How much produce does Kari Brunson go through in a week? "Hundreds and hundreds of pounds," exhales the ballerina-turned-chef who launched Juice Box alongside also-accomplished chef (and boyfriend) Brandin Myett. Some days their compost bin is so full it barely shuts.
The burgeoning business finds the couple juicing fruits and vegetables of all stripes to create tasty concoctions like the Julius (carrot, apple, orange, turmeric) and Grn (watercress, zucchini, cucumber, apple, lime). They got their start at the Queen Anne and Broadway farmers markets and have since tagged on two more.
When she isn't tending the stall Brunson is, not surprisingly, still juicing--it was, after all, a passion for pureeing produce that inspired this whole thing. She whips up at least one drink a day, usually in the morning, though sometimes she and Myett like to top them off with booze (one assumes that happens later.)
Here, a few of Kari Brunson’s favorite things (in addition to juice):
Juice blend you make at home: Right now I am really into lemon apple ginger. It is three ingredients we always have on hand.
Blend to impress guests: Skagit Sun Farm strawberry, Collins Family jazz apple, and Hand-Farmed Organics (HFO) red kale. We have done this blend for a couple of demonstrations, and people love that the ingredients are all organically grown in Washington.
Favorite ingredient: Juice ingredient? Coconut water and key limes. Cooking ingredient? Fennel vinegar.
Guilty pleasure: I really, really like Cool Ranch Doritos. Unfortunately.
Hangover remedy: A huge bottle of Evian + two Aleve + a double eight-ounce Americano + an apple, beet, carrot, and ginger juice. Or just skip all of that and chug a MexiCoke.
Place to drink on a day off: The patio at Quoin (one of the best patios in the city). We were there three times last week. They make a killer Moscow Mule using Rachel’s Ginger Beer (my favorite) and lemongrass ginger simple syrup. They also muddle the lime—I could mainline that stuff.
Place to eat on a day off: Recently I have been pretty obsessed with LloydMartin. I can’t say enough good things about the restaurant and all the people who are involved.
Recently splurged on: Brandin and I took a tiny vacation to Whidbey Island and stayed at Inn at Langley. What a magical place. We are going back for Labor Day weekend, and treating ourselves to dinner at the restaurant.
On the wish list: A brick-and-mortar Juice Box. It is going to happen, but probably not until early next summer.
Can't live without: My Tempurpedic eye mask. I even got Brandin hooked; we both sleep with one every night.
Work outfit: Recently it has been tank tops and shorts at the farmers markets. I still wear my ugly kitchen clogs because my back and knees still hurt from my years of being a professional ballet dancer.
Dessert: I don’t really eat dessert. I would sooner just have another glass (or two) of wine or Pierre Robert cheese on a crispy cracker.
Inspiration: I get a lot of ideas from what other juice bars are doing around the country. I love Pressed Juicery in Los Angeles and recently took a "juice vacation" to do some research down there. I also recently got tipped off to bevnet.com, which is a great website for anyone in the beverage industry.
Food shop: Lam’s Seafood in the International District.
Farmers market stand: We have been getting some great product from HFO at the Queen Anne market. Mostly it has been product for our green juice, like mint, cucumber, heirloom zucchinis, and kale. But sometimes we also buy from them to cook at home.
Craziest Juice Box story: A young lady walked by our stand at the Queen Anne Farmers Market, stuck her hand into our compost bin, and proceeded to eat a large handful of juice waste. I looked at Brandin, wide-eyed, and said, “Well, that was a first.”