Unless youâ€™re Christy Turlington, Woody Harrelson, or Matthew Kenney, you might not know who Melvin Major (pictured) is. But this juicer to the stars, and to hordes of wheatgrass-chugging fans, is a minor celebrity in his own right. For nine years, heâ€™s reduced kale and carrots (and even onions) to their potable form as LifeThyme Natural Marketâ€™s reigning juicer and most recognizable presenceâ€”a lanky 39-year-old South Carolinian who looks a little like a dreadlocked Chris Rock. Born- again raw foodist Matthew Kenney was such a fan he hired Major to oversee juicing operations at his Blue/Green Organic Juice CafÃ©s, and to teach classes at his new commissary kitchen in Dumbo. We sat down with juiceman Melvin for a crash course in life behind the Vitamat.
You had quite a following at LifeThyme. Who are some of your famous customers?
Iâ€™d get big-time actors and actresses and models. Russell Crowe came in with his bodyguards. Woody Harrelson, every time heâ€™s in New York he looks me up. Willem Dafoe. Rosie Perez.
What makes you so popular?
Iâ€™m not one to say Iâ€™m all that, but I have great energy, I donâ€™t discriminate, and I love people.
Whatâ€™s your juicing technique?
I just go with the flow, the vibe of it. Too little or too much of one thing can create a terrible-tasting drink. It just came right to me. I just knew.
How did you come to name a drink after Christy Turlington?
She liked me because I didnâ€™t know who she was. She was like, â€œMake me something thatâ€™s not on the menu, make me something special,â€? and she loved it. She would hang around for an hour, an hour and a half.