The story of Blake Orchard
GET TO KNOW OUR FOUNDER
Why the name BLAKE ORCHARD?
Alli: My middle name is Blake, and I can remember when I was growing up I would come up with company names that included my middle name. I guess I just felt like it had a unique ring to it. Orchard came from the street I grew up on.
When and how did you get started?
Alli: When I was 19 I started to spend A LOT of my free time reading about fitness and nutrition, but it wasn't until I was 21 that I really started dreaming up the concept of Blake Orchard. I had a lot of stomach issues that I was trying to figure out throughout college and was getting sick frequently after I ate a meal, it was horrible. So in my senior year of college, I decided to start eating a vegan diet that was heavily focused on raw fruits and veggies. I watched a number of documentaries and youtube videos that inspired me to literally go back to the BASICS. I'm talking I would eat one ingredient foods as a meal. For example, a big bowl of boiled potatoes or 5-10 bananas as a meal. I kind of got crazy with it, but at the time my mom was also being tested for digestive diseases herself, so I think looking at how much she was struggling at her age really helped jumpstart my focus on learning how to live a healthier lifestyle, while also inspiring my want to help others feel and live better themselves.
What is one of the most important things you have learned so far?
Alli: Honestly, I think the best thing I have learned so far is to not stress and obsess over things too heavily. Just do your best and let yourself live too. There is a lot more to life than trying to be perfect 24/7.
I think my best word of advice would be to always keep a health conscious mindset when choosing how you feed your body and spend your days, but don't forget to appreciate and enjoy life for what it is in the moment.
Alli: I moved to Portland very spontaneously but couldn't be happier with my decision. I am originally from Western Mass, so I first pictured myself in the Boston area, but I quickly realized that I did not have enough capital to enter that city (honest truth!). A close friend of mine told me to check out Portland so I road tripped with her the following weekend, moved a little over a month later, launched a Kickstarter Campaign that month which raised $18,000 (THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO BELIEVED IN ME), and opened up my first brick and mortar 2 months later! I chose Maine because there was a sense of community in the air that I was craving. Portland is a strong supporter of local small business so I instantly knew that my decision to move here was the right one. I have not looked back since.
Why focus on plant-based?
Alli: I'm not a certified nutritionist, but I have done a lot of research on my own over the years and have experimented with my own eating habits, and what I have learned is that plant-based diets are one of the BEST things that you can do for your body. Whether you are trying to heal your body, lose weight, or just feel your best, plant-based food is the way to go. Plants put life back into your body, they will make you feel brighter, more energized, and lighter. Just trust me and eat the damn plants people! :)
What is the most underrated thing on your menu?
Alli: HOT CACAO! It is the best dairy-free hot chocolate you will ever have.
Secret tip: ask for a drop of peppermint, you will not be disappointed.
What is your favorite menu item?
Alli: Ugh, I can't choose just one! I'm always switching up my favorites list but the things I can't seem to get away from are the Green Goddess and Raw Protein superfood smoothies (I sometimes have both in one day because...well why not?), Summer smoothie bowl, Matcha Latte ICED (sometimes with an added scoop of spirulina if i'm feeling extra that day), and the Skin Cleanser cold pressed juice.