The Juice Co. in Branford, where customers drink to their health

BRANFORD — Let’s start with The Two at The Juice Co., which opened in April on Branford’s Main Street. A combination of fresh-squeezed orange juice and carrot juice, it’s also packed with ginger and turmeric.

“It’s organic, it’s nutritious, it’s delicious,” said Branford’s Kara Seneco on a recent afternoon in the sunny, sparely furnished space.

East Haven’s Stacie Pihonak agreed. Pihonak gets a fresh-pressed juice every day at The Juice Co. which offers overnight oats, bowls, and fresh-pressed juices.

“I’ve always really loved green juice, and I have a juicer, but I never made it because it was too cumbersome to use,” she said. “This is easy and tasty and I just feel healthier overall.”

Fred Turcio of Branford had the same take in the weeks he’s been enjoying a juice each morning. “I’ve definitely had more energy,” he said via telephone.

Then he pulled a muscle while working out. Owner Peter Averill prescribed The Two, and added some black pepper.

“The black pepper is optional,” said Averill, 34. “Turmeric is a fantastic anti-inflammatory, but a little-known fact is that your body can’t absorb it very well. We tell anyone ordering The Two that adding a little black pepper helps the body absorb it.”

Three days later, Turcio reported marked improvement.

Maybe it was the juice. Maybe it healed on its own. Averill’s aim is not to push juicing as some sort of miracle cure. “But things like wheatgrass, like turmeric, like ginger, if you use them the right way, they can have potent healing properties.”

The road to The Juice Co. started around 10 years ago, when Averill was subsisting on a diet of cheeseburgers and French fries.

“Everything I was eating was giving me a stomach ache,” he said. “So I started really researching nutrition.”

That got him into juicing, but not in any extreme way.

“I say this to everyone, I’m not a vegan, I’m not a vegetarian,” he said. “The idea is to make sure you’re getting the nutrition you need, but that doesn’t mean you have to completely overhaul your diet.

“I just taught myself to take care of my body. You only get one. Give it the nutrition it needs.”

Since then, Averill, who’s worked in the food service and technology industries in New York City, had been incubating a dream of opening a juice bar. In May 2021, he decamped to Groton.

“I was still working for my company remotely, but I was thinking the time was right to take the leap, so I started browsing commercial properties,” he said.

In January 2022, he looked at the Main Street space.

For Averill, the second oldest of six siblings, the roots in Branford run deep. Daniel Averill, who served in the Revolutionary War, settled in a homestead on the corner of Montowese and Pine Orchard Road now occupied by the Branford Armory.

“My parents grew up here, and all my aunts and uncles are here,” he said.

“Everything was lighting up,” he said, of seeing the location for the first time. “Branford, the fantastic market, up and coming. And it used to be a smoothie bar so they’d already built out the bar,” he said.

He had an immediate vision of what the store could be. “What we’d offer would be the same as what you see when you come in, which is simple, clean, and fresh,” he said, gesturing at the pallet wood flowing on the white walls and the minimalist design.

The Juice Co. mission is likewise clear-cut: “to create a franchise, a national franchise, that makes snacking the healthiest part of your day.”

To meet that mission, there are three requirements. “It needs to be organic, nutritious, and most importantly, delicious.”

Overnight oats is one example. “They’re fantastic for you,” Averill said. “They’re dairy free. We soak the oats overnight, sweeten with a little bit of raw honey, chop a bunch of fresh fruit on top, add some crushed almonds, coconut, chia seeds.”

Averill lists the ingredients of each item on the board. “Whatever you see there is what’s in it, nothing else, no additives. Everything you see is organic. 100 percent.”

The organic component is essential.

“Think about it,” he said. “You’re juicing for health. Do you want something that has pesticides and chemicals in it?”

Part and parcel of that aim, he said, “is to make nutritious readily available and educate our customers.”

Take flax seed oil. “Every single customer that comes in, we want to let them know that it has a bunch of really good benefits but also that adding it to fresh-pressed juice allows your body to absorb more efficiently fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins K, A, D and E.

Averill said customers are encouraged to drink the juice right away. “It’ll never have more nutrition than when it’s freshly pressed.”

When juice languishes in a bottle on a grocery shelf for days, “you lose a lot of the nutrition and it becomes just this liquidy, sugary drink,” he said.

For the many who come in seeking relief from their aches and pains, he preaches patience.

“Fresh-pressed juice does a lot for you, but you have to do it consistently to feel the benefits,” he said.

That’s where the subscription service comes in. At a set fee for one-week ($29.99), two-week, ($54.99) or four-week subscriptions ($99.99), you can come in every day and get a juice.

That works for East Haven’s Pihonak.

With the four-week subscription, “I go every day and beyond all the other benefits, it’s affordable,” she said.

In addition to plans for a national franchise, Averill has his sights set on subscription oats for corporate offices.

“Offices have these budgets to bring in breakfast, but why bring in food that starts your employees’ day off unhealthy and makes everyone tired and unproductive?” he asked. “Why not offer a meal of fresh organic overnight oats that’s delicious and will power your people through the morning?”

For the time being, though, Averill is just enjoying the positive impact he’s making.

“When someone thanks us for helping them feel better and healthier in their lives, it makes your day,” he said. “What can be better than that?”

The Juice Co. is at 564 Main St., Branford; phone: 203-208-0685; website: juicect.com.

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