Kate Linehan: On the juice
June 16, 2011
ASPEN – Kate Linehan has no trouble remembering the juice she would have at Zele cafe at the end of a run, during her days of training for the Aspen High School soccer team. “Apple zinger. I can taste it, how good it was,” she said.
Probably the memory is so distinct because Linehan, at 27, has had juice on her lips ever since. In Ketchum, Idaho, in her late teens, she landed a job at the juice bar at Akasha Organics, and the hiring had some mystical overtones: The application process consisted of undergoing a Vedic astrology reading (Linehan is a Virgo, deemed a good match for Akasha), and confirming that she was a vegan (which she was at the time).
The position led to taking care of a woman with stage 4 cancer. The patient was on the Gerson Therapy, a regimen that meant drinking 16 juices a day, which Linehan prepared and served according to a strict protocol.
While living in Paonia three years ago, her old soccer coach gave her a gift: some high-end juicing equipment. Linehan put it to use, running a juice stand at Paonia’s Mountain Harvest Festival. The operation was a hit, and Linehan transferred the business to Aspen, setting up shop first inside of Specialty Foods of Aspen, then last summer at the Aspen Saturday Market, and in the courtyard of the Ute City Bank Building, where since this past winter, she has run her Honeybee Organic Juice Bar.
Linehan’s resume also includes a stint, when she was fresh out of high school, at Zele. Oddly, it was at a time when the cafe had discontinued its juice service – “I was a barista. I just did coffee,” she said – and obviously that wasn’t going to work, as Linehan was looking for something more connected to local products and healthful eating. After reading “The Fifth Sacred Thing,” an “ecotopian” novel about sustainable culture, she began looking for an education in permaculture. She found just the thing with a two-week course at Carbondale’s Sustainable Settings.
“The course rocked my world. Life-changing,” she said. “The book got me thinking, but being on the farm, it felt like it was where I always wanted to be – that sense of purpose I’d been looking for since the day I left high school.”
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The next step was to put what she’d learned into action. She moved to Paonia, where she worked on a series of farms – and found out that farming was intensely difficult work. When she did the juice stand, for just one weekend, it was another head-turning experience.
“I had tons of produce – beets, carrots, apples – did really well. And there were almost no rules – I used a bucket for hand-washing,” she said. “It felt great; it felt encouraging. This was something I could actually do. The juice thing was a way to support the farmers.” (It is also a way to support the chickens she keeps on her father’s property. “They go nuts for the pulp,” Linehan said of her system for making feed out of waste. “You see them devour a 50-gallon compost every couple of days.”)
Her booth at the Aspen Saturday Market last summer was another boost. “People would ask, Where are you during the week?” she said. When she found the Ute City Bank spot, where a coffee bar had previously operated, she had her answer – if only temporarily. The space where she operates the Honeybee requires the unanimous consent of her retail neighbors – high-end shoe stores, galleries and the like. So far, so good: the Honeybee was recently granted its second six-month permit, and Linehan’s Saturday Market booth this summer – with Linehan making smoothies using a bicycle-powered blender – will be right out in front of the space.
Still, she remains on the look-out for a permanent space that would allow expansion into pressed juices, and raw snacks and salads. If history has taught us anything, it’s that Linehan will find some way of making juice.