Meet the produce-loving masterminds behind Misfit Juicery
Yesterday, Vox interviewed Philip Wong (SFS ’15) and Ann Yang (SFS ’15) to learn more about Misfit Juicery: the new Georgetown startup that has been “fighting produce prejudice since 2014.” Although it just launched this past month, Misfit Juicery has already made a big name for itself on the Hilltop. Wong and Yang, the creative minds behind the fruitful endeavor, are committed to promoting awareness about produce waste through their socially conscious, cold-pressed juice products.
Vox: What was the inspiration behind the whole concept of Misfit Juicery?
Yang: We were in an entrepreneurship class last semester—and the idea started out as something very different—but we were both really interested in food insecurity. The idea sort of morphed into wanting to talk about agricultural waste, and the best add-value product that we could think of from cosmetically-damaged produce that wasn’t either too small or too big was cold-pressed juice. Then we both spent a summer in Rwanda, and when we came back, we sort of decided we were going to fully go for it. And that’s where we are today.
Vox: Very cool. How have you guys been attempting to get this business off the ground?
Wong: Right now, we are starting off with on-campus vendors like Hilltoss and MUG in the ICC, and then we will be expanding to UG as well as some other places. But there are two sides to this which are stabilizing supply chains and securing demand, and those are kind of happening simultaneously. Hopefully next semester, we will be able to move into D.C. proper and beyond campus to some coffee shops and Whole Foods as well.
Vox: And what about your long-term plans for the business?
Wong: There are other cities and other regions, like Austin, Texas seems like a really good place. The West Coast in general would also be really receptive to these sorts of things. Plus, I mean since it’s warmer there, it is easier to get a lot of fruit year-round.
Yang: So ultimately, a lot of things can happen and we are prepared for that, but we are acting like we are going to do this full-time after graduation until something tells us that we can’t.
Wong: Also, we would really like to see other companies that are working in the food-waste space have national success, which hasn’t really happened yet. So if we could pave the way for that, that would be really awesome.
Yang: We are just trying to make the point that this is not a niche product and that cosmetically damaged food isn’t just reserved for the socioeconomically disadvantaged, but that everyone should be eating it. And it’s okay that it is a premium product because there is so much food waste that it shouldn’t just be reserved—like there is obviously no scarcity of it.
Vox: You guys pretty much covered everything else I was going to ask, so my final question is if you could pick a juice that best fits your personality, which one would you pick?
Yang: *laughs* Out of our juice, or any juice?
Vox: Just out of your juices.
Yang: So I—it’s kind of the runt of all three flavors, but I am a big fan of Offbeet. Yeah … I don’t know why—
Wong: I would also say Offbeet, which is maybe why we are working together.
Yang: Yeah. *laughs*
Wong: I don’t know, beet is sort of this misunderstood vegetable. A lot of people are sort of grossed out by it to be honest, but you throw it in with apple and it comes out to be something that is … yes, it is certainly a vegetable, but it is also pretty tasty.
Yang: And it is by far the best name out of the three.
Personally, Vox is a huge fan of beets and would definitely be down to drink her daily dose of folate and manganese. Plus, as a proponent of social justice, Vox encourages her fellow Hoyas to sample these innovative, socially-responsible products that Misfit Juicery has to offer. And, of course, join the fight against produce prejudice to end the discrimination of these marginalized fruits and vegetables once and for all.
How do you like them (bruised) apples?
Photo: Misfit Juicery via misfitjuicery.co