Living foods, growing ambitions

NOURISHING RELATIONSHIP: Judi and Carl Murphy put their shared love of living foods to work at their West Asheville juice bar. Photo by Micah Wilkins
NOURISHING RELATIONSHIP: Judi and Carl Murphy put their shared love of living foods to work at their West Asheville juice bar. Photo by Micah Wilkins

As one man sits down at the bar, Judi Murphy greets him with a smile. “Hey, happy 2014,” she says. “I haven’t seen you in a while.” He smiles back at her. “I’m waiting for the end of January to celebrate the Chinese New Year,” he says. According to the Chinese calendar, this is the Year of the Horse, a year said to be filled with excitement, adventures and surprises.

With another customer, Judi and Carl, who have been married for over 20 years, joke about their first date. Carl didn’t have enough money for the cab ride home when they were both living in New York City, so they had to take the bus. To Judi, this was not so charming, but Carl felt differently. “I thought it was great,” he says as he peels a large stack of bananas for future smoothies and juices. Judi laughs.

The Murphys have owned and operated the Farmacy Juice Bar in West Asheville for almost four years, and they seem to be naturals at it. They talk to customers as if they’re friends, and they personalize each drink, giving you a little taste of your order first, asking you if you want more ginger or lemon. Since it opened, the business, which Judi calls “the little juice bar that could,” has been steadily growing. The Farmacy grew from being open two days a week to its current schedule of four days a week.

But when Carl and Judi moved here from Oakland, Calif., they never intended to start a juice bar. “We had friends who coaxed us into it,” Judi says. What they really had in mind when they moved to Asheville was to start a living-foods lifestyle center. “Over 20 years ago we got into this lifestyle,” Carl says. “To put it simply, we made a mission that what we’re here to do is to help people get healthy without the use of unnecessary drugs and surgery.”

Today they fulfill this mission through their offerings at the juice bar. With their juices, tonics and elixirs, the Murphys focus on nourishing, raw ingredients that are easy for the body to digest. From Adam’s Apple juice made with beets and lemon, to the True Blue smoothie with blueberries, pumpkin, sunflower, lavender and other spices, Judi says, “we want your medicine to taste good.”

Most of their ingredients come from the West Village Market, and nearly all of the produce is organic. But what is most important to Carl and Judi is that the food is “living.” Living foods are usually vegan, organic and uncooked. Or, according to Carl, living foods means that you are keeping the foods “as close to the way as Mother Nature and the earth provided it.” They also soak, dehydrate, ferment and sprout foods to promote probiotics and enzymes that help with digestion.

Carl and Judi adopted this living foods lifestyle after working with Dr. Ann Wigmore, who is considered the mother of local and living foods. After learning from Wigmore, the Murphys became teachers at her living foods institute in Puerto Rico. “She made a very big imprint on our lives,” Carl says. “The lessons we learned there, we’ve incorporated into our lives.”

After operating their juice bar for almost four years, Carl and Judi are ready to expand this living-foods lifestyle to reach more people through an education center. “We want people to be able to learn this so they can do it themselves,” says Judi. Carl adds, “People could learn skills they could take home with them for the rest of their lives.”

The education center would be a large space in the Asheville area where guests would be able to stay for a few days or even a few weeks. Carl and Judi hope to offer a myriad of classes and programs that go beyond just living foods: Yoga, meditation, tai chi, acupuncture and other activities would also be available. “We hope to lessen your stress level through all methods,” says Judi, “but the main focus being living-foods.” Carl imagines a garden on-site where they would grow their own food.

The Murphys’ goal with the education center is to help people maintain their good health and prevent sicknesses down the line. “We follow what Dr. Wigmore told us,” says Carl. “We help eliminate toxicity in the body and build up efficiency in the body. If you have the tools, the body will heal itself.”

Carl and Judi hope to open the education center by next summer once they find responsible people to manage the juice bar for them while they are pursuing their dream. In the Year of the Horse, Judi says, they will be “grabbing hold of those reins.”

Carl and Judi Murphy are hosting a fundraiser for their living-foods center through Go Fund Me. To contribute to this project, go to gofundme.com/-Farmacy-Juice-Bar. Farmacy Juice Bar is inside the West Village Market, 771 Haywood Road. Hours are Wednesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.- 6 p.m.

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