I met Lonnie Atkinson, Founder and Owner of Village Juice Co., a few years ago while she was doing a juice “tasting” at my Pure Barre studio. I have had lots of juice in my time, but something was different about Lonnie’s juice. It’s beyond fresh, her mix of flavors is spot on and her nut milks are out of this world. Most importantly, the juice’s are cold-pressed (raw) and last about 72 hours, because Lonnie does not use any pasteurization (heating of the juice) or HPP (High Pressure Processing). Her juice is untreated in any way and each contains up to four pounds of fresh produce!! My favorite is “Get Real.” It’s all greens + lemon, ginger and turmeric, making it super low sugar, anti-inflammatory, alkalizing, an immunity booster and a digestive aid. Can’t beat all that! I also LOVE “Moose,” which is their version of a chocolate almond milk. It is such a treat while still being great for you!
Recently Lonnie expanded Village Juice into a full-blown restaurant and juice bar in Winston Salem, North Carolina. The food is incredible. Think, grain bowls, avocado toasts, smoothie bowls, salads, etc. I recently had the Edie bowl, which I could literally eat for lunch everyday…it’s that good! Village juice only uses the best possible ingredients and sources from local farms.
We believe in clean food and raw juice – full of nutrients, free of artificial anything and Mother Earth-approved. We believe real food doesn’t contain ingredients, it is ingredients. That’s why everything on our menu is pressed, squeezed, ground, pureed, mixed, chopped and crafted in-house. We believe superfoods make you feel superhuman. And everyone deserves to feel that way. –Lonnie Atkinson
While Village Juice is not yet shipping nationwide, they do deliver in the Triad area and the juices are sold at their shop (205 S. Stratford Rd, Winston Salem, NC 27103), from their Truck (1208 Reynolda Rd, Winston, Salem) and at the Cobblestone Farmers Market on Saturdays. Even cooler (no pun intended!), they now have a “Juice Box” aka a cold-pressed juice vending machine at the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter. Hope to see more of these around the country in the future!
Hope you’ll read on for Lonnie’s “Light”ning Round and my full interview with Lonnie to learn more about Village Juice and why juicing and eating this way is so important for our bodies. If you’re in NC, be sure to check out the new Village Juice Co. restaurant and click here for more info www.villagejuicecompany.com.
Why juice? I found juicing when I lived in Northern California. I had struggled with terrible digestion and weight fluctuation after college. Juicing immediately changed my life by eliminating my sugar cravings and regulating my digestion. I helped me to establish a healthy relationship with food.
What sets Village Juice apart? We make real food & juice without any of the junk. our products are REALLY GOOD for you and taste amazing. Most foods that are labeled “health foods or juices” lack flavor and are generally processed, high in sugar and don’t make you feel good or give you the results you want
Why should we drink it? With our juices, you get 4lbs of organic produce in one bottle. That’s more veggies than most people get in a whole day. Our juices are high in vitamins, minerals & phyto nutrients. By not processing or pasturizing our juices, all of those nutrients are still alive in our juices.
Your new restaurant…Village Juice Co is a quick serve fresh food restaurant that serves: Cold-Pressed Juices & Nut Milks, Smoothies & Smoothie Bowls, Salad & Grain Bowls, Toasts (open faced sandwhiches) & Vegan Desserts. We are proud to make almost everything we serve from scratch. The items we do not make are sourced responsibly and often locally. All of our juices and nut milks are made in house daily using the finest fruits, vegetables and superfoods available. Much of our menu is plant based, but we serve bacon & chicken as well. Our menu is very diverse to appeal to all different types of people.
Breakfast – Green Juice (usually our Pipe Dreams or Get Real- cuke, celery, kale, chard, parsley, lemon, ginger, turmeric) + Moose ( our decadent chocolate almond milk)
Lunch – smoothie or cukes dipped in avocado spread with Gnomestead Hollow Curtido.
Snack – trying to limit my snacking, but if I do, I’ll usually grab a handful of our housemade almond crumble, goji berries & cacao nibs
Drinks– Kombucha, kombucha cocktails, white wine
Dinner – I usually eat pretty light during the day and try to have a substantial meal with my family for dinner. I tend to go for fish (usually salmon) + rice or a salad.
Dessert — i RARELY eat dessert, but if i do, it’s usually a fig bar or vegan cheesecake from Village Juice or if we are at a restaurant and they have creme brulee, I cannot turn it down.
Workout of choice? jogging… I like to run 5-6 miles if I have time. I do tons of pushups and try to do weighted squats & lunges 3-4 times per week.
Favorite activewear brands? Beyond Yoga + Lululemon
Your version of self-care? Not overeating, getting to sleep in at least one day a week, sweating five days per week, and if i’m lucky, going to mexico with my best friend every winter. Most of all, spending time with my family… in particular my little girls. They make all of this work worth while:)
Books, Netflix or Housewives? Books
Interview with Lonnie Atkinson, Founder and Owner of Village Juice Co.
Starting Village Juice and most recently opening your first bricks and mortar location was very brave of you! What helped motivate you to follow your dream and how did your past experiences/jobs help you in your new endeavor?
Once I made the move to a primarily plant based diet, I immediately felt and saw the benefits from eating that way…. and feeling good is addictive. I knew this wasn’t a fad lifestyle and wanted to spend every bit of free time reading and educating myself on the plant based diet. I ended up taking a part time job 2 nights a week working at a raw vegan restaurant. There I learned a ton and met so many likeminded people who were also on a similar path to health and wellness that I was. After moving back to North Carolina in 2011, I saw there was a huge lack of healthy options, but that there was a real need for them. My husband and I spent a few years researching and planning before we decided to make the commitment to open our own juice company. My husband and my parents have been the biggest supporters and motivators in this whole thing. They have believed in me and held me accountable (especiallly my husband, Nathan) the whole time. My dad has literally been there for me every step of the way in developing the products. It has truly taken a “village” to make this all happen.
Working for yourself can be difficult, especially at first. What helped you stay on track?
My husband…. he holds me accountable for everything, pushes me harder than anyone ever has and has extremely high expectations of me (in a good way:)
What challenges have you faced in starting a new company and how have you overcome them?
Since everything we make is super fresh and not processed or pasturized, it has a short shelf life. I think the largest challenges we have faced are predicting how much of each item to make so that we have enough to meet the demand, but not too much that we end up throwing product away. Our business growing quickly and is extremely unpredictable.
We love on your website when you say, “We believe real food doesn’t contain ingredients, it is ingredients.” Tell us more about the superfoods you are using.
We use REAL food, without any fillers. You won’t find anything from a can in our kitchen and 90+ % of our products are made from fresh fruits, vegetables and superfoods. We offer superfoods that you can add to any of your smoothies or smoothie bowls for added nutritional boosts and superpowers:) Some examples of superfoods we include in our products are: Cacao Powder in our Moose Chocolate Milk. Cacao Powder is a great mood enhancer and has tons of antioxidants and vitamins. Our Superblue smoothie has Collagen Powder in it. This is extremely high in protein, great for healthy glowing skin and good for joint health.
What are the special features of Village Juice that set you apart from other juice companies?
Our juices are cold-pressed on a hydraulic cold pressed juicer to limit the oxidation, increase the amount of nutrients extracted from the fruits and veggies and increase the flavor and shelf life. We put a lot of time and thought into our recipes to not only create juices that taste good, but that are also really good for you. Anyone can add a bunch of fruit to their juices to make them taste good, but we wanted to create juices with the minimum amount of fructose and maximum health benefits and flavor.
What do you do to stay fit and which Village Juice menu items do you use to prepare for workouts or refuel post-workout?
I try to jog whenever I can! I stay busy running around the restaurant though, so that helps me to stay in shape as well. I usually drink juice every morning which fills me up and gives me tons of energy without making me feel sluggish… (which is what usually happens if I eat something heavy in the morning) Our juices rehydrate my cells and organs and just make me feel super amazing. There’s no better feeling than feeling healthy.
At LivLight, we love to hear what people typically eat! What does a day in the life of your eating look like and do you have any secrets to share?
See above, but one thing I did not include was that several days a week I “juice until dinner,” which means I drink three juices plus an almond milk during the day and then eat a reasonable dinner with my family. It’s like a mini cleanse. I have more energy and feel more light when I do this.
For those readers looking to take the leap and follow their dream of a career change or starting a new business, what advice would you offer them?
Do your research! Don’t give up on your dreams, because one leap of faith can change your life and change the lives of so many other people. Success follows passion. Be prepared to work your butt off!!!!! I have never worked so hard, slept so little but have loved almost every minute of this!
Finally, what’s up next for Village Juice?!?
Ahhhhhh…. you’ll have to wait and SEE!