By Marissa Donnelly | firstname.lastname@example.org
Like many great ideas, this one formed in a college dorm room.
Chris Faunce, owner of Creative Juices Natural CafÃ©, began juicing a decade ago with his college roommate at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Armed with a Jack LaLanne juicer purchased from a TV infomercial, the two began juicing fruits and vegetables they did not see enough of in their diets. After feeling a surge of energy, and noticing a decline in colds and other illnesses that students notoriously contract, the two continued to explore the recreational activity of juicing.
Faunce became involved with cabinetry and furnishing, but soon realized his passions laid elsewhere. And so the juicer was dusted off. Following his move to St. Augustine, Faunce and his buddy got a stand at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre’s farmers market and began juicing every Saturday morning from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for the market’s most devoted patrons, as well as those just passing through town.
Soon enough they had a following- a clan of juicers feverishly waiting in line to purchase their made-to-order cocktails. On the rare occasion that Faunce was unable to make it to the market, a slew of regulars would appear the following Saturday to be appeased and hydrated.
Urged by many to open a permanent location, Faunce took the leap last June, opening Creative Juices Natural CafÃ© at 846 Anastasia Blvd. A native out of Palatka, he makes it a point to buy as much local produce as he feasibly can. Opening daily at or around 8:30 a.m., Faunce blames his occasional tardiness on his pit stops to the pier’s farmers market on Wednesday’s or down to Currie’s Market off of US 1, owned by childhood friend Patrick Currie. A prime source for information on locally grown produce, Currie’s has some of the freshest fruits and vegetables available.
So, what can be juiced? Nearly anything and everything imaginable, Faunce said. Though watermelons, apples, carrots and celery produce more liquid than chard, spinach or parsley, essentially anything is fair game. Offering a libation named the “Kitchen Sink Smoothie,” the result is a glass of almost everything edible in the cafÃ© topped off with a straw.
With requests from bee pollen to goji berries and flax seed oil, Faunce keeps an array of ingredients on hand in either one of the three refrigerators, or in the custom-made cabinets he built himself.
“People don’t want to buy produce in bulk knowing it’ll go bad before they have a chance to use it, so this is a convenience factor for them,” he said.
Admitting to having a bit of a green thumb, Faunce has been trying his strength in the cafÃ©’s backyard growing fresh herbs and cherry tomatoes.
Faunce said his cliental consists of anyone from young professionals to athletic, yoga-oriented locals, as well as the devoted “mom crowd” from R.B. Hunt Elementary School who stop in either to or from picking up their kids down the street.
Advising patrons to consume the juice immediately upon receiving it, the juicer himself admitted to the recent inclusion of smoothies into his diet. “Juices absorb much faster than smoothies, thickening it up will give your stomach more to breakdown,” he said.
Now a staple at the Amphitheatre’s weekly famers market, Faunce continues to set up his stall every Saturday morning three years after first making his debut in the community. Appearing at local festivals such as Tour de Farm, an event that educates the First Coast community about local food and promotes relationships between farmers and consumers, Faunce confessed that being out in the community is where he loves to be the most.
Opened daily for breakfast and lunch, the menu continues to grow. While whipping up a veggie-filled hummus wrap or the quinoa feta burger, he remains genuinely interested in whoever is seated at the bar and discovering their health concerns.
Eager to see what his first summer up and running will entail, Faunce will continue to offer flexible hours, keeping the juicers plugged in until the last possible moment, just in case a yogi wanders in thirsty.