By Eileen Weber
Those words were emphatically stated by the team who launched GrassRXoots, an organic food and juice shop on Sound Beach Avenue in Greenwich. But since we last reported about them two years ago, there have been a few changes.
The company temporarily closed its retail operation while it restructured and recently reopened in the lobby of Halo Studios in New Canaan. And, it couldn’t be a more perfect spot.
Halo Studios is a health and wellness center dedicated to your physical well-being. From Tai Chi and Yoga to personal training and nutritional counseling, your body gets a workout from a wide variety of independent professionals. But sometimes that body needs to be nourished, too. That’s where Grass Rxoots, the brainchild of Dr. Steven Murphy and CEO and “creative strategist” Rhoby Schempp, comes in. It’s like one-stop shopping for a captive audience under the same roof.
While their location may have changed, their food quality and menu have not. They still focus on organic fruits and vegetables with very little cooking involved. They’ve got everything you need to re-energize: juices, salads, chia pudding, groat oatmeal, perfect for the healthy eater and those committed to vegan, vegetarian, raw, and paleo diets.
The juices—like their bestselling “Natural High” with celery, romaine lettuce, lacinato kale, spinach, apple, and lemon—are cold-pressed for maximum “life” in the taste. You can even order them in bulk on their web site and have them delivered. All of their products are gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free (with the exception of a few dishes as indicated on the label), dairy-free, GMO free, Kosher, and as they like to put it, “made with love.” Essentially, they’ve taken all the potential allergens out of the food. There’s no guesswork involved. No need to wonder if there are any hidden ingredients that will make you feel ill. There just aren’t any.
“The recipes are meant for good eating so you don’t have to worry about it,” said Schempp. “We’ve taken out every known allergen.”
Grass Rxoots uses an FDA-approved co-packer in New Jersey who manufacturers their organic juices and delivers them to the New Canaan location once a week. The juices are also HAACP—Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points—certified. This means that strict handling processes are in place to meet the FDA’s food safety standards.
Chef Miles Reaves can be seen preparing food in Grass Rxoot’s open kitchen, an intentional design element which underscores the freshness of their food. Reaves received a traditional culinary education at Johnson & Wales and gained restaurant experience at The Dressing Room in Westport. Healthy eating is second nature to him by default, though. He was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 15. While sugar, butter, and salt were foundation ingredients at cooking school, he prefers using the pure flavors of the food to speak for themselves.
If you ask Reaves, now 22, what his favorite dish is, he’ll tell you it’s the kale quinoa pesto. “It balances savory and sweet,” he said, “which is what I shoot for.”
Only open two months in this location, they’ve already succeeded in establishing a following. Grass Rxoots has customers who come in just for their food—not necessarily because they have an appointment at Halo. They work with what’s in season, have a no-waste philosophy, and try to use every component of their food to keep costs down. Even so, the price for organic food will translate to the customer. That doesn’t mean, however, that their prices are unreasonable.
“If this is new food for you, it’s pricey,” noted Schempp. “But if you’re used to eating like this, it’s reasonable.”
And, it is. Take, for example, the veggie taco. At $7.99, you get two large leaves of romaine lettuce filled with mushrooms, asparagus, carrots, peppers, onion, parsley, cilantro, ginger, and garlic with a side sauce made of cider vinegar, sunflower oil and cashews. You can eat it as a salad or use the lettuce as the wrap, ssam style. See, it’s low-carb, too!
All their products have the ingredients prominently displayed and there are fewer than ten on any given dish. There are no polysyllabic words you can’t pronounce, no preservatives, additives, or chemicals. Simple food prepared simply.
Fairfield Green Food Guide had the pleasure of dining at their open, spa-like little alcove complete with a water wall. We had the spicy queso kale chips, the veggie taco, the cranberry orange slaw, along with the Natural High and Master Cleanse juices made with organic lemon juice and a kick of cayenne.
We’ve had the kale chips before and loved them. These are not your run-of-the-mill dehydrated chips with a marginal kale flavor. These are downright addictive. With a little cheesy kick and a delectable crunch, you can’t put these suckers down.
The veggie taco, one of the few items that actually contain nuts, is a lovely alternative to a vegetable wrap. It was very filling without giving that uncomfortable too-full feeling. Like Thanksgiving, without the turkey and stuffing.
The cranberry orange slaw was bright, crisp, and refreshing. The citrus gave it a nice tang while the cranberries rounded it out with a sweet chewiness. The red cabbage provided some lusty crunch. But the real winner? The fresh mint. It just made the whole dish just a little bit different than your typical slaw.
The Natural High juice is a sumptuous blend of green apple and cucumber with a slight punch of ginger. It’s thirst quenching as well as something you could sip all day long. On the way home, I grabbed the Master Cleanse. It was the perfect end to a great lunch. The fresh lemon juice and cayenne were a great mix of tart and heat. I left feeling satiated and clean.
The next time you’re in New Canaan, stop on by and pick up a few dishes to enjoy there or on the go. Everything is packaged and ready to be taken out, a service just right for eaters on the run. If you don’t live nearby, get to know them at the May 31 Sustainable Food and Farm Expo at Audubon Greenwich. They will be exhibiting, sharing tastings, and selling snacks and lunch.
Grass Rxoots is located inside Halo Studios at 45 Grove Street in New Canaan, where there is ample garage parking. They are open 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday only, but weekend hours will come soon. Visit them online at grassrxoots.com, call 203-920-1880, or e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find out what seasonal ingredients are on the menu by following them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.