When you think about Krog Street Market (KSM) you probably think of dumplings, pastries and sandwiches but did you know there’s a spot to get your smoothie and juice fix, too? Nature’s Garden Express (NGE) opened its stall earlier this year, giving health-minded market goers a lighter option. There’s more than meets the eye with this smoothie and juice bar — NGE aims to make it easier to buy organic produce with their online grocery store.
Nature’s Garden Express is the brainchild of founders Scott Frishman and Michael Kirk. The two were post-grad roommates and, in 2009, realized that good, organic produce was hard to come by in the Southeast. Thus, the idea of an “online farmers market” was born — a place where people could purchase organic produce and have it delivered to their doors. According to Scott, their goal was to “let the farmers do what they do best” and let Nature’s Garden Express serve as an outlet for them.
Since 2009, NGE has grown to offer 850 items on their website — and not just produce. Online shoppers also can snag yogurt, milk, eggs, peanut butter, bread and other staples. But the best part about NGE is the subscription boxes.
How does the subscription work?
Shoppers are given several options when it comes to subscription boxes. For the solo shopper, there’s a “tiny” box ($28), which feeds 1-2 people, going all the way up to the “large” box that serves a family of four ($55). Then you decide if you want a box that is fruit, veggie or a mixture of both. For the locavores, there’s a “locals only” box. Unlike traditional Community Supported Agriculture boxes, it’s not such a mystery what you’ll find each week – NGE posts the menu for the week on Friday and allows for substitutions, as well as flexibility in how often you receive your box. And, if you want to purchase other grocery items, you can add them on when you order.
I tried out the small, mixed produce box and was impressed at how many goodies were packed into it. Items in my box: three apples, a bunch of bananas, celery, a pound of broccoli, cucumbers, grapefruits, kale, romaine lettuce, yellow onion, Valencia oranges, plums, potatoes and tomatoes. So. Many. Veggies! Since it was a small box, it would ideally serve two to three people but since I live in a two-person household, I’d probably opt for the tiny box next time.
You can have your box delivered or, for a discounted price, you can pick it up at the KSM stall. While there, try one of NGE’s smoothies or juices. The juices are NGE’S most recent venture and Scott takes pride in the creative blends. “They’re organic and cold-pressed, which leaves more nutrients and enzymes and gives the juices a longer shelf life,” he explains.
The unique juice blends include Beet It, an earthy, sweet and tart combination of beets, apples, celery, spinach, lemon and gingko biloba. Not just delicious, it’s also “immune boosting, anti-inflammatory and aids with digestion.” If that’s not your style, give the Pina Verde a try. This elixir blends cucumber, pineapple, apple, cilantro, lime and jalapeño. It’s also anti-inflammatory with the added benefits of detoxifying and nausea relief. Juices are $7 for 12 ounces or $9 for 16 ounces.
NGE’s smoothies are more like meals in a cup – priced as such at $7 for 16 ounces or $9 for 24 ounces. Like the juices, the smoothies are creative concoctions with blends like the Banana Chai with banana, almond milk, dates and chai spices, or the Yo La Mango with mango, pineapple, coconut, strawberry, orange, banana and goji berry. Up the health factor by adding in a variety of “superfoods.” For the uninitiated, superfoods are nutrient-packed foods that offer high doses of antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins and minerals. Health-laden ingredients include such things as maca powder, bee pollen, spirulina and matcha.
The stall also has a mini health food store setup with local brands like Georgia Grinders peanut butter, Bee Wild Honey and Batdorf & Bronson coffee on display. According to Scott, they plan on adding grab-and-go sandwiches and salads for Beltline goers on the move.
Nature Garden Express' Kokomo Smoothie redux
- ½ cup coconut milk
- 1 lime juiced
- 4 basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar or regular sugar
- ½ cup frozen blueberries
- ½ cup frozen blackberries
- ¼ cup shredded coconut
- ½ cup of ice
- Place ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!
NGE may not replace all your grocery shopping needs – you probably can’t find everything you want in their online store – but it certainly does make life a bit easier. Who doesn’t want to cut down on trips to the grocery store? If buying organic sometimes seems like a hassle (farmers markets are early in the morning, after all), this is a convenient option to consider. Bonus points for free shipping!
Experiment with more recipes by checking out SB’s other delicious meal ideas!