Steven Jennings wants to make sure you’re drinking your vegetables. That’s why he launched Sustained Juice — a raw, organic, cold-pressed juice delivery service – five months ago.
“I’ve been paying attention to the craft cocktail movement and developing flavor profiles,” Jennings, a server at Michael Smith, says. “And whether you’re eating or drinking, it all comes down to balance.”
A year ago, Jennings was searching for balance in his own life – a nutrition regimen to match his workout routine.
“It always seemed like a game, like I was chasing something,” Jennings says. “I was playing around with different supplements, but then mid-workout, I’d get this metallic taste and by the end I was exhausted.”
Then Jennings discovered juicing. As he found his energy level evening out at the gym, he also found his first client: theGYMkc owner Jonetta Stewart. She had asked him to be her personal chef and Jennings made juices as part of the weekly meals he prepared. Soon, she was asking for just the juices because of their portability and flavor combinations.
“People will tell what you’re good at, you just have to be successful at listening,” Jennings says.
He paired pineapple with saffron and cardamom, sweet potato with carrot, apple and garlic, and honeydew with matcha. He developed a line of juices ($11 for 16 ounces), cleanses (fruit and vegetable-based) and sport blends.
“The cleanses have been popular. It’s not only a dedication to your diet, but it’s a mental thing too,” Jennings says.
The juices – Jennings sources his produce from Sprouts Farmers Market — are thick and hearty. Jennings likens them to V-8. There’s black plum, rosemary and coconut, and beet, ginger and parsley. The juices are also unpasteurized, which means they have to be enjoyed fresh.
As the business grew, Jennings’ partner Brett Calka became involved.
“I’m great with the creative aspect and Brett is great with business,” Jennings says.
Calka, a medical student, is often the first to try new flavors.
“Everything that he puts together comes out well balanced because he takes the time and energy to do it,” Calka says. “He has very high expectations.”
With fall, Jennings is currently playing around with pairing cranberries, Asian pear, coconut and grapefruit. He’s got ideas for butternut squash (maybe, cloves and cinnamon) and a take on pumpkin pie, and Jennings wants to find a way to infuse a juice with pine needles this winter.
“I want people to feel the seasons or like they need to give juice as a Christmas present,” Jennings says.
Customers place their orders by Thursday or Friday and Jennings delivers his juices in glass bottles (it’s a $5 delivery fee, but bottles can be returned for a credit) Monday through Wednesday to homes and offices around Kansas City.
“I’m very passionate about keeping things consistent, especially working in the restaurant business. It’s a shame when you have soup you love one day and the next it’s too salty,” Jennings says.
Right now, you can place an order via e-mail. But they’ll launch their website in November, which will allow for online ordering. By January 2015, they’re looking to have remote pick-up locations – the first will likely be Stewart’s theGYMkc. In the future, Calka and Jennings are also hoping to add a brick-and-mortar location.
“I would love to go farm fresh and be able to wake up and go to the market, and find some currents or squash blossoms and have that be the special for the day,” Jennings says. “But for now, we’re just trying to get everybody to think about juice.”[Juice photo via Paul Ingold]