Suddenly, as if overnight, I woke up to find RI’s once barren tree limbs dressed in dazzling white, pink and yellow blossoms, and café baristas setting out patio furniture. For the first time since November, I exited my attic hideaway and strolled through downtown Providence, skipping and singing down the streets like a castmember of Oklahoma. This is what sunshine does to me, evidently.
On this particular day, I was traveling down Weybosset Street, and across from Gaebe Commons at Johnson and Wales University, I saw a sign I hadn’t seen before: clean black lettering and the silhouette of a carrot, announcing the new location of Fully Rooted Juicery.
Fully Rooted is a brand I know from RI farmers markets, but I didn’t realize they’ve been around since 2013, having just celebrated their sixth anniversary. The three entrepreneurs — Amanda Repose, Angelo Mollis and Ben Aalvik — were only 23 and 24 years old when they founded the company. Repose and Mollis both had business backgrounds, graduating from URI and Salve Regina, respectively, but the idea for their business came about organically. “Juicing was something we were already doing for our own health and well-being — and it’s something I’ve been doing for 12 years now — so it came naturally,” Repose told me as we sat in their original storefront space at Lorraine Mills in Pawtucket.
The Pawtucket store opened a couple of years ago, allowing them to sell and produce large orders. “We have regulars who come in with coolers every week, and we can fill them here.” The downtown space, on the other hand, is great for people who — like me — are in the city and want a fresh glass of juice or kombucha to go. They’ve also expanded to offer organic, consciously made light fare, such as kale caesar salads and coconut cardamom oats, and the best chocolate bars I’ve ever tasted.
“Hu is a great company to work with,” Repose said of her partnership with the New York-based company. “Just really kind people, and we share the same values.” Hu chocolate is paleo, vegan and dairy-free. It’s chocolate that’s actually healthy — and (pro-tip) you can find it at Fully Rooted for a better price than at Whole Foods.
Fully Rooted’s values include using unadulterated, ethically sourced, organic and, whenever possible, local ingredients. They cold press their juices, which means they preserve the live enzymes from fruits and veggies that are otherwise killed in the pasteurization process. Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and thyroid and stomach issues have been eliminated or greatly reduced by this philosophy of treating food as medicine.
“Do you offer diet plans to go along with your juices?” I asked jokingly, but ready to sign up if she said yes.
“We offer juice cleanses, but we don’t give dietary plans. That’s not our area of training. But we can speak from experience, knowing what’s worked for us, and make recommendations.” Repose emphasized that juicing is only one step in a larger picture of health. To experience a drastic transformation requires changes in overall diet, exercise and sleep. “And I think the most important thing is being mentally ready. When people come in and they’ve set their minds on positive outcomes, they are better prepared to achieve them.”
Relatively new to their product line is their selection of kombucha, an ancient fermented tea drink that offers not only the benefits of tea, but also acts as a source of probiotics. “We want to make sure this is the best kombucha you’ve ever had,” Repose said, giving credit to co-founder Aalvik for all of his experimentation. “It’s very scientific,” she said, “determining the right teas, herbs and flavors to make these drinks functional.” They produce kombucha in small batches, ensuring integrity throughout the process by not skipping any steps.
I asked, “How do you know if steps have been skipped, say, with other kombucha?”
“Oh, you can taste the difference,” she said.
In terms of visions for the future, now that they’ve landed downtown, next steps include adding smoothies and outdoor seating, and more collaborations. They recently worked with Tallulah’s Taqueria to create a “Kombucharita,” a kombucha margarita. “Jake [the owner] was blown away by the taste of it,” she said. “Another favorite was the kombucha float with Like No Udder’s vegan ice cream.”
I think my summer line-up is becoming clear.
The Weybosset space, which they share with Current State Yoga, is a sunny, wide open room, split by a partial divide, lined with wooden shelves that neatly display trinkets (from books on astrology to scented candles) and Fully Rooted swag. It’s the kind of place you’ll want to grab a juice and peruse, or take a yoga class upstairs* and replenish afterward with kombucha. And during those hot summer months, you won’t want to miss out on their super-hydrating juice made with fresh watermelon. “It’s a cult favorite,” Repose said.
Finding Fully Rooted was just the beginning of a beautiful morning, and in fact, a beautiful day. And I have a beautiful feeling everything’s going their way.
*first lesson is free!