Zach Berman enjoying one of The Juice Truck's creations. Photo credit: The Globe & Mail
If you've walked through Vancouver's historic Gastown neighbourhood at some point in the last three years, chances are you would have noticed the watermelon-coloured food truck at the corner of Water and Abbott Street. The appropriately named The Juice Truck, founded by Zach Berman and Ryan Slater in 2011, is Canada's first juice company to serve up delicious, healthy, cold-pressed fruit and vegetable juices to, well, Canadians. The Juice Truck team is currently expanding into a 5,000 square foot brick and mortar establishment in Vancouver's Mount Pleasant area. Two Birds Apparel had the chance to speak with Zach Berman (recent winner of the BC Business 30 Under 30 Award) about the business of healthy, local and organic juice.
The Juice Truck has a strong message about locally sourced and organically produced fruits and vegetables. Why is this important to you?
Supporting local is hugely important to us. As a small business and as an active community member it all comes full cycle. That is why we support the local shops, local restaurants, and local farmers. If we all want to continue to grow and to continue to do good things for the community we all have to work together and support one another.
Which are your favourite locally sourced, organic ingredients that you use?
Being from Vancouver, summer is of course the best season for local produce. However, there are lots of hearty vegetables like kale that grow year long. I'm a big fan of local greens in the summer, and apples in the fall. Ambrosia apples are my favourite.
If you could have any fruit or vegetable growing at the corner of Water and Abbott Streets (where the truck is typically parked), what would it be and why?
Good question. Cucumber is the base of a lot of our juices. If I could have one vegetable grow at our corner it would be a nice crisp field cucumber.
What has been the most challenging part about starting up a food (juice) truck business?
Operating a food truck, the weather can be both our best friend and biggest enemy. The winters can be challenging, but we have such great support from the community in Gastown, so the cold winter days go by fairly quickly.
What do you do in your day-to-day activities to live more sustainably?
Simple, small things like recycling, composting, using re-usable cups... the small things add up to make a difference.
Last year, you held a Lemonade Stand event to raise money for Growing Chefs! Chefs for Children’s Urban Agriculture. Can you tell us a little about the event and why you chose to support children’s education on food systems?
We spent time working with kids and schools while we were travelling through Nepal. We made it a goal to continue to work with kids when we started the business. Change starts at a young age. If we want to invest in our future, we have to invest in the youth. Working with kids and teaching them about health, wellness, and the environment gives us a lot to be excited about!
Do you have any advice for anyone looking to make a business that supports local, organic agriculture, or someone who wants to use more locally-sourced produce in an existing operation?
Supporting local is a lifestyle and a responsibility. If we want to continue to enjoy this beautiful home of ours, we have to take steps in being more responsible environmentally. Choosing local is a great step in the right direction.
What is your favourite juice blend on the menu?
I like to start my day with a green juice. I usually go heavy on the leafy greens, add some cucumber, some lemon and a lot of ginger!
When you’re not juicing, what is your go-to outfit?
I like functional clothing that still looks good. Something I can wear hiking and still wear around the city.