SIOUX CITY | Growing up in a family that included many vegetarians, Aaron Haase always understood the principles of healthy living.
But it was an entrepreneurial spirit that inspired the 24-year-old to open Fresh Cold Press, a new juice bar and health emporium at the Southern Hills Mall.
"I wanted to be my own boss," Haase said. "If I succeed, that's great. If I fail, this will be a terrific life lesson."
Specifically, the former construction worker wants to become an advocate for the cold-pressed juice movement.
So, what is cold-pressed juice, anyway?
Simply put, cold-pressed juices are made with a hydraulic press that uses thousands of pounds of pressure to extract the greatest amount of liquid from fresh fruits and vegetables.
That means there is no need for additional heat or oxygen for the process, so no nutrients are lost in the heat of traditional pasteurization process.
Even though the process has been around for years, famous cold-press juice fans like celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Kim Kardashian have brought it into the mainstream.
Chance are great that Haase hasn't been keeping up with the Kardashians. Instead, he's simply blown away by the way fresh cold-pressed juices taste.
"You can go to the supermarket and get carrot juice but it's from a concentrate," he explained. "They mix it with water, sugar and stuff like that. My juice is fresh and comes straight from the carrot. You'd be amazed at how sweet a carrot can be."
Haase knows a lot about fresh fruits and vegetables. His Fresh Cold Press business is an offshoot from the kiosk he and his family started at the Sioux City Farmer's Market.
"Our Farmer's Market business allowed us to start off small and see if there was a demand for fresh cold-pressed juices," he said. "It also brought us into contact with many local growers."
A favorable response from both customers and growers was all the encouragement that Haase needed.
Since opening a few weeks ago, Haase said he has already acquired a few regular customers wanting to sample fresh cold-pressed juices and smoothies.
"My personal favorite is one that mixes pineapple, carrot, grape and ginger into one juice," he said. "It's a quick way to get plenty of vitamins, minerals and oxidants in one setting."
Another popular juice is one consisting of kale, romaine lettuce, spinach and a sweet fruit of your choice.
"My aunt likes the green juice all by itself," Haase said. "However, most people prefer it a bit sweet."
For an extra dollar, he will add some activated charcoal to your juice or smoothie.
And why would we want to drink charcoal? According to Haase, activated charcoal gets rid of indigestion, diarrhea and cramps. It can also whiten teeth while removing bad toxins from your body.
In a comfortable store that has leather couches set up for customers, Haase said cold-pressed juices are for on-the-go people who want their daily requirements of fruits and veggies in a no-fuss drinkable form.
"Everyone is more health-conscious nowadays," he said. "Cold-pressed juices will give you energy and nutrition that will keep you moving all day long."