By AMANDA C. DAVIS
BOARDMAN – With barely two months under her belt as co-owner of Orange Avocado Juicery, Laurie Chamoun is already looking to the future and envisioning what could be.
If her family’s success in feeding and nourishing our community is any indication, Laurie is well on her way to bigger things.
The new business, which opened Aug. 1, cold presses juice with a hydraulic press using thousands of pounds of pressure to extract the most liquid from fresh fruits and vegetables. No additional heat or oxygen is used, meaning no nutrients are lost in the heat of traditional pasteurization.
“It’s the best way to consume juice,” she said, adding it’s made from local produce when available and bottled on site.
Laurie said a big part of her inspiration for opening stemmed from her father Camille’s battle with Stage 4 colon cancer. A few years ago, he was given a few months to live but survived four years – something Laurie attributes in part to juicing.
“We have customers who come for juice right after having chemotherapy or radiation treatments,” she said. “Most guests are educated about the benefits of the organic ingredients we provide in our cold pressed juices and they’re extremely excited that we are here.”
The Chamoun family has a long, successful track record for business in the Mahoning Valley. I first met Laurie in fourth grade when her family moved to Canfield from Michigan. They owned a Little Caesar’s pizza shop in Boardman and grew the franchise to 14 locations in the tri-county area.
She and I graduated together then reconnected a few years later when I discovered her family’s newest venture – Aladdin’s Eatery.
The family-owned franchise (she operates six) specializes in Middle Eastern cuisine and began with one restaurant in Boardman. Aladdin’s has been around nearly 20 years and there are 33 locations stretching to North Carolina.
That type of growth and success, along with lessons from her dad, has prepared Laurie for her latest project.
On the day of our interview, Kate Sarver, Michelle French and I visited with Laurie and her staff, admiring the cute décor, spotless floors and fixtures and the tempting samples they offered generously.
Kate, who is pregnant with twins, sampled several and said her favorite was the “Pretty in Pink,” a juice blended with grapefruit, strawberries and beets. She left with four drinks and said she wanted to try a little bit of everything.
“I figured any of these would be nutrient packed,” she said.
Michelle said she’s been feeling rundown lately and wanted more energy. She loved the signature “Orange Avocado,” with those two ingredients, plus apple. She also sampled “Bright Eyes,” with orange, carrot and ginger, and “Love Your Heart,” with strawberry, ginger and beet.
She said the latter was delicious and “earthy,” with a bit of sweetness and spice.
“It’s so hard to choose a drink when I go in there,” she said. “Sometimes I get a few and give them to friends and relatives who I know will appreciate the health benefits from drinking fresh juice.”
My favorite on the menu that keeps me coming back is the “Midnight Lemonade.” This combines watermelon, lemon and activated charcoal. Laurie said the charcoal is a potent natural treatment used to trap toxins and chemicals in the body, allowing them to be flushed out so the body doesn’t reabsorb them.
This slightly sweet, yet tart, combination just feels good going down and lacks the grittiness some charcoal containing drinks are known for. I’m happy to report it also helped me recover faster after a (rare) late night out and a few beers.
On the day we visited, I opted for a shot of wheatgrass, which is hard to come by in this area, and a “Boost Shot,” which combines lemon, ginger and turmeric, an ingredient well documented for its ability to reduce inflammation, improve digestion and fight free radicals.
This is the only flu shot I will need this year. It’s tart, refreshing and slightly warming, and I swear you can feel it improving your insides. The “Cannon Shot,” which has lime, cayenne and turmeric, is equally as delicious.
Co-owner Pepe Parish chose the name Orange Avocado because orange is his favorite color and avocados his favorite food. He began making raw, vegan and gluten-free baked goods under that name at Aladdin’s two years ago and has added a few confections at Orange Avocado because of their popularity.
In fact, his treats are the only solid food on the menu – for now. On the day we visited, he had cinnamon pecan cookies and maple coconut macaroons. In the near future, the two plan to add acai berry bowls to the menu – a treat of blended, frozen fruit topped with fresh super fruits and served in a bowl.
Juices and shots are stored in a refrigerated case and free of added sugar, fillers, additives and preservatives.
Because it’s cold pressed, the juice has a shorter shelf life than juice that’s pasteurized and commercially produced. Laurie said her green juices should be refrigerated and consumed within 36 hours of purchase and the rest have a 72-hour window. Once opened, they should be used within 24 hours, she added.
Packed your lunch for work but forgot to add veggies? Stop at Orange Avocado for “The Garden,” which I like to call “liquid salad.” It combines cucumber, celery, apple and carrot and is delicious.
The Orange Avocado also offers nut milks. “Myracle Mylk” combines almonds, dates, cinnamon and vanilla, and has a smooth, slightly sweet taste. Cashew milk, with cashews, dates and spirulina (blue-green algae), is also available.
A 16-oz. juice, packed with two to five pounds of produce, costs $8.75 and contains two servings. Shots are 1 oz. and cost $2.95.
Laurie is teaming up with a local nutritionist to work on plans for a juice cleanse. Cleanses have gained popularity in recent years for their health benefits, and Laurie wants her customers to have that option.
Though there are no current plans for additional locations, Laurie said she’s always thinking about possibilities for the future.
The juicery, at 1393 Boardman-Canfield Road, is situated between Hot Head Burritos and Pure Barre. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday-Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. It’s closed Sundays.