Organic smoothies, juices to smooth the way to downtown

Get Fresh, a new smoothie and juice bar, will open a location on Iowa Avenue this fall.


Katie Goodale

Get Fresh Cafe is seen on July 7, 2019. Get Fresh will serve smoothies and more.

Lauren Arzbaecher, Arts Reporter

The downtown food scene will soon receive a jolt of freshness with the addition of organic-pressed juices and smoothies.

Get Fresh, a juice and smoothie bar, will open a new downtown location on Iowa Avenue next to Iowa Book. The business has been offering its locally sourced products at the Iowa City Farmers’ Market since the summer of 2012.

“I was helping run the day-to-day operations of the Iowa City Farmers’ Market at the time,” Get Fresh founder Wendy Zimmermann said about her inspiration to start the business. “My kids would come and visit me while I was at work, and all there was to drink was lemonade and coffee. I had some experience in making juice for wellness or for people who had chronic illness, and I thought it would be a great addition to the offerings at the Farmers’ Market.”

The majority of ingredients in Get Fresh products come from local farms and producers, with only a few items that aren’t available in Iowa brought in from out of state, she said. Garden Oasis Farm and Buffalo Ridge Orchard, among other local farms, are some of the operations from which she gets her produce.

“It’s really important to me not only that things are organic but that I know the people who are producing my food,” Zimmermann said. “Just because something is certified organic doesn’t mean that they have really great sustainable practices. The people who I know who produce my food, I know that they care about what they do.”

When Get Fresh opened at the Iowa City Farmers’ Market, Zimmermann said, she bought produce from the farmers there and make the juices that day. To keep up with increasing demand from customers, the operation has begun making and bottling juices in advance of the market, and additionally, it opened a booth at the NewBo City Market in Cedar Rapids in the fall of 2012.

In addition to selling at local markets, New Pioneer Food Co-Op began stocking Get Fresh juices in its stores at the beginning of this year. Zimmermann was thrilled when Linda Fritz-Murphy, the New Pioneer purchasing manager, reached out.

“She prioritizes local produce, and that is a huge tenet for New Pioneer,” Fritz-Murphy said. “We saw a lot of synergy between the New Pioneer shopper and a Get Fresh shopper. It was just natural to bring her products to our shelves, and they’ve been doing really well.”

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The partnership between the two businesses has continued to expand, with a Get Fresh kiosk for made to order juices and smoothies coming to the Coralville Co-Op in the near future.

Get Fresh will be one of only a handful of stores downtown that offers solely organic foods. For University of Iowa senior Sarah Poultney, having a quick and healthy option available so close to campus is exciting.

“It’s nice to see a place such as Get Fresh opening so my options aren’t just limited to fast food when I want to quickly grab something between classes,” she said.

The new store doesn’t have a specific opening date yet, but Zimmerman hopes it will be ready to open its doors before the fall semester begins. Even though the storefront will provide a permanent location for Get Fresh, she said she plans to continue selling at the Farmers’ Market.

“I love the Farmers’ Market, I wouldn’t give it up,” she said. “That is one of my favorite things, being there and making smoothies all day. I have friends and customers there, and it’s just my social time. I love connecting with people at the Farmers’ Market.”