When Erika Ianoale goes to the market, she peruses the the produce section with excitement: “I can juice this! And this!” she exclaims. Her husband laughs. She has taken the often unhealthy options that city life has handed her and made lemonade—if lemonade was a nutrient-packed super juice, that is.
Ianoale, an esthetician at Rescue Rittenhouse Spa in Center City, has developed Pangaea Earth Foods, a cold-pressed juice line of raw, vegan, organic juices—often made with local fruits and veggies—that are loaded with enzymes, vitamins and nutrients. Although Pangaea Earth Foods was born only about a year and a half ago, Ianoale has been juicing for years.
She began toying with the idea of bottling her product when she realized how difficult it can be to find healthy, on-the-go options when you live in a city (hello, Starbucks and Chinese food on every corner). As a trained esthetician, she also saw the many benefits that fresh juices can provide for your skin. Ianoale noticed that many of her clients with acne saw their skin clear up when they began a juice regimen.
“I wanted to make these juices convenient and available to everyone, so we can really feel good about what we’re putting into our bodies,” she says.
While the idea of juice might make you think of the sugary grape or orange versions, many of Ianoale’s creations are heavy on veggies like spinach and carrots, and herbs like parsley and basil. There are also the fruitier ones with fiber-loaded apple and pear, and antioxidant-heavy pomegranates. She says many of the juices available at grocery stores today are heated, pasteurized, and packed with preservatives—three things hers are not—which results in the death of many nutritious live enzymes.
With Pangaea juices, Ianoale hopes to deliver these essential vitamins and nutrients in a fast and convenient way. A bottle of one of the green juices might contain an entire bag of spinach, a feat of eating that would be quite difficult to conquer if you tried to go Popeye on a sack of leafy greens.
These green juices are the most important for longevity and health, Ianoale says. Many juicing aficionados go for the green ones for the convenience of getting their daily dose of vegetables in liquid form. While some juicing newbies are a tad apprehensive at the thought of spinach and arugula in drink form, Ianoale says she enjoys the pleasantly-surprised look on their faces when they try a green juice at a tasting event.
A juice newbie myself, I tried some of the green—and fruity—juices that Pangaea has to offer. Skinny Green, a juice made from spinach, celery, cucumber, apple, lime and parsely (and only those ingredients, nothing else), has made me a total believer in green juice. While it’s definitely not sweet, the citrus carries the veggie flavors and makes the juice very refreshing. Another green juice, Sweet Green, contains arugula, apple, pineapple and tangerine. While you can really taste the pineapple and tangerine at work in this one, that bitter arugula flavor is still pretty powerful; it may not be suitable for every palate.
Red Beauty, a lovely dark-pink juice containing pomegranate, pear, lemon and ginger, was the hero of the day. It’s refreshing and pulpy, more tart than sweet with the lemon and pomegranate playing major flavor roles. Another one I tried, Miracle Tonic, with carrot, apple, celery, lime, ginger and mint, is a nice take on carrot juice—certainly the best carrot juice I’ve ever tasted. Named for its beta-carotene packed carrots, this juice isn’t the least bit sweet, but heavy on the carrot, celery and lime flavors. It’s really crisp and refreshing.
Ianoale, who works with a vegan chef and receives help from her husband, has just signed a lease for a juice bar to open at Sweat Fitness at Seventh and Passyunk streets; she’s hoping to open in March. Until then, you can get the juices at Rescue Rittenhouse Spa at 225 South 17th Street in Center City, Tierra Mia Organic Nail Spa at 328 South 17th Street in Center City, and Valley Forge Flowers at 503 West Lancaster Avenue in Wayne. You can also get the juices delivered straight to your door, milkman style. Sixteen-ounce bottles cost between $7 and $10 and available flavors vary depending on what’s in season.
“Our goal is to get rid of the coffee bars and add juice bars on every corner,” Ianoale says. Wouldn’t that be nice?