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The Alternative Wellness Epicurean: Eating Well and Being Well at Juice Republic and Montana Harvest
YUM. That’s all I need to say about the fabulous new wrap and juice/smoothie bar called Juice Republic, located inside the newly renovated Montana Harvest on Willson just off Babcock. If you haven’t yet checked this out, get there fast; the vibe is great and the food is amazing and the best things about the old store are still there.
Two incredibly fun, energetic women, Kara Herman and Tricia Emmons (along with another investor) had worked for the old store for years, dreaming of one day owning the store themselves. They finally convinced the former owner to turn it over to them. The deal was done in November of 2011 and the two women geared up to recreate the store. It’s got a new look inside and out, and with the addition of the food and juice bar, it’s sure to become a hot spot for locals, the downtown crowd and visitors looking for a healthy place to stop and grab a bite.
I visited Kara and Tricia in January, wanting to find out what exciting changes had taken place at the Mo-Harv (as it’s popularly called) and, fresh off a 2012 resolution to eat better, I thought the Mo-Harv would be the right place to start. Boy, did I go to the right place!
I sat down at the bar and prepared for a visit. Kara and Tricia (with the able help of staffer and supreme wrap-maker Lacey) started pouring me shots of juice and plying me with samples of the wraps and their to-die-for cheese cake (which has no cheese in it). My taste buds were rocketed into a fourth dimension – this could not possibly taste this good and still be healthy…. But it was! I had, too, a Thai wrap which was delicious.
The two women explained that the driving force behind their acquisition of the store was to be able to continue with its reputation as having the best-priced supplements in town, but to expand the vision of what health meant by adding the juice/smoothie bar and food. “The truth is we are what we eat,” stated Kara, who first got interested in nutrition after spending time in Thailand and attending a guided fast/cleanse there. “Supplements aren’t enough, so we wanted to offer healthy, pure, organic foods for people.”
When the dynamic duo took over the store they promptly consolidated the current products into two rooms instead of three, getting rid of stock that wasn’t selling, rearranging what did sell, and adding the juice bar with tables and chairs for dining. The store retains its extensive selection of bulk foods, supplements, and health and beauty products. They’ve added healthy convenience food store items such as eggs, dairy products and select produce.
At the juice bar, all of the items are vegetarian or vegan and organic. Gluten-free tortillas can be used to make the wraps. I tasted their raw almond hummus which was out of this world, and Kara made me one of their special juice combos featuring beets, apples, carrots, cukes and a boost of an amazing green supplement called ShenTrition, produced by a couple here in town. It was amazing.
“Food is medicine!” Kara and Tricia chimed in together when I asked them why eating healthy mattered. They stressed that many customers came in with health concerns and they have a registered dietitian, Marion Bachra, on staff to help people learn more about their diet and how food can have a positive effect on health. They also use the services of Dr. Paloma Defuentes, a naturopathic physician in Bozeman with a Medical degree from Spain who focuses her practice on nutrition and just opened a holistic Urgent Care Center in Bozeman.
While I was there, I ran into several of my foodie/health junkie friends who came in for a juice and/or a wrap. There were also, to my surprise, several older (and I mean, older) people who stopped by to get a juice or get advice on supplements. The place was alive, busy and felt wonderful. These women are rockin’ it, for sure. They plan on hosting a gala Grand Opening in February, so look for upcoming promotions for the date.
So really, there’s no excuse – between the food, the supplements, and the owners’ expertise and the consultants, it’s looking pretty easy to dive into a healthier 2012 at the new, improved Montana Harvest.
Liz Harrison is an alternative health and wellness junkie who lives in Bozeman. This column explores the many alternative wellness offerings and practitioners in the Gallatin Valley. Suggestions, raves and rants may be sent to email@example.com