Jonesing for Juice

The owners of Sustained, Steven Jennings and Brett Calka, are inviting everyone in Kansas City to drink their fruits and vegetables

Raw. Organic. Cold-pressed. These are the words on the business cards of Steven Jennings and Brett Calka, owners of the new juice company, Sustained. To those words add “nutritious and delicious!” More than just a juice company, Sustained uses unique flavors, education and convenience to break us out of our over-processed food routines in the hopes of shaping healthier bodies, minds and lifestyles.

Kansas City Spaces: What first got you into creating juices?

Steven Jennings: It started about two years ago. I was working out a lot and looking for dietary supplements but everything was so synthetic. I wanted something natural. I love cooking so I started playing around with different ingredients, experimenting until I found my outlet with juice.

KCS: Do you have culinary backgrounds?

SJ: Well, I love to cook and Brett likes to eat. It’s perfect!

Brett Calka: I’m actually in my last year of med school so for me, Sustained is all about nutrition and providing something that’s lacking in other available products. There are so many additives and so much sugar in other juices on the market. We don’t add anything but flavor from herbs and spices.

KCS: Are your products meal substitutes or supplements?

SJ: Both. We have individual a la carte juices, fruit or vegetable cleanse options, and sport packs for people that like to hit up the gym and need more protein and amino acids.   

KCS: Where do you source your ingredients?

BC: We source locally as much as possible and all organic. We work with Sprouts during the colder months and then when the warmer season starts up, we venture out to City Market and other community farmers’ markets.

SJ: When we started Sustained a year ago, we discussed our produce needs with lots of local farmers, and now they’re calling saying, “Hey, we have some land for you!” That’s one of the best feelings ever. We won’t be limited; now we can start growing specific ingredients that we’ve struggled to source like nettles or gooseberries! 

Craft Cleanse

Sustained owners Brett Calka (left) and Steven Jennings (right). Sustained owners Brett Calka (left) and Steven Jennings (right).

Simply thinking about a cleanse causes many of us to suffer hunger pangs. But Jennings and Calka say that with the proper tools—like uber nutritious juices, expert instructions and a little moral support—cravings can be satisfied and complexion, mental clarity and metabolism can be improved with a juice cleanse. And with the guys at Sustained creating flavor combos reminiscent of a top-shelf craft cocktail, I just might be able to get onboard. One of their most popular juices is a blend of watermelon, grapefruit, African bird pepper and Himalayan salt and was inspired by Jennings’ childhood treat of salted watermelon. Other combinations include pineapple, cardamom and saffron (my personal favorite) or black plum, rosemary and coconut.

Meals on Wheels

To retain as much natural goodness as possible, Sustained juices are cold-pressed (meaning no fast-spinning metal blade oxidizes and destroys nutrients in the juice) and are not pasteurized, which would necessitate heating the juice to 280 degrees and would therefore damage vitamins, minerals and proteins in the process. Although nutritionally maximized, this method does have its drawbacks.

Since Sustained juices are not pasteurized, they have a much shorter shelf-life than we’ve grown accustomed to with typical grocery store juices. Instead of seeing this timing issue as a deterrent, Jennings and Calka have turned it into a key business differentiator. Drawing inspiration from pre-1960s milkmen, Jennings actually hand-delivers fresh juices directly to clients’ doors—jingling glass bottles and all. With easy subscription options for drinking, cleansing or working out, getting your daily dose of fruits and veggies couldn’t be easier.