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The Scarlet & Black

The Purple Cucumber Brings Smoothie Scene to Grinnell



Health-conscious locavores have a new smoothie sipping spot to check out. The Purple Cucumber is a quirky smoothie shop focused on fresh, local and vegan food. Melissa Lewis, the founder of the Purple Cucumber, was sick and tired of the overly processed, relatively unhealthy options, especially after going through a 12-month integrative nutrition course.

Purple Cucumber - Eric Mistry
Photo by Eric Mistry ’14


“The basic principle of [integrative nutrition] is to avoid the frankenfoods … the additive-ridden, mutated food that we’ve been forced to eat because we have no knowledge of what’s really going on,” Lewis explained.

As a parent, Lewis often encountered trouble finding nutritious and healthy foods in Grinnell, especially when time was short.

“The options here for healthy food are pretty limited, especially if you’re looking for a quick snack that isn’t going to break the bank,” she said.

Consequently, Lewis set about designing a smoothie shop that would serve healthful, nutritious and real ingredients in an environmentally and socially responsible way. However, throughout the process of preparing to open her business, Lewis kept in mind an overarching attitude of having fun.

“One of the things that annoyed me about super health conscious people is how overly serious they can get. Let’s have fun with our food,” she said.

The Purple Cucumber features a vast menu of healthy options with unique personalities. The main focus is on drinks, although a few tasty homemade snacks grace the menu, as well. The smoothie selection is creative, if slightly overwhelming, on first exposure. Luckily, that overwhelming feeling is simply a reaction to the impulse of everything sounding delicious. The menu has more than 25 different smoothie options, but custom smoothies are also available. The pre-designed smoothies, with funny names, such as “Joe Bananas,” “Luau In My Mouth,” and “Just Beat It” are extremely fresh and flavorful.

“We’re kind of quirky and off the wall with some of our items’ names. We have a lot of satire humor,” Lewis said.

Photo by Eric Mistry ’14

In addition to its delectable offerings, the business was intended to maintain environmental consciousness, as well as support other local and community businesses and suppliers—a feat  verified by the Purple Cucumber’s menu. Much of the food is locally sourced and the Purple Cucumber plans to be a local Community Supported Agriculture pickup point soon.

Also, the shop has a “Rockin’ the Reusable” promotion, which gives any customer who brings in a reusable container a discount on their purchase. They even sell large mason jars that fit the smoothies perfectly in order help a customer begin his or her own reusable collection.

The Purple Cucumber blends the local foods movement, environmentalism, humor and delicious smoothies into an extremely enjoyable experience. Though it is tough to decide exactly which smoothie to enjoy, the fresh ingredients and creative combinations ensure that it should be fantastic.


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    I love the Info...I want that pink one!!Apr 7, 2014 at 11:44 am

    Such a cool place..