Kelli Akre and Arin Smith made a lot of apple juice while traveling in New Zealand and Thailand. So much juice, in fact, Akre’s body started to ache. "My arms got tired," she recalls of the labor-intensive process. If only there was a way to use my legs instead, Akre remembers thinking.
Back in the States, the two took that idea and ran (pedaled?) with it. Smith started tinkering with the bike blender concept—something found in other parts of the world, but "not to the same level," he claims—et voila: Juice Peddler was born. Here’s how it works: Ingredients go in a mixer positioned on a wooden slab above the front tire. The bike and bar are jiggered together so that pedaling powers the blending of smoothies, shakes, and juices.
You’ve maybe spotted the Bellingham-based duo at the Ballard Sunday bazaar, where they’ve been operating on a week-to-week basis. Not surprisingly the bike bar is a hit—this is Seattle after all, where cycling and juicing are ways of life. Combine the two—even better. They’ve made cameos locally in years past, but 2012 appears to be a biggie. Especially popular this spring are the rhubarb and "green" varieties. As you’d expect from a vendor, local and sustainable ingredients are priority number one, with flavors evolving along with the markets.
Once farmers market season hits fever pitch in the coming weeks, Akre and Smith expect to join the stalls in Phinney Ridge, Queen Anne, Wallingford, and Madrona. Eventually they hope to sell their apparatus to sports gyms and for home use.