The Hudson Valley is a paradise for delicious produce. From bustling farmers’ markets and natural grocery stores to pick-your-own orchards and CSAs, this region grows amazing fruits and veggies.
Troy native Jessica Garrity, owner and founder of juice bar Collar City Cold Pressed, lives on local foods. Nutrient-packed juices fueled her workday ever since she discovered the Troy Waterfront Farmers Market more than a decade ago.
“I was getting juice every day while I was at work, it was a huge part of living here. [Juicing] was an appealing practice, and my friends encouraged me to pursue it. I thought, well, I could do that,” Walters says. First, she ordered a commercial juicer on Craigslist—from Alaska. Next, she gathered ingredients from farmers at the market, making connections along the way. Finally, she took a complete leap of faith and dove head-first into juicing. “I basically approached the [Troy Waterfront Farmers Market] and applied to be a juice vendor.”
At first, Garrity operated at a very small scale. She didn’t have a facility. Samascott Orchards, Denison Farm, and other Hudson Valley growers brought her apples, carrots, and other produce washed and ready to go. Then, she made juices to order at the market. Around four years ago, she bought her first cold-press machine to ramp up production. Today, Collar City Cold Pressed serves fresh beverages in its permanent home at 137 2nd St.
The massive juicer—a Goodnature X1 Commercial Cold-Press Juicer, to be exact—changed the game entirely. Commercial-grade juicers can churn out a thousand bottles of juice per day. However, cold-pressing juices offer more benefits than just efficiency.
“There’s nothing wrong with a countertop juicer—which is known as a masticating juicer—and it’s what you see at most juice bars. They’re meant to produce a product that you drink right away. However, if you want to make juice to drink within a few days, cold-pressing is the only way to go,” Garrity explains.
First, she dumps in beets, carrots, and other fruits and vegetables into a grinder. The machine chops everything into smaller chunks. Next, they go into a big mesh bag. After than, her machine applies about 10,000 lbs of pressure to the bag. Collar City Cold Pressed extracts every drop of nutrient-rich juice from produce, without heating, treating, or pasteurizing anything. Typical blenders generate heat from friction and motor, spoiling nutrients in their purest form.
“When a grocery store sells juice wholesale, they’ll often market it as “cold-pressed.” Even if the juice is not pasteurized, it’s still treated with HPP. You lose certain enzymes in order to keep it shelf-stable for 20 days,” Garrity remarks. Collar City Cold Pressed exclusively sells juice directly to customers. Garrity only puts the freshest products on her shelf. Anything you can find at her downtown corner store was bottled less than 24 hours ago. Plus, her operation is zero-waste.
A small Vitamix sits on the font counter for customers to personalize juices and smoothies. However, the focal point of Collar City Cold Pressed is the ready-to-go bottled juices.
Collar City Cold Pressed regulars adopted Beauty and the Beet as the store’s flagship. This purple beverage packs tons of fresh beets, apples, carrots, and raw ginger from Rensselaer County’s Denison Farm. Other Troy favorites include a cold-pressed lemonade infused with fresh NY lavender from Lavenlair Farm and Super Green, a veggie-packed juice with spinach, celery, parsley, cucumber, apple, and lemon. Garrity crafts other colorful and clean lemonades. Varieties are blue in Mermaid Lemonade (from organic blue spirulina), purple in Elderberry Lemonade, and pink in Dragonfruit Lemonade.
For customers seeking to really jumpstart their immune systems, Garrity created Cold Killer. The most potent concoction at Collar City Cold Pressed, Cold Killer highlights ginger root, turmeric root, raw apple cider vinegar, local honey, and cayenne pepper. Drink this elixir straight for a shock to the senses, or add to hot tea for a smoother sensation.
“I’ve always liked to cook. I’ve always felt like I could make things taste good if I play around with them. Instead of strictly set recipes, I’m winging it with different produce each week,” Garrity explains. “Even if you have a recipe, depending on the time of year the cucumbers will be bigger or smaller, apples will yield varying amounts of juice, etc. It really comes down to learning the produce.”
Of course, seasonality also impacts the recipes. Collar City Cold Pressed sources 90 percent of its produce locally. During the warmer months, kale, cucumbers, and other produce grow in abundance. The Hudson Valley’s apple bounty rarely runs out. In the dead of winter, Garrity steers clear of certain ingredients that are less available locally.
Collar City Cold Pressed collaborates with other Hudson Valley businesses in more ways than just sourcing produce. Garrity hosts “Bagel Tuesdays,” curating breakfasts from across the Capital Region. Placid Baker, Uncommon Grounds, and Touchy Coffee all bring doughy bagels and zippy java to 2nd St. Garrity envisions Collar City Cold Pressed as more than a juice bar, but as its own microcosm of the Troy food scene.
The middle section of the store will become a thriving neighborhood market. Garrity has always dreamed of opening a general store, and serving Troy is her biggest passion. Above all, that service includes improving community health.
“My number one thing is that I am anti-diet culture and cleanse culture….If you’re going to start your day with a green juice or add a ton of vegetables to your diet, there’s never going to be anything bad about it,” Garrity says. “I hate the whole detox side of the food world. I say, drink this juice because it’s really good for you. It’s made from kale grown a mile away! It’s going to make you feel good and do great things for your body, but it also just tastes really good.”
Collar City Cold Pressed
137 2nd St, Troy