My discovery about the celery juice phenomenon started about two months ago, when I was vacationing in Barcelona, Spain. I took a day trip to visit some grower friends in Murcia, Spain. As we were walking their celery field, my host said, “Can you believe that celery market? We got a call from a U.S. celery grower friend of ours this morning commenting on how crazy the celery market has gotten.” (Translation: The prices and demand for celery are both very high.)
I didn’t give it a second thought.
Then, about two weeks ago, I happened to pick up a copy of the Long Beach Business Journal and read an interview of the CEO of a local company. I was so inspired by his comments that I wrote him a personal note. A few days later, I received an email from him, thanking me for sending him the article. He closed his email by saying, “Frieda’s looks like a great operation and given the boom in wellness awareness, should be well positioned for growth. Drinking my 20 oz. of celery juice as I type this…”
Half–joking, I just had to write back and ask, “I wonder what’s up with the celery juice trend, anyway?”
My new pen pal, David, wrote back: “It has a lot to do with the awareness of Anthony William – Medical Medium…”
So I googled the Medical Medium, saw he wrote a book on Celery Juicing, but ultimately after a few minutes, I turned back to my work.
And then, last Thursday, I was up in Salinas attending the retirement party for an industry friend and I ran into one of the U.S. largest vegetable growers, David Gill. David looked fantastic! I mean, his eyes were clear, his skin looked great, and he actually looked younger. So, I ask him, “What are you doing these days? You look great.”
You aren’t going to believe what he told me: “I’ve been drinking 16 oz. of celery juice every morning for the last 6 weeks!” Seriously? I asked him what inspired him to do that. He said, “Well, I am a large celery grower, and someone told me about the health benefits of celery juice, so I figured I should try it. After all, I know where to get fresh celery!”
So I literally came home this weekend and went online to do my research. I ordered a copy of his book Medical Medium Celery Juice.
Thanks to Amazon Prime, it arrived on Sunday morning, and I quickly thumbed through the first few chapters of the book. The more I read, the more I thought: drinking 16 oz. of celery juice first thing every morning can’t be bad. So off I went to buy a juicer and a few large heads of organic celery.
In concept, Anthony William professes that drinking 16 oz. of freshly juiced celery each morning, on an empty stomach, acts a bit like a detox. He tells you not to have anything else to eat or drink for 30 minutes (so my morning coffee just has to wait).
Of course, in his book, he lists a variety of conditions that the celery juice will help minimize.
So, if you’re wondering why there seems to be a shortage of celery bunches at your favorite grocery store, part of the reason is because juicing-obsessed consumers nationwide are literally buying up everything they can get! Plus, grower David Gill did disclose that there have been some growing and weather challenges with celery, which has also limited supplies. It’s a bit of a perfect storm of celery demand.
If you’re one of those millions of consumers who are drinking celery juice each morning, I’d love to hear from you!
And if you just can’t fathom the flavor of celery juice first thing in the morning, you’ll be amused to know my daughter Sophia texted me this morning, “I don’t know what I expected celery juice to taste like, but it’s gross.”
Yes, I recruited her to join me on my celery juice journey.
Okay, let me start by saying: When you are into healthy eating or at least want to make healthier choices, you are always reading food labels. It’s shocking to see what “stuff” gets put into food to make it taste good. It’s usually excessive sodium, high-fructose corn syrup, and other things I cannot pronounce or spell.
So, when I was at a produce trade show last year and saw this new snack food Peatos, I was intrigued.
And, they were delicious. I thought: Clever! A “healthy” alternative to Cheetos. And that was it. I saw them at my local supermarket and occasionally bought them. And since I went vegan, I have been delighted by their “Fiery Hot” flavor product.
End of story.
Then, I was reviewing the guest list for a CEO Summit I was attending the day before the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholders Meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, on May 3. There on the list was the name Nick Desai, CEO of Snack It Forward LLC, World Peas Brand, i.e., the creator of Peatos. My favorite snack.
OMG. OMG. OMG.
I put Nick’s name on my short list of people to be sure and meet. And when I got to the meeting, the orange Peatos logo on his white shirt (and the shirts of his two young daughters along with him) made him easy to identify. (We produce people tend to wear our logo shirts everywhere… Shameless promotion.)
Nick and I immediately struck up a conversation at the break.
I asked him how the heck he started the company. He told me he was in the investment banking world and decided it was too stressful, so in 2007 he decided he wanted to get into real business and found the opportunity to buy the company Snack It Forward. We both laughed about it being a tossup of which is more stressful: investment banking or owning your own (food) company.
Fast forward to 2018. Nick got rid of his manufacturing plant and stopped selling the licensed Sunkist trail mixes his company was known for.
Being of Indian descent, and being raised in a vegetarian lifestyle, he was perplexed why American vegetarian snacks weren’t made of pulses (beans, lentils, fava beans, etc.). They are a great source of protein, and he noticed that most snack foods in the U.S. were mostly carbs and fat. So, he developed a pulse-based snack that resembled the craveable Cheetos snack.
We talked about the challenges of attending trade shows, doing sampling, getting co-packers, signing confidentiality agreements with manufacturers, pursuing retail clients, getting that first big sale and then the 24/7 nature of the food business.
We both love it! And because he brought his two daughters with him, we developed a more personal connection about the realities of balancing work/family. I’m guessing his wife was enjoying some downtime back in SoCal.
I was intrigued and full of admiration that Nick was able to transform his life and his company by looking back at his roots. His family is from India, and his wife is vegetarian. He’s a smart business guy, but he wanted a change that was more real to him.
So, thank you, Nick, for taking the plunge into healthier snack foods. I’m grateful that his first retail customer was Kroger, and from what he told me, his line of Peatos is available nationwide in all Kroger stores in the produce department. He also told me that I could purchase Peatos on Amazon… But that’s another story.
I bet you have both the Uber and the Lyft apps on your smartphone. And when you go out of town, you might no longer feel like you need to rent a car, because you can just take an Uber from the airport to your hotel. And from your hotel to business meetings, dinner events and more.
And when you are at home, if you are going out after work, or out for a nice dinner, and plan to drink alcoholic beverages, you might no longer worry about one person being the DD, the designated driver. You will just Uber to/from your evening venue. No more worries about getting a DUI.
A few years ago, I wrote about how my 95-year-old mother discovered Go Go Grandparent, an add-on service from Lyft, which allows those without smart phones to call and get the same ride-sharing service. You can read about it here. It’s been a game changer for my mom, because it allows her to have the same freedom to come and go, even though she no longer drives. (If you have parents, grandparents or friends who should not drive, I highly recommend you check this service out.)
And of course, we’ve all heard about Uber Eats, which you can use to get delivery of prepared food.
But this weekend, I learned of yet another new use for Uber/Lyft that is saving companies hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
My sister Jackie told me that during her travels, she has noticed that many hotels no longer have vans that offer airport pickup. Instead, if you have an overnight reservation, the hotel will call you an Uber, which will pick you up at the airport and take you to your hotel. Paid for by the hotel! Hotels have found that they not only save the cost of owning and maintaining an airport van, but they no longer have to tie up an employee to drive back and forth in the van. With the labor shortage that many cities experience, they can use that person at the hotel.
And in fact, the same thing is happening at car dealerships. When you drop off your car for service, many dealerships have a van which will deliver you back to your home or office, saving you the cost of renting a car. Here in SoCal, I’ve just learned that some car dealerships are offering an Uber or Lyft ride back to your work. On them!
I even met a business consultant who lives up in West Los Angeles. He proudly told me a few years ago he sold his car. And he now takes an Uber to all of his business meetings. He said, in addition to saving the cost of maintaining and fueling a vehicle, he now can use the travel time between meetings to work, make phone calls, etc. In a place like LA, where traffic comes in many shades of nightmare, the thought of being able to make your travel time productive sounds like heaven to me.
Talking about benefitting from the gig economy?! Next time you are planning an evening out, attending a meeting during peak traffic times or when you’re too exhausted to drive…think about a different way of getting to your destination.
First, let me start by saying I have not, nor will I ever think about, hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. The Pacific Crest Trail is 2,650 miles long, spans from Mexico to Canada, across two mountain ranges, and yes, there are people who actually walk the entire length of it.
And, I am proud and amazed to share that my nephew, Frankie Wiggins (my sister Jackie’s son) hiked the entire PCT last year. He departed in mid-April and finished his epic 142-day journey on September 15. Frankie has a degree in Mechanical Engineering (from Cal Poly SLO), and I think the analytical and problem-solving skills he learned in college were honed and perfected on the PCT. He planned out, on a day-by-day basis, just how long he would hike each day, where he would get water, how much his pack would weigh during different portions of the trip, plus dozens of more calculations and incredibly detailed items. Think of your most detailed excel spreadsheet or Gantt chart, on steroids.
Fortunately, my sister posted updates periodically on Facebook, so we knew he was alive! Here is a photo of him during the course of the hike.
In case you want to know what it’s like to walk that far, you can do what I did and read the book Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Chery Strayed. It was coincidental that I read that book in early 2018, right before Frankie started his hike, but it sure made the trials and tribulations of such a long and lonely trek relatable to me. (BTW – the Movie, Wild, starring Reese Witherspoon is just a tease. It’s really worth it to read or listen to the entire book. And then you can find out why/how the author changed her last name to Strayed.)
Several times during Frankie’s 142-day epic journey, my sister Jackie and her husband Doug would meet up with Frankie on the trail. Once they joined him to attend a friend’s wedding, but sometimes it was just so Frankie could experience a hot shower and get new shoes. At one point, Doug met up with Frankie in a Northern California town called Downieville, in Sierra County, population 282. It’s basically in the middle of nowhere, but it has a post office that is used by many PCT hikers to send and receive mail and supply boxes.
And, Downieville is the home of The Mountain Messenger, famed as California’s Oldest Weekly Newspaper.
And I have to say, my brother-in-law Doug is obsessed with The Mountain Messenger. So obsessed in fact that he told me that he ordered a one-year subscription for me as my birthday present last October. I smiled and really didn’t know what to say. A newspaper from a town with a population of less than 300 people? Seriously, what would it possibly do for me?
Well, first I got this letter from the Editor and Publisher:
I chuckled out loud. What a great writing style and tongue-in-cheek humor.
Then I got my first paper. It’s usually six pages and a quick read. And surprisingly, I have to admit that I love it! The writers are so humorous and light-hearted, even when they are talking about politics (which they do regularly). They poke fun at everyone, whether it is the sheriff, elected state or county officials, or business owners. This week was about the first day of fishing season—I loved the story and I have never fished!
In this day and age of divisiveness, lack of tolerance and many people taking themselves too seriously, I find the light-hearted nature of this paper is sometimes the highlight of my reading week. And in case you want to see what all the fun is about, a one-year subscription for an out-of-county person is $35.00. You can send money to Mountain Messenger at P.O. Drawer A, Downieville 95936 or call Don at (530) 289-3262 with credit card in hand.
You will enjoy the weekly chuckles.