said Lisa Reed, the founder of Garden of Flavor said. “It was just a matter of educating consumers and making it available to them.”
Her conviction was driven by the simple fact that organic was the right, and only, thing that people should be putting into their bodies. Once they knew the truth, the business side of things would take care of itself.
Interestingly, it was when Lisa Reed closed her small retail location in Chagrin Falls – to focus on wholesale – that things really began to take off. Yet, there was one unforeseen hiccup along the way: regulations.
Her entire business plan was thrown for a real loop when a health inspector informed her that all deliveries of juice in the state of Ohio must be pasteurized.
As fate would have it, a friend of hers informed her that Starbucks was now shipping its pressed juices nationwide via a cold-process technology High Pressure Processing technology, or HPP.
So, she made the trek down to Ohio State University to pay a call to Professor Bala Balasubramaniam, an expert in food technology and HPP, who assured her that this was a very viable method of achieving the five log reduction required by the FDA, while extending the shelf life and maintaining high amounts of minerals, enzymes and nutrients in the juice. (Pasteurization uses heat and HPP uses pressure, thereby having a different impact on the molecules in the juice.)
With HPP now the answer to her problem, Lisa could focus on building distribution.
The big break came when the buyer at an Ohio natural grocery chain, Heinen’s, took a chance. The juices proved to be so successful that they are now sold in six of Heinen’s locations, and another natural supermarket, Mustard Seed Market & Cafe, put them into their two stores as well.
If you want to know just how strong business her business is now, ask her about the company’s Facebook page.
“Facebook? I don’t even know what our page is. I think we have something like 14 fans,” she said laughing uncontrollably.
This Cornell-trained nutritionist is so busy trying keep up with demand, that paying attention to the world’s most important social media network is afterthought.
As Garden of Flavor continues to flourish, Lisa Reed remains committed to her unwavering belief in organic.
And it is the people of Ohio who are the true beneficiaries.