The Ripe Stuff

all text and pictures by me.

A series of colorful bottles with tags that identify them as Piña Colada or Midday Hump probably don’t sound like the healthiest drinks one could ingest. However these colorful bottles contain the healthy juices that Rebecca Ferrel, 27, makes for “The Ripe Stuff” cleanse.

 The Ripe Stuff is a Boston based and produced juice cleanse that runs its operations from a shared kitchen space in the South Shore. She offers one day, two day and three day cleanses which are all made with fruit and vegetables bought from local distributors.

 “Having lived in New York, where juicing is huge I noticed that there wasn’t anyone in Boston producing locally made juice cleanses,” said Ferrel.

 After suffering a major stomach related health scare, Ferrel gave up her career in an ad agency in New York City and started taking nutrition courses. She started eating organic and going on the popular juice cleanses that everyone seemed to be doing in the city, to improve her health.

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These juice cleanses consist of fasting for a certain period of days and drinking nothing but freshly pressed juices made with multiple fruits and vegetables. Ferrel noticed that after these cleanses her digestive system felt better because fasting gave her stomach a chance to rest.

 Once she came back to Boston, Ferrel started taking integrative nutrition courses. Here she learned a few juice recipes. However she didn’t want her juices to contain a lot of sugar. This is why she started experimenting with different fruits and vegetables until she achieved the flavors she currently offers.

 “I try and use a one-to-two ratio of fruit versus vegetables,” she said. “This is how I make sure the sugar content doesn’t get too high.”

 The Ripe Stuff offers its customers the option of doing multiple types of cleanses such as the “Cocktail cleanse” where the juice’s flavors are inspired by cocktails such as the White Russian or the Mojito; or the corporate cleanse, where each juice has an office-inspired name like “Morning Joe” or “Happy Hour.” Ferrel also offers a 10% discount to all of those who decide to embark on a cleansing journey with five or more co-workers.

 “I wanted my cleanse to be more fun which is why I chose the names that I did for my juices,” said Ferrel.

 She also believes that maintaining a relationship with the customer has played a really big role in the success of her company. Ferrel tries to engage as much as possible with her customers by sending them emails and encouraging feedback. The entrepreneur is also open to modifying recipes according to her customer’s preferences.

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“I also allow people to order a la carte, which means that the customer gets to choose from a variety of flavors and pick the six they like the most,” said Ferrel. “This is really popular among repeat customers.”

 In the two years that the company has been around, its success continues to increase. Ferrel said she gets about 20 orders a day, which is a large number considering this is a four-person operation. What is even more impressive is that she delivers all of these juices personally in a jeep that has coolers on the back.

 “I have to make all of the deliveries myself because the juices are made about an hour before delivery,” she said. “Since they are completely unpasteurized and preservative- free, I have to make them at the very last minute.”

 She doesn’t keep any juices in store because they have a shelf life of about four days and would expire before they get to their owners. However it’s only because of the fact that her business is so local that she can allow herself to use this production method. She finds it really confusing how some cleanse companies can deliver nationwide while claiming not to add preservatives to the juices.

 However some of her clients feel skeptical about the whole health aspect of cleansing. Bridget Little, 23, a student from Emerson College tried The Ripe Stuff because she wanted to get healthy after her spring break vacation. But the results weren’t quite what she expected.

 “I did this cleanse because I wanted to detox,” said Little. “But after three days of fasting and drinking just juice I felt exhausted, starved and even worse than when I started.”

 When asked about the starvation aspect of her cleanse, Ferrel replied, “This juice diet contains 1,200 calories a day. You are not really starving yourself; the only thing you might miss is chewing solid food.”

Rebecca

To corroborate this she explained that about 20 pounds of produce go into every day’s worth of juice. Normally you wouldn’t consume even half of that in your daily diet. She also emphasized that even though weight loss is a common side effect of juicing (some of her clients have lost up to 10 pounds while doing the cleanse) this is not the goal of a cleanse.

 Ferrell gets all of her produce from a wholesaler in Charlestown. Here she can buy all of her produce, including specialty items in bulk. She also tries to incorporate seasonal fruits and vegetables as often as possible. Every few months she offers a new “seasonal cleanse” the current one being “Spring Into Action.”

 “I try not to take more than 40 orders a week but after The Ripe Stuff was featured in the Metro, things have been NUTS,” she said. “Our orders have literally tripled.”

When asked about the future she said that she would like to incorporate products other than juice cleanses into her menu. She would like to offer smoothies and healthy food selections so “The Ripe Stuff” won’t only be about cleansing but about promoting healthy eating habits.

“Eventually I would like to open a brick and mortar shop,” Ferrel said. “I would continue the delivery service but a brick and mortar shop would allow my customers to make The Ripe Stuff a lifestyle rather than a sporadic thing.” Although she plans on expanding, she would like her company’s growth to be slow and controlled in order to maintain the quality of her products.

The Brkfst Clb

When you pass by the red truck with the fork-and-knife logo called The Brkfst Clb, you’d probably think, “Oh, another food truck.” Yet when you look closely, you realize the boxes that look like Chinese-takeout are actually filled with T-shirts, and that what they sell are not hot dogs or doughnuts but inspiration.

Taymullah Abdur-Rahman founded the Brkfst Clb while he was working as a counselor in a prison system. Abdur-Rahman hires troubled kids to work at his clothing truck and tells them if in four weeks he notices any progress in their behavior, then they will become entrepreneurs/ sales affiliates for his truck. If their behavior improves significantly, they get to design and sell their own t-shirts and get 35% of what they sell.

“Yeah, so some people enroll kids in dance classes or baseball classes in order to reform them. But this will only work until they want money for a date or to hang out with their friends,” says Abdur-Rahman. “And these activities don’t help them make money so that’s when they start doing illegal things.”

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Abdur-Rahman had been working at a prison for seven years when he noticed that every year the population grew noticeably younger. He also had a small t-shirt business on the side, so he decided to combine his two ventures to create something that would benefit the kids he worked with and also expand his t-shirt business. So he turned his business into an LLC and started recruiting kids.

This is how he came up with the concept of a truck that sold t-shirts and would serve as a business for these teens, who wouldn’t normally do productive things during their free time.

“I didn’t want smart and able children to spend 60 years in jail,” says Abdur-Rahman. “Most of the kids in the prison system were very articulate, they just made some really bad choices that made them end up in jail.”

He decided that the best method was to address this issue before it was too late and the kids were already in jail. That’s when he decided to start counseling at an intervention center for kids caught with weapons at public schools instead of working at a prison. This way he could use the truck as a prevention system rather than a rehabilitation program.

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“I see this program as a more approachable form of counseling; these kids come from really rough realities and sitting around, being lectured about the consequences of their actions isn’t going to change the fact that jail is one of the places where they feel the safest,” says Abdur-Rahman.

The way this program works is that Abdur-Rahman teaches the kids the same life skills he used to teach in prison, with the difference that they are working for something tangible. This man’s main goal is to get their minds wrapped around the future, not to think, “I’m just going to sell some t-shirts.” He teaches them to see this as a business opportunity, and to look at the bigger picture and set goals for themselves. Depending on their enthusiasm during this four-week period, Abdur-Rahman can see if these kids are committed or not before he sends them out to sell shirts.

“It’s a company where we teach kids how to be salesmen; they can sell door to door, at sports events at church, on the Internet, wherever they need and this is a good way for them to earn some money and make a living,” says Abdur-Rahman

The name of the truck is an acronym that stands for “Bringing Resources and Knowledge For Solutions Today.” What Abdur-Rahman intends people to understand by this is that behind what seems like a cute idea are real life stories and real issues. His intention isn’t to make anyone a millionaire; he just wants to teach these kids real life skills.

“That’s where the acronym comes from,” says Abdur-Rahman, “since this program prevents smart children from ending up badly.”

truck

This entrepreneur chose to locate his store inside of a truck because he needed a way to move around the city. It is also easier for the kids to come to a truck because they don’t feel intimidated about the fact that they have to go to an actual address.

So far, the outcome has been considerably successful. Some of these kids would have probably continued to get involved in criminal activities and might have ended up in jail.

“But thanks to this program you have some of them even filling out applications for college, and including their experiences with The Brkfst Clb in their resumes,” he says.

Abdur-Rahman recruits about a dozen kids a month, but he doesn’t like to have more than 10 kids on the truck at a time. Most of them work or him for about a three month period, yet he gives them the option of working for him until they move on to something else.

Once the kids are enrolled in the program he gives them a credit card reader for their smartphones and enough inventory for them to sell. This way, there is no physical money involved and since the credit card readers are linked to his phone, he can monitor who’s selling and who’s not.

“I track all of the sales and who made them, and every two weeks I cut them a check for what they have sold,” says Abdur-Rahman.

Event though he has achieved so much in such a short period of time, Abdur-Rahman thinks he can’t call this business a success yet because the program has only been around for about a year. “I would need about five years in order to tell you if my vision materialized,” says Abdur-Rahman. “For the time being I’m just focusing on expanding this program throughout the rest of Massachusetts and even other states in the Northeast.”

Find What You Love And Let It Kill You

Given that valentine’s day is just around the corner I have decided to compile a series of non-conventional love-inspired pictures. Consider this a carefully curated gallery of love quotes, images and sentiments.

favorite what ifBecause a missed opportunity is a chapter in your life you will never get to read. This year aim todo everything your heart desires, because there is nothing worse than wondering: What if?

ghostswallflower

A quote from one of my all time favourite books (and is now a movie): The Perks Of Being A Wallflower. You deserve better, never settle.

yogaMotivation to start doing more yoga!

andy wiseAndy Warhol

woodyFor those who didn’t know, Tom Hanks was the voice behind our favourite cowboy Woody.

drunk

buddha

so perfect

bob marley

Source: amelialyon.net via Adriana on Pinterest

Oh come on, I had to post at least one mushy picture.

Non-conventional love is the most passionate of them all.

Non-conventional love is the most passionate of them all.

I hope my post gave you a new perspective about Valentine’s Day.

New Year’s Resolutions To Keep In Mind

Although this is a commencement speech, I wanted to take advantage of the fact that tomorrow is New Year’s eve and put this speech on my blog. This year, instead of making empty resolutions such as going more to the gym and losing those 10 extra pounds I decided to make more substantial resolutions, such as the ones in this video. I hope you take something away from this speech, I know its been five years since the first time I heard it yet it still teaches me something new every time.

But trust me on the sunscreen.

Happy New Year.

Foreign Concept Girl.

Pastry Shop Guide

Ass all my lovely followers know, I am a HUGE HUGE HUGE foodie. And this semester I had to do a video project for one of my journalism classes where I chose a topic and reported about it. Naturally I decided to make it about food (because it would be really immoral to turn in a video about how much I like going to clubs). I decided to concentrate on North End dining, and while you may be thinking, she already did a post about dining in the North End in february, this time I decided to focus on all the Italian pastry shops in this lovely area. Click on my video to see what I believe are the best Italian pastry shoppes in the North End. There is even a surprise appearance by me, making it the first time you will ever hear me talking!

Bon Apetit!

Boston Christmas Events

As the weather gets colder, and the year draws to an end, most of us ‘tis the season to be naughty. This means calling in sick to work more often than were supposed to and getting drunk during our huge family gatherings. However, with the amount of Christmas events Boston’s offering this year, you might want to reconsider your highly anticipated holiday bender and actually go out and enjoy the city’s holiday cheer. From shopping, to ice skating to unusual versions of the nutcracker here is a list of events you might want to check out if you decide to get creative with your Christmas plans.

We understand you’re tired of seeing The Nutcracker every Christmas, but this year you can watch a more modern version of this classic. For the 5th consecutive year The Slutcracker will be playing at The Somerville theatre (55 Davis Sq.) and it’s a burlesque version of our beloved story except this one contains strippers instead of proper well-to-do little girls. We don’t feel we need to mention this, but The Slutcracker is most definitely not kid friendly so for those of you who still wish to enjoy The Nutcracker with your little ones, Tchaikovsky’s original ballet version of the story will be playing through Dec 31st. at the Boston Opera House (539 Washington St.).

As for other Christmas shows, for three days only (Dec 26th-28th) you can get in touch with your cheesy side and go see probably the largest amount of glitter and hairspray you will ever see in your life. That’s right, this year Boston will have its own version of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular- Rockettes included!! The show will be performed at the Citi Performing Arts Center (270 Tremont Street) so even if you are stuck in Boston for the holidays, you can feel almost as if you had a vacation in New York (right). Given we are on the subject of cheesy, you can also head to Symphony Hall (301 Massachusetts Av.) and check out the Boston Pops holiday special, which plays through Dec. 26th and features a special appearance by none other than Saint Nick himself.

Now we assume after seeing the old bearded guy, you would get in the mood for some Christmas shopping. What better place to do so than in the SOWA Holiday Market (74 Union Park St.), which is the Christmas version of the famous SOWA open market and features more than 80 local artisans and designers. Think of it as a two for one deal, not only will you get amazing gifts for you and your loved ones, but you will also be helping the local economy grow! Happy Holidays to all our loyal readers. DWN.

The Unmarked Door

When one walks through the North End-specifically Hanover street- it is impossible not to get distracted with the amount of restaurants, bars and pastry shops the neighborhood has to offer. It’s hard to believe that a place so small (is less than 1 sq mile big) can offer so many sources of entertainment. One particularly charming thing about this neighborhood is its European-style coffeehouses, where you buy your coffee and actually sit down to drink it. Does this not sound like a marvelous idea? Well in the north end you can find a wide range of cafes to do that, including the famous Caffe Vittoria (290 Hanover street) which was the first Italian coffee house to open in Boston.

However, before serving the best espresso in Boston, Caffe Vittoria was prohibition era’s biggest and most important speakeasy in the city. Here, for the nifty price of $2000, you could buy a key that represented a membership to the place. This gave you the right to booze and debate with your fellow members til’ the sun came up. Now how exactly did Caffe Vittoria work during prohibition? Well Stanza dei Sigari once used to be a part of Caffe Vittoria, and its members would walk in through the espresso bar and go through a narrow set of stairs to the basement of Sigari, which served as the Caffe’s speakeasy. Even today, when you visit Sigari you can see that it has multiple hidden exits that served as escape ways in case the police ever raided the place.

Although it is no longer prohibition and one can drink freely, both Caffe Vittoria and Stanza dei Sigari continue to exist. Caffe Vittoria is not one of Boston’s most popular coffeehouses which is really popular among local politicians, and Stanza dei Sigari is an cigar bar and one of the few places in Boston where you can still smoke indoors.