Appetizer: Drought Juice

CREATIVE JUICES: Young siblings pool their talent and start a refreshing, healthful oasis at the Eastern Market called Drought Juice


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Caitlin James remembers her mother handing her a spoon, and telling her to “go dig in the dirt” in their Detroit backyard. As one of a family of five girls and a boy — all born to Beth and Mark James within a span of just seven and a half years — Caitlin and her siblings were content to explore the family yard with just spoons and their imaginations.

Now Caitlin and her look-alike sisters — Jane, Julie, Jessie, and Jenny — in their late 20s and early 30s and all avid yoga practitioners and advocates of a healthful lifestyle, have embarked on a more elaborate family project.

The idea to create a venture called Drought Juice sprang from a casual conversation between Jessie and Caitlin one evening last year while the two strolled along a Manhattan street in search of a place to get a raw-juice drink.

“What if we opened a juice bar and called it Drought?” Caitlin asked. That tiny seed of an idea would become a reality. The two sisters got together with the rest of their clan and started planning in earnest. “It’s like a big school project,” Caitlin says. “We’ve been preparing for this all our lives.”

Although Jessie and Caitlin share a small New York apartment (they commute back and forth to help out), they decided they wanted to launch their business in their hometown, and in a spot where their juices would be available to every segment of the population: The Eastern Market.

They get as much of their produce as they can from local, organic farmers and the juices are cold-pressed, with no preservatives, and made for immediate consumption as market patrons walk around.

To finance Drought, the James sisters went to kickstarter.com, an online fund platform for creative projects, to raise the $12,500 they needed to launch the business. (They reached their goal in March.) This season, the sisters plan to be among the specialty vendors in the market’s Shed No. 2, churning out fresh juices in two Norwalk juicers, a blender, and a commercial citrus juicer. They make their juices available to everyone, including those with SNAP bridge cards and Double Up Food Bucks in fresh-food accessibility programs.

The sisters, except for Jenny, who is the full-time Drought worker, will keep their day jobs. Jane is a yoga instructor, Julie a stay-at-home mother, Jessie a hair stylist, and Caitlin tutors children with special needs.


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