Kristina Carrillo-Bucaram's empire is about to get juicy.
The raw food queen, who's better known as the founder of the nonprofit Rawfully Organic Co-op, launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter Wednesday to raise seed money to sprout a sister company: The FullyRaw Juice.
Carrillo-Bucaram is seeking $35,000 to bankroll commercial juicers, refrigeration buckets, crates, tables, bottles, labels, design a new website, secure organic certifications and build the infrastructure necessary to set up operations, particularly as the type of juice she's after isn't one that has a long shelf life. Cold-pressed, raw and organic juices made with mostly locally sourced, seasonal ingredients retain their nutritional goodness for 72 hours only. After that, oxidation takes over — and no one wants rotten juice.
These aren't your run-of-the-mill nectars found in the refrigerated sections of most grocers. Carrillo-Bucaram says that by cold-pressing fruits and vegetables, which means no heat is applied to squeeze out liquid, all of the natural minerals, enzymes and nutrients remain intact. The result is an untreated, unpasteurized, chemical-free and delicate product that isn't just sustenance, but an extension of Carrillo-Bucaram's philosophy that health and wellness begins with a raw, plant-based diet — a lifestyle she champions also through another side venture, FullyRaw.
To be fully raw, Carrillo-Bucaram explains, one has to consume what she dubs as "living foods."
She tested the potations at the Rawfully Organic Co-op's farmers markets for one week. After selling hundreds of bottles, she knew she had stumbled upon a winning recipe. The juices are crafted from the same ingredients the 10,000 registered co-op members pick up at the community farmers market in one of its three locations — on Tuesdays at the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center, on Thursdays at the Nottingham Forest Club and on Saturdays on Bissonett between Edloe and Buffalo Speedway — or at satellite drop-off locations in The Woodlands, Spring, Fall Creek, Kingwood, Memorial, Clear Lake and League City.
FullyRaw Juice will begin selling in Houston, yet the business plans calls for expansion into the Texas and national markets.
At the time of writing, the FullyRaw Juice Project had gathered $6,500 in support from 98 investors. However, any funds pledged through Kickstarter will only be granted if the campaign is successful by June 28.