David had been given only four months to live.
He had dismissed the symptoms, the coughing up blood, the tightness in his chest, but they couldn't be ignored any longer. Esophageal cancer, a devastating diagnosis for anyone. But David was determined to go out on his own terms, and, wanting to make the most of his last days, refused chemotherapy.
After researching alternative health treatments, he and his daughter, Christina Prevost, discovered juicing as one way to get David the micronutrients he needed. He ended up living another nine months. "He was able to get all his affairs in order. He was able to maintain a certain quality of life. It just meant we had a lot more time, and it was quality time," explained Prevost, who said her father, an avid outdoorsman, was only bedridden during the final week of his life. "It was the way he would've wanted."
By the time David passed, Prevost was spending hours a day preparing large quantities of cold-pressed juice that was the only source of nutrition her father consumed with his difficulty swallowing whole foods. She soon realized others could benefit from the nutrient-rich product she was slaving over in her kitchen,
"His death was painful, but we knew we had started something positive and wanted to carry on," Prevost explained.
So Prevost quit her nursing job for good and launched herself headlong into a new career path as co-founder, in 2013, of The Juicery Co.
"We started real small," she said. "We had little cold-press juicers and we couldn't keep up with the demand. It really just ran away on us and grew really quickly."
From their humble beginnings in a small Lonsdale shop, Prevost and her daughter have since expanded into four locations across Metro Vancouver and one organic farm in Pemberton.
The move into agriculture has allowed Prevost to have greater control over each step of the production process, ensuring every bottle that hits the shelves meets her high standards.
"There's a lot more control, a lot more quality and freshness. And it cuts back on our carbon footprint," she said.
The transition from nurse to entrepreneur to small-town farmer has been "an interesting journey" for Prevost, who admits she had a lot to learn when she first purchased a small property abutting Bandit Farms last year. Fortunately, her neighbour was more than willing to share his wisdom.
"This year we're doubling (our production capacity), and that's where Riley (Johnson of Bandit Farms) stepped in," Prevost said. "He was doing his own stuff, but we kept leaning on him as a neighbour; 'Riley, can you help us? Can you help us?'
"So we hired him this year as our farm manager and he's taken a break from doing his own thing."
With Johnson's help, the farm is now home to a plethora of fresh produce: beets, carrots, kale, cucumbers, celery, cilantro and collard greens. His helping hand is indicative of the tightknit group of farmers that operate in Pemberton, Prevost said.
"We're lucky there's a really great organic farming community up here. If there's questions, then we can ask each other and people are very willing to share information."
When The Juicery Co. started four years ago, there was only one other juicing shop in all of Vancouver. Today, it's hard to walk more than a block in stretchy yoga pants without finding one.
The abundance of competitors doesn't bother Prevost one bit. "We're happy with it," she said. "With the more mainstream juicing becomes, the more popular it becomes, and the more people are educated and know about it." With that greater level of awareness, Prevost said more people — not just those with medical conditions — are taking advantage of the many nutritional benefits juicing provides.
"It's a good way to get the (recommended three to four daily servings of fruit or vegetables) because in each of our bottles is probably a minimum of two pounds of organic produce. To sit down and eat a two-pound salad is almost impossible," she said with a laugh.
"A lot of people are picking up on the fact that you don't need pills and that you can sometimes just turn to what's already available."
Because of the regulations around raw products, The Juicery Co.'s line of cold-pressed juices and nut mylk is only available in Metro Vancouver, but you can check out one of their shops in Lonsdale, Kitsilano, Edgemont or on Main Street. To learn more, visit www.thejuiceryco.ca.