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With the temperatures dropping, I bet that you wish you were on a beach or even on a tropical getaway. While we can’t change the weather, our Business Spotlight of the week, Ohana Juice, gives us a taste of paradise from the comfort of Racine and Kenosha Counties.

Sometimes it’s hard to find drinks that taste good but also fuel our bodies. Ohana Juice is an organic, sustainable, and healthy juice bar. These beverages are cold-pressed and made locally in Southeastern Wisconsin by Sara Merkes. Not only is she a small business owner, but she is also a wife, mother, and nurse. She gets by with the help of her family, especially her husband and children.

“The juice is only as good as the person juicing and I take pride in my product: cold-pressed juice,” says Merkes.

Ohana Juice at Kenosha Harbor Market Credit: Ohana Juice

From the Islands to the Dairyland

Ohana Juice began because of a passion within herself. Now through her cold-pressed juicing business, she has the desire to help others with health and wellness. When she landed a nursing contract in Hawaii, the idea for Ohana Juice was born and has become a hit in southeastern Wisconsin.

“I have always had a huge passion for health and wellness. I have always been passionate about food and what good quality food can do for us. There is a saying, ‘let food be thy medicine,’ that I truly believe in,” says the local business owner.

A piece of Hawaii lives on in Merkes’ business. After making the decision to move back to the mainland to be with her father, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer, she knew the Hawaiian culture would always stick with her.

“We wanted to be there with him with our son so he would be able to make memories with his Papa. So ‘Ohana’ means family, and that doesn’t just mean blood; it means people you connect with,” says Merkes. “I like to refer to my customers as my Ohana.”

Focused on Sustainable & Healthy Products

Hard work and devotion go into each bottle of the wide variety of juices offered, as Merkes creates the recipes and personally presses the nutritional blends. There is no heat involved in her process which allows 100% of the nutrients to stay ‘alive.’ Consumers are able to get maximum amounts of benefits from the fruits and vegetables because of this process.

“Drinking cold-pressed juice is a great way to get a lot of nutrients in our system quickly; our bodies absorb it almost instantly like a sponge.  There are roughly 2–3 pounds of fruits and vegetables in one 17-ounce bottle of juice. No water, sugar, or preservatives are added. It’s 100% real, which is why the shelf life isn’t very long.  Cold-pressed juice should be drunk within 3-5 days; drinking it within that time frame ensures you get 100% of the benefits the juices have to offer,” Merkes noted. 

To reduce waste, Merkes’ line of products comes sustainably packaged in glass bottles.

Merkes states, “I like to tell my Ohana that I’m basically like the milkman, but the juice girl. You order juice, I bring you juice and take your clean bottles back to wash and sanitize them. Together we can reduce waste. I offer a credit towards their next juice order for every clean, intact bottle returned.”

Her menu can be found on the Ohana Juice Facebook and Instagram pages.

Staying Healthy During the Holidays

There are a variety of blends offered by Ohana Juices. This holiday season, Merkes is offering a selection of different winter specials.

Her personal favorite juice is the “Golden Hour,” which is a sweet and spicy juice – perfect for supporting immune systems.

These original recipe juices will soon be stocked at Santosha Yoga in Kenosha. In addition, Ohana Juice appears weekly at the Kenosha HarborMarket. In the past, she’s been a vendor at Low Daily in Burlington.

Contact Ohana Juice by email at ohanajuicesara@gmail.com, or through social media to place an order.

The Holidays in Racine County

Read stories from the Racine County Eye about what’s happening around the holidays in Racine:


Do you have a nominee for the Business Spotlight?

Contact Emma Widmar by email to nominate a local business for our weekly Business Spotlight at ewidmar@racinecountyeye.com.


Rating: 5 out of 5.
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