Fairfield County is full of trailblazing women, particularly in the culinary world. Which is why, with 2018 being proclaimed the Year of the Woman, we felt compelled to honor the pioneers among us.
Our series, “It’s A Woman’s World’ is devoted to Fairfield County female influencers who’ve forged their own paths, often in food-related fields long dominated by men.
Whether farming the land, bringing healthy food to the masses, feeding an entrepreneurial spirit or injecting feminism with food, these groundbreaking ladies have set a new definition of women’s work, creating new paths and setting examples for those who follow.
Carissa Dellicicchi, The Stand Juice Company
Why She’s A Pioneer: The woman behind the mantra “Life, Fueled by Plants,” started The Stand Juice Company when she was just 20. What started as a personal chef business delivering organic juice cleanses and preparing sustainable food morphed within six months into a storefront. The Stand Juice Company opened in Norwalk in 2005, expanded to Fairfield in 2011 and to Westport in 2015. “A lot of it was blissful luck and timing,” she says “The community just picked up on what I was doing and ran with it.”
The mission, she says, has always been to provide plant based juices, snacks, sandwiches and baked goods, offering options for anyone from the extreme raw food, organic foodist to a junk food junkie looking to try something new. With cleanses – and education -- as the core business, Dellicicchi says she didn’t realize she was doing anything revolutionary at the time. Instead, she was simply replicating a way of life she had always followed “smitten with agriculture” in the small farm town of Canterbury, Conn. where her mom grew their own food.
Now, along with The Stand’s Fairfield location (she closed Norwalk in December 2017 and Westport in 2016 to tighten and strengthen the business), Dellicicchi is a sought-after sustainable food consultant, teaching businesses and restaurants how to improve food sourcing and use their waste on and off-site.
She maintains strong relationships with farmers and is the former owner of Hideaway Farm, a 15-acre zero-waste, no-dig farm that used the pulp and scrap from The Stand Juice Company to feed the herd of rescued farm animals. She used the aged manure from these animals to provide nutrient rich top soil for the fruits and veggies that the farm grew for the company. Sasco Farm, a small gentlemen's farm in Fairfield, has stepped into the role that Hideaway filled and is also the site for a future summer camp program.
On Being A Woman In A Man’s World: Dellicicchi admits there were definite issues when she first started, as her ex-husband was her business partner, leading some to defer to him and treat her as if she were invisible. “We would be standing right next to each other yet people would speak directly to him, even though I was the one with the answers,” she says. Being young at the time also played a part in how she was treated – and how she saw herself.
“It took a while for me to figure out my identity and my management style,” she says. Now, however, it’s a different story. Her business is primarily female dominated, with many of her employees female, and she’s well established enough to feel confident in her decisions.
What’s Next: Starting a summer camp for kids ages eight and to get them interested -- and involved – in learning about food and sustainability. “We want to start conversations about growing, planting, creating, cooking and thinking outside the box,” she says.