Monday, January 26, 2015

PINT In Season Review and Q&A.

On a recent Sunday afternoon, I received a home delivery containing a sample of fresh almond milk, a whole blended smoothie, and a cold pressed juice. The samples were delivered by Hannah, one of the proprietors of the local company PINT In Season. Hannah reached out to ask for a review of PINT as part of the January Challenge {to drink a healthy smoothie at least five days per week and avoid food products containing added sugars}. I can't think of a better way to kick off the last week of the January Challenge. I could not be happier to throw my support behind a growing Chicago company! It doesn't hurt that the products I tasted were absolutely delicious, and the fact that PINT In Season uses only organic ingredients. The company also uses primarily local produce whenever possible. PINT's homepage says it best: where green is king + all growing things have a place.

Meet Hannah & Devin:

PINT In Season offers delivery subscriptions in the Chicago area, at a variety of price points depending on the number of juice or smoothie pints your household needs. Almond milk is also available on its own, or as an add-on to another order. {Juices, smoothies, and almond milk are delivered in the sweetest glass jars}. The whole blended smoothie I tried included candy beets, cranberries, kale, red cabbage, spinach, and apple. It had a strong, sweet, and earthy beet flavor and a nice texture and consistency. The cold pressed juice included romaine, kale, spinach, parsley, and apple. This was a delicious green juice, with just enough sweetness from the apple. I could drink it every morning!

Lastly, the almond milk I sampled had a nutty and sweet, slightly vanilla-y flavor. For milk products, I generally only drink almond milk and have tried a variety of brands. I have to tell you this almond milk is by far the best I have ever tasted! I tried it straight up, then added it to my morning coffee. Since I gave up adding sugary sweeteners to my morning cup, this almond milk was the perfect "clean" way to add extra flavor and sweetness.

I asked Hannah and Devin to answer a few questions about their company. You can connect with PINT In Season on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram - read on to learn more!

When was PINT founded and what is the inspiration behind the company?
Pint has been in the works for almost a year now but we officially launched in October with our first Blends and Juices donated for an Anti-Pesticide Action group event held at Garfield Park Conservatory. The inspiration for the company couldn’t be simpler: let's use the best quality organic produce we can get from the closest possible place we can get it. We put health and nutrition over fads and trends.

How does PINT define "whole blended" and "cold pressed"?
“Whole Blended” is the name we chose to distance ourselves from common ingredients people associate with smoothies. We blend up whole fruits and vegetables with no added dairy or sugar and these whole blends are loaded with the produce’s original fiber. “Cold Pressed” is the juicing method we chose to use for our juices. The ingredients are pressed between two flat surfaces at high pressure which extracts the most amount of juice while exposing it to the least amount of air, which oxidizes juice faster and reduces the nutritional benefits greatly. Cold pressing avoids this and turns out a better quality product.

I love that PINT uses organic ingredients. Where is the produce sourced from?
We source our produce in a number of ways. One of which is buying through a wholesaler who specializes in only selling foods grown and harvested in the Midwest. The name of that company is “Local Foods.” They have done a great job connecting Chicago chefs and restaurants with Midwest growers and producers. We also continue to pound the pavement curating our own network of farmers directly in and around Chicago. We have a couple of great partnerships on the horizon for this growing season. It’s hard to beat produce grown and picked for us that morning. 

How long do the smoothies and juices last since they are raw and untreated?
The drinks last optimally for 3 days in the fridge. You can still definitely drink them after that for up to 5 days but the nutritional vitality starts to taper off after 3 days. We set up our subscription model so that when you purchase anything above the 3 juice package {9, 12, 18, 24} you never have a product older than 48 hours. We always want you to have the freshest drink possible. The almond milk is good for 5-7 days.

How often does PINT change juice recipes?
We are still figuring this part out since this is our first year through all the seasons. We always have at least 12 recipes in our pocket so our customers don’t get the same thing. The available ingredients change every few weeks so the menu gets reworked again when ingredients either come or go out of season. We have it set up this way so no one gets in a rut of just drinking one thing all the time - this way you are definitely getting balanced nutrition! 

How can Chicago residents get PINT? Are products only available for delivery, and if so, what is the delivery area? 
Our website is the only way for people to become customers {}. We don’t have a storefront because we want to save some money on overhead costs so we can pass on better prices to our customers and still deliver quality ingredients that go way beyond the average juice bar. We are working on setting up pickup points for certain neighborhoods. Those will be coming soon as we start to network with other businesses who are willing to collaborate with us. 

Do you offer recycling or re-use of the glass jars for regular customers?
We do recycle and reuse our jars! That is the driving factor behind why we chose the mason jar. You hear a lot of people talking about how the plastic bottles they use are the “most recyclable form of plastic” well in our opinion that's not much to brag about. The usability of glass is forever, you manufacture it once and that's it. Even if you recycle a plastic bottle you are still collecting, sorting, melting, forming, and shipping a plastic bottle that will never really biodegrade. For all of those reasons, and so many more, we use glass.

What is PINT's most popular product?
We are getting some great feedback on our blends, mostly from our customers who are really looking to fit in healthy eating habits into their daily routines. They have told us that it makes getting their vegetables in dead simple. We have also been hearing a lot of really incredible buzz around our almond milk! We have some great plans for that on the horizon as well.

{I was not compensated to write this post and all opinions are my own. I received three samples from Pint to facilitate my review. Thanks for supporting the companies I believe in!}

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