The juice craze doesn't seem to be fading any time soon—and one new business that caught our eye in particular is Pitanga Juices, which offers cold-pressed juices with some unusual ingredients. After founder Raquel Furtado was diagnosed with a thyroid condition 10 years ago, the Brazil native started on on a personal quest to improve her health through a balanced diet of juices, raw foods and gluten-free eating. Now an NYC resident and certified holistic nutritionist, Furtado was inspired to create Pitanga Juice as a platform to share her unique recipes that combine foods commonly eaten in Brazil (such as acerola, catuaba, guarana, cacao, açaí and more) with organically grown veggies and herbs.
Growing up in a tropical country, "I was always surrounded by fresh fruits and vegetables," Furtado tells CH. "Juice houses (how Brazilians refer to juice bars) were everywhere, but they were a little different than here—mostly blended fruits and some vegetables, in a very simple and humble style. I grew up with lots of rice and beans, pure sugar cane, mango, papaya, coconut and pitanga in my backyard."
What's great about Furtado's recipes is the way she balances out the flavors, especially as she's working with some exotic ingredients. The Camisa 10 (green apple, cucumber, celery, dandelion, fennel, lime and jalapeño) is palatable and goes down so easily—despite any wariness regarding the bolder ingredients. In some juices we've drank in the past, one ingredient like apple or spinach will dominate the mixture, but the Camisa 10, with a mellow kick from the jalapeños, has an overarching flavor that's very balanced. Pitanga's smoothies, like the bright yellow Carmen (with a coconut water base), are not too thick at all; the mango tastes fresh and subtle, while the turmeric and ginger blend well, giving off a subtle herbal note. The lime and mint are the perfect garnish, making it taste like summer in a bottle. Online, Furtado also goes in depth about the health benefits for each ingredient, making it easy to choose what's best for your body—whether it's a filling, blended smoothie that's loaded with fiber or a juice that's absorbed in the bloodstream much quicker.
Pitanga Juices just finished up a successful Kickstarter campaign last month to open their first storefront. Keep an eye out, as they're planning to open in Brooklyn's Bushwick neighborhood by fall and are developing a line of gluten-free breads, nut butters and more alongside their current raw food offerings. For now, those who live in the NYC area can order juices, smoothies and more online through the website. Like any cold-pressed, unpasteurized juice, Pitanga Juices should be consumed within three days.
Photos by Nara Shin