Venice

Fall 2015

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LIQUID COURAGE Root + Leaf juice company's founder Michael Moore delivers on health + taste. BY LINDA BROCKMAN PORTRAIT BY EDUARDO SCHNEIDER 98 Venice Baring a sleeve of tattoos, Michael Moore says each design represents something meaningful. The ink on his left wrist says "Proverbs 16:26" to remind him of this passage in Scripture: "The hungry man will always succeed because his desire to eat will make him work." In Moore's case, he is driven by a hunger to fulfill his potential, along with a thirst for the perfect bottle of fruit and vegetable juice. As the founder of Fort Lauderdale-based Root + Leaf juice company, Moore says he is living out his dream. "My passion for creating great consumer experiences, leaving smiles on people's faces and being able to provide job opportunities to others is what I 'eat,'" Moore says. "That is what wakes me up at 2:30 some mornings and forces me to continue to push the boundaries." Last year, while pursuing a career in sports marketing, Moore, 29, witnessed the positive effect of juicing. His grandfather, who had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma (cancer formed by malignant plasma cells) two years prior, had seen a marked difference in his health after a consistent diet of fresh juice. "He was not the greatest eater," Moore says. "My mother started juicing beets for him, and his symptoms lessened. I thought, 'There's something to this.' I had been looking for the right opportunity all of my life, and here it was." While Moore does not purport to have a cure for cancer, he believes there is a direct relationship between your body and what you feed it. The product's name comes from "root," the source of the juice, and "leaf" (an acronym for Love Eliminates All Fears), the fruit of hard work. "People don't believe that healthy things also taste good," says Root + Leaf marketing director Chuck Forbes. "We wanted to change that. Mike spent eight months getting each recipe perfect so that no single flavor was too potent and that it became smooth to the palate across the board. Hence, one of our slogans is 'Taste the Difference.'" Another slogan is "Believe," which is inspired by individuals who Moore feels have deep beliefs in their abilities to forge ahead: tech innovators Steve Jobs and Elon Musk; music entrepreneurs Kanye West and Jay Z; and contemporary artist Daniel Arsham. With his marketing skills and $200, Moore began selling Root + Leaf in Brew Urban Cafe in March, and it became a hit. With so many competitors out there, he knew that the bottle had to stand out. He added details, such as the tactile label with its raised logo and the City of Fort Lauderdale symbol, a nod to the company's "roots." The juice is available online (rootleafco.com), via delivery to Broward and Palm Beach counties, and in person at Brew Urban Cafe, W Fort Lauderdale, the men's clothing boutique The Archives, Rhythm & Vine, Warsaw Coffee Company, Parlour Vegan Bakery, Elevate Training & Fitness and Living Green market. Eventually, Moore plans to open a one-stop store that sells juices as well as healthy snacks, apparel and other accouterments. The bottles range from $10 to $11.50 for 13 ounces of cold-pasteurized juice, bottled in Miami. This process allows the product to retain the health benefits of fresh juice for a month. Creative juice combinations include: pineapple and mango; kale, cucumber, apple and lemon; and sweet potato, carrot and apple. "By using a cold-pressure process, we are able to maintain more vitamins and minerals than other processes," Moore says. "The consumer can enjoy a drink that has all the qualities of a fresh-pressed juice while knowing they are safe from microbials that may be found in other juices." It's a high-quality convenience product, Moore says, who justifies the price by pointing out that he uses local, organic produce. "People eat so much processed foods. They're willing to throw down $12 for a cocktail at the bar," he says. "Here is a quality product that is good for you. We think it is well worth it." v

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