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Jul. 31, 2021 | Saturday
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New NOTL juice bar uses two pounds of produce per bottle
Karrie Galvin (middle) and her family of cooks. (Bernard Lansbergen)

Bernard Lansbergen
The Lake Report

Renowned chef Karrie Galvin has worn many different hats throughout her career and now she has started a new chapter by opening Orchard, a juice and smoothie bar on Victoria Street in Old Town.

“I believe in the juice, I really do,” says Galvin. “I believe we need to get those vitamins into us.”

Galvin can’t pinpoint the exact moment she discovered her love for juice but she has always been a devoted juicer. “When you cook, you’re constantly using a juicer to make dressings. It’s just a beautiful fresh flavour.”

Credit the pandemic for pushing her to start a juice and smoothie bar.

“I thought we needed something really fresh and healthy,” says Galvin, who is also a cookbook author. “I think we all need to do some healing. Food is kind of my religion and I believe in getting people to eat more veggies. “

She thinks that the easiest way to accomplish this is by drinking juice. “2.2 pounds of produce goes into one of our juices so when you see this massive bowl of kale put into a 60-ounce bottle, it’s like you would never eat that,” but in juice form you can.

The menu of Orchard features inventive drinks like hibiscus water and charcoal lemonade but juices and smoothies aren’t the only thing the store offers.

Galvin, who was pastry chef at Canoe restaurant in Toronto, is also using her expertise to make and sell pies, bread and even gourmet ice cream sandwiches.

“I actually wasn’t going to do a bakery but we got this extra space and I thought, ‘I’ll do a little bit of a bakery and see how it goes,’ ” adding that the pies have been extremely popular.

Getting a new business up and running in the middle of a pandemic wasn’t easy.

“It was crazy. We were trying to do the renovations and I had signed the lease right before the (second) lockdown and then trying to do renovations … even if you just want a screw you got to fill out a form. All the equipment was two months late and then we thought we could open earlier but then the third lockdown happened.”

But those setbacks were just the latest challenge for Galvin. Over the years she worked all around the world as a chef before opening the Riverhouse Company, she and her husband Jeff Kirker opened their own farm-to-table fine dining restaurant in Lakefield, Ont.

“It was very stressful. When you are doing fine dining you’re always trying to push yourself, you’re always trying to come up with the newest thing. All I did was work. That was it, I was obsessed with it.”

When her daughter Arwyn was born Galvin says she realized she needed to shift gears.

“You got one chance to raise your kids,” she says. “I actually got out of cheffing for a while. I only worked around my daughter’s schedule and I was like ‘life is so much better,’ living that healthier life and not doing Red Bulls and working 18-hour days.”

During this time Galvin did a stint working in television, mainly the Food Network Canada, but she says it wasn’t very fulfilling. “It’s all smoke and mirrors. I would make (the food) taste good but no one would be eating it. We all just cook for that little reaction, just that little smile on someone’s face can make your day.”

After permanently closing her restaurant in Lakefield she moved to NOTL and started working as a chef in the Oban Inn. It’s here that she met a lot of people that have followed her into her latest venture with Orchard. “It truly is like (a family), my family of cooks.”

When Galvin came up with the idea for Orchard she decided to create two separate companies: The Riverhouse Company for the baking side of things and the Niagara Juice Company for the juices and the smoothies.

“What we’re trying to approach here is a bit of balance. One is happiness and ice cream and yum-yums” and the other one is about being good to yourself.

It’s an ambitious endeavour but Galvin says she thrives on the challenge.

“I like to push myself, I like to change it up a little. I can’t imagine doing the same thing over and over again. I think it’s just to keep life interesting. If you’re gonna live it, you might as well live it to its fullest.”

It’s this same ethos she is carrying forward with Orchard. “For now it just seems like a really great spot to be – and there’s no greasy pots either.”