Looking under the hood at NYC’s juiciest food truck

Juicing can be labor intensive, but in a tiny mobile space, the challenges multiply. We learn how New York City's favorite juice truck handles the tight squeeze.

Green Pirate Juice TruckWhen you pick up a Hot Pink Limeade from the Green Pirate Juice Truck—drinking up apples, lemons, limes, cucumbers and beets in every sip—you’ll probably be thinking about how healthy-scrumptious it is. Not about the incredible process that goes into cramming all of that fresh produce into a 16-ounce earth-friendly cup.

Juicing in a tiny, mobile space has “lots and lots of logistical challenges,” says Deborah Smith, who debuted the truck five years ago and now manages its operations as it trolls the neighborhoods of Brooklyn and lower Manhattan.

The first is elbow room. Since prepping fruits and veggies requires counter space, Deborah has to first make a pit stop at a commissary in Brooklyn, where she washes, slices, and dices the maximum amount of produce that will fit in the truck.

Deborah Smith
Deborah Smith, owner of the Green Pirate Juice Truck

Sometimes it’s still not enough. “On a really busy day at the park, we sell between 250 and 300 juices,” she says. “So we have backup deliveries made to the truck to keep the juice coming.”

Inside, everything is organized assembly-line style next to one of the three juicers she owns—a Santos, a Smart Chef, and, her favorite, a Nutrifaster.

Physical labor is also a challenge. Cases of produce are heavy—and so is the pulp that’s leftover at the end of each day. Smith stores the juicy remnants in giant buckets, which she drops off at the farmer’s market once a week. Lucky farmers then truck it upstate and add it to their compost piles.

It sounds exhausting, but Smith and her team have energy to spare. She can often be seen drawing customers in with her enthusiasm, offering them a free sample.

“I love turning people on to juice,” she says, “just to see the look on their face when they love it!”

Where to find the Green Pirate Juice Truck: On Saturdays, at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn and on Sundays in Williamsburg. Tuesdays and Thursdays in Soho. For exact locations, follow the truck on twitter at @JuicePirate or visit www.green-pirate.com

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