Bringing Organic Goodness to Aptos
Aptos juice bar and yogurt shop Juicy Sweet owes a lot to serendipity. When Frank’s pharmacy moved to a larger location in the Aptos Center on Soquel Drive, owner John Lindberg kept his lease for the smaller space, thinking it would be a great spot for a yogurt and smoothie shop.
Meanwhile, Diane Carver had been dreaming of opening a juice shop for years. While she worked in the hospitality industry — as a wedding coordinator — and transitioned into the food business as the deli manager at Seascape Foods and at Bittersweet the dream stayed with her. Carver thought up and tested recipes and taste combinations, even going so far as to name her drinks. She was going to be ready when opportunity knocked.
And knock it did, for as Lindberg shared his idea for the old Frank’s Pharmacy location, a pharmacist who once worked for him thought of her friend, Diane, who had dreamt of opening a juice and smoothie shop.
“I had the restaurant and kitchen background and then this came along,” she shared.
While she had a handle on one half of the business, the yogurt aspect was new for her. “I had a lot of recipes [for juice and smoothies], but yogurt was new to me. It was challenging to find…I wanted organic and healthy. But I was able to find this organic frozen yogurt that I love. It’s from Yogurt Farmer in Utah and Cloudtop from Los Angeles.”
“I’m able to make a lot of the flavors. I get to be creative and mix whatever I want,” Diane shared. “To me it’s really fun because I feel like a chemist.”
Not only is the yogurt organic, so are the ingredients Carver mixes in with them, like organic strawberries or coffee. Iced coffee, strawberry, peanut butter and mint are their most popular, mainstay yogurt flavors.
As far as smoothies and juices go, the most popular are the Holy Cacao smoothie, which she perfected and named several years ago, and is a delicious blend of almond milk, banana, cacao maca, cinnamon, almond butter, coconut oil, and Himalayan salt.
Another favorite is the Spicy Hawaiian, which combines coconut water, pineapple, mango, turmeric, ginger and shredded coconut. One of the most popular juices is the Facelift that is a mix of apple, cucumber, celery, romaine, spinach, kale, cilantro and lemon.
If you find yourself wondering what the difference is between juicing and smoothies is, Diane explained it for me.
“Juicing is an easy way to increase our consumption of fruits and vegetables and flood our system with live enzymes and nutrients without the body having to work to digest fiber, while drinking smoothies increases the fruit and veggie intake as well but includes insoluble fiber and is more filling.”
Carver works with her employees – many of who are students from Cabrillo College and local high schools – to make sure they understand the ingredients used in each recipe. And that they focus on customer service, no matter how busy they get. “You know, we can go from quiet to slammed and being able to handle that intensity is important,” she said.
I asked Diane what’s been the best thing since realizing her dream when the shop opened in January of 2016. “We have had regulars from the first day and I love that,” she said. “I love getting to know the customers and what they like. I love it when people come and ask me what I’d recommend for a specific condition they have. I like that feeling of healing people with food.”
Juicy Sweet is located in the Aptos Center at 7518 Soquel Drive. They are open every day from 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. except Sunday, when they open at 10:00. Call them at 831-688-8000 or visit www.juicysweetaptos.com for more information.