One woman’s passion turned into a blossoming family business
**post was written almost a year ago but I still love this place so much! Go and get a juice cleanse to start 2016 off right!
Wild & Raw is a new superfood and juice bar located centrally, in Kensington. The modern yet welcoming space offers organic fresh-pressed juices, superfood smoothies and elixirs as well as some prepared raw gluten free, vegan meals and treats to take away or to eat in their café space. With 24 permanent drink offerings, they have an extensive menu ranging from hot elixirs with turmeric and chaga to fresh-pressed juices with kale, spirulina and coconut water.
It is a comfortable atmosphere and one that is definitely very unintimidating, even for the new superfood enthusiast. They are knowledgeable about health and wellness of the body and mind and want to share that passion with YYC. You can check out more information about their superfoods here.
Here is their story.
Jenn Silver has had a love of superfoods for a long time. The 25-year-old, and new mother of one, originally started Wild & Raw in 2012 with a good friend, Ashley Erick. They launched the business selling juices and smoothies out of the juice bar at Samadhi Yoga and Wellness Centre.
“[It] was super grass roots. We just started with $5,000 and launched the company within a month and just kind of went with it,” says Silver. “It was fun, we were only open for six months…we needed to expand and we weren’t really ready for that, and I don’t think Calgary was ready for that either.”
The duo closed down the bar and put Wild & Raw on the back burner and Erick moved to Australia to launch another healthy business.
Always interested in superfoods and their benefits for both body and mind, prior to opening Wild & Raw, Silver attended SAIT studying journalism and found she was always writing about superfoods, health and the holistic lifestyle for her classes.
“Journalism took me traveling some more, and I ended up in Bali and India and I discovered some kombucha bars and the raw cafes that they have there,” Silver says. “I just got so inspired by all the colours and the flavours and the tastes of the raw food world.”
She says the road to Wild & Raw has been a sort of magnification of her own journey into the unlimited world of health and healing. While Silver was going to SAIT she also worked at Planet Organic and learned about vitamins and holistic approaches there as well.
Silver says she was always looking for more information and was also inspired by the Light Cellar, a superfood elixir bar in Calgary that offers workshops on superfoods.
Wild & Raw was reborn in 2014, when Silver’s dad Brian and her brother Matt, read an article about the benefits of cold pressing and juice cleanses. They got so inspired, they decided it was time the family should start thinking about re-opening Wild & Raw.
“My dad and my brother read a magazine article about cold pressing and juice cleansing in MacLean’s Magazine and got really inspired… they came to me and said ‘do you think it’s a good time to start thinking about Wild & Raw again?’ I said ‘well, I’m pregnant but sure, let’s go with it,’” Silver says.
A few months later they had a space leased in Kensington and started working to build the business.
They opened in December 2014.
Wild & Raw is very much a family affair. Silver’s dad Brian and brother Matt are very involved in the business and were heavily involved in the design, equipment ordering and overall business plan development. They play an integral role in planning the direction of the business including growth, accounting and direction for expansion.
Silver has a four month old daughter, Aura Jade, and says it has been chaotic balancing new motherhood and a new business but, she says she’s also really enjoyed it. Wild & Raw now has an expanded menu from the early days at Samadhi Yoga and Wellness Centre.
They now have bone broth, Bulletproof coffee and draught kombucha on tap and have expanded to include the hot elixir drinks as well as some food items. Silver says people are especially interested in the Bulletproof and kombucha.
For all of the juices, elixirs and shakes, the ingredients are sourced locally as much as possible and are organic without GMO’s.
Some of the drinks on the menu include mushrooms like chaga and reishi, lion’s mane and cordyceps.
Silver says these are just some of the benefits of the different mushrooms:
- Reishi – great for stress
- Lions mane – memory and brain boosting
- Cordyceps – adrenal boosting and energy
“The mushrooms are all around good for immunity, high in antioxidants and have a lot of full spectrum, B vitamins.” Silver really likes mushroom teas, “I’ve been making a ‘mommy brain latte’,” she says, “It’s the only thing that helps me handle the business and my baby at the same time. We use chaga tea as a base in most of our elixirs.”
Silver’s recipe for the Mommy Brain Latte:
Coconut or Almond Mylk (we used in-house made sprouted almond mylk)
Lions Mane Instant Mushroom
Brain Octane Oil
Lions Mane for memory boosting and mental cognition
Chaga tea for bulletproof immunity
Brain Octane oil is 18x strength concentrated medium chain triglycerides for metabolism, mental cognition and enhanced performance.
Enza Ward, a local Registered Holistic Nutritionist and owner of Senzable Health agrees that mushrooms have many benefits. She encourages people to add mushrooms to their diet for all around good health and longevity.
“Mushrooms have been revered for centuries for their nutritional, healing, and supportive qualities and are becoming increasingly popular in North America,” Ward says. “Mushrooms have a long list of health benefits and recent studies have shown they improve weight management, increase vitamin D levels, promote immune function, increase vitamin B levels which help with energy and metabolism, support cardiovascular health, reduce inflammation, combat allergies, help balance blood sugar levels, and support the body’s detoxification mechanisms.”
Ward says she adds medicinal mushroom such as, chaga, reishi, cordyceps, turkey tail, lion’s mane, maitake and shiitake to soups, smoothies, protein shakes, coffee, tea and other beverages. She cautions that because mushrooms absorb and concentrate whatever matter they grow from, it is critical to only eat organically grown mushrooms thus avoiding heavy metals and water and air pollutants.
Wild & Raw gets all of the chaga from a direct source harvested in New Brunswick. They also get a lot of berries from the Saskatoon Farm, and a lot of their products come from the Calgary brand New Earth Organics. The kombucha is also made locally by True Buch and organic tea sourced from The Naked Leaf.
They also offer bulletproof coffee which is made with upgraded coffee beans, grass-fed organic butter and XCT oils. The bulletproof is designed to boost energy and mental performance.
Brittany Andrejcin, a student at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition and writer of the wellness blog North of Bloom, lives in the area and is always looking for new health-food spots.
“I feel fortunate to live in Kensington and have easy access to places like Wild & Raw,” Andrejcin says. “I think the location is perfect. This area is starting to feel like a hub for holistic health enthusiasts like myself.”
She started following Wild & Raw on Instagram as soon as she heard they were opening and has stopped in to try some elixirs.
Silver wants people to come in and learn about the products. She says she hopes to educate people about the benefits of superfoods but also wants to keep the atmosphere at Wild & Raw fun and light.
“We want to inspire people to get on their own level with health and food. There are so many avenues to take and there are so many belief systems. We are definitely here to educate but we don’t want to preach to people.”
For more information and to check out the menu, visit www.wildandraw.ca
You can also follow them on their social media channels for updates:
Wild & Raw is located at: 1119 Kensington Rd NW
Open: Monday – Saturday 10am – 8pm
Sunday 11am – 6pm