After only three years in Raleigh, the phenomenon of cold-press juice appears here to stay. There’s Happy + Hale, which recently announced an expansion into downtown Durham, Raleigh Raw and Cold off the Press. But it’s Raleigh’s original cold-press juice company, Humdinger, that’s on the short list for Martha Stewart’s 2015 American Made Award.
The program, which draws attention to local businesses in the categories of design, craft, food and style, awards just one $10,000 prize per year.
Humdinger, run by brother-sister duo Colin Fickes and Mary Collins, is among 11 North Carolina businesses—and one of only two cold-press juice companies in the country—in contention for the sum. Chapel Hill’s Cottage Lane Kitchen and Foster’s Market in Durham are among the other N.C. food finalists.
“The award is a way to spark interest in people living the American Dream, however corny that may sound,” Fickes explains. “You can come up with an idea, execute it and create something that’s helpful to the community. That’s what it’s all about.”
Humdinger operates out of an 800-square foot space on Departure Drive in North Raleigh. The business recently opened a portion of their facility to public retail, too. Humdinger offers delivery and shipping of organic juice packages, the majority of which are made from North Carolina produce.
“People are starting to become educated about why Naked Juice costs $3, but our juice costs $9,” says Fickes. “The education piece has been a curveball, but people are really starting to get it.”
Those people apparently include Martha Stewart. At the behest of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, Fickes registered for the contest online. Two weeks later, Humdinger received a request from the organizers for samples of their juice. The siblings overnighted 18 bottles to a panel of food judges in New York, including Stewart herself.
Judged on packaging, design, flavor and presentation, the juice was ushered through to the final round a week later. Now, Humdinger is relying on audience votes that will determine the winner.
“We’ve been doing shameless self-promotion, which always makes us very uncomfortable,” Fickes says, “but Martha Stewart tried our juice. Anything else is icing on the cake.”
People can vote six times a day through Oct. 19. (“C’mon Martha, that’s kind of excessive!” says Fickes, with a chuckle). The winner will be announced Oct. 23.