Ever since I moved to Sebastopol eight months ago, I have come to see Gia as the heart of this town. Always smiling, ready with a kind word and a hug to give you, she travels among us spreading light and positive vibes. It was heart-breaking to see someone so generous lose everything with the waters that flooded The Barlow in February and destroyed The Nectary, Gia’s cozy shop full of wellness and deliciousness.
I should have known better. Rather than let it crush her spirit, Gia rallied the troops: reuniting the Barlow Tenant’s Association, navigating press releases and donation funds, and working with Seth Wood of Woodfour Brewing to plan the hugely successful Barlow Block Party, both a benefit and a coming out party to the world that the businesses in The Barlow were open again. Her selflessness and strength helped unite the community to build something from the damage and we’re proud to have Gia and The Nectary in the West County Field Guide as a person and business who truly embodies our local spirit. – Jesse Hom-Dawson
There’s something uniquely different about The Nectary, something that sets it aside from the juices and smoothies that are widely available in grocery stores, restaurants, and airport shops. The juice and smoothie apothecary honors food as medicine, combining high quality ingredients and intention to create a deeply nourishing product. As we raise the bar for health and wellness, we strive to honor local abundance, community, and conscious consumption.
The Nectary is a culmination of owner Gia Baiocchi’s personal and professional experiences. Born and raised in Sebastopol, Gia ventured to Hawaii and immersed herself to learn the unique skill set of raw and vegan food preparation, Ayurvedic practice, traditional herbalism, aromatherapy, and restaurant management. These experiences kindled Gia’s vision for what would become The Nectary. Gia explains, “I distilled my dream into one simple prayer: Right Livelihood. To me, this prayer meant the gift of making a living doing something you love and this prayer was answered when I discovered The Barlow and was blown away by the vision in action. I saw that there was a space ripe and ready for a juice bar and I immediately knew that I had found my way home. Once open, I began offering up sweet juicy goodness to the community while sustaining myself. This is the stuff dreams are made of, and where my inspiration comes from.”
On the heels of our five-year anniversary, our focus and integrity remain steadfast as our offerings span across the county. Just as a beehive swarms, so did The Nectary. After quickly outgrowing the 500-square foot space in The Barlow, we opened a production kitchen behind Woodfour Brewing. This expansion significantly increased our juice production and diversified our plant-based culinary program. Alongside increased menu offerings, our culinary team launched our Food as Medicine class series, an interactive approach to holistic nutrition. In 2017, we expanded north to Healdsburg with our second location. Most recently, we partnered with Taylor Lane Coffee, offering select menu items at their Petaluma location.
Deeply rooted in the belief of food as medicine, our products are intentionally created to restore, rejuvenate, and replete the body’s physical needs. For us, plant medicine comes in the form of organic, cold-pressed juices, superfood smoothies, wellness shots, probiotic rich drinks and (mostly) raw and vegan food. The team at The Nectary are minimalists who maintain the integrity of the plants in both nutrition and processing. Step into our production kitchen to find wholesome ingredients with expiration dates, free of additives and anything you can’t pronounce. It’s not just the ingredients that matter, it’s how the food is prepared: with each and every product, you can trust it was made by a loving hand. Our juicing staff hand sorts, washes, bottles, and delivers the cold-pressed juices. Our almond mylk is made fresh daily and the pulp is reserved and dehydrated for our raw, vegan treats. As we believe: you are what you eat, so why not eat in a way where you can feel your ultimate best?
The Nectary’s mission transcends simple nutrition to mind, body, and spiritual nourishment. We are committed to sourcing from local farmers and producers, responsibly purchasing our material goods, supporting ethical business practices, and always choosing quality over quantity. This philosophy has supported The Nectary’s evolution into a lifestyle brand, cross pollinating with like-minded businesses, including Pollen Nation, Lumen, Miracle Plum, and Taylor Lane.
If you spend any time in our shops, you will recognize familiar faces, know employees by name, or see Gia whipping up a smoothie herself. While high quality ingredients and nutrition are vital, it’s simply one facet of our business; community is also integral to The Nectary’s culture. In Healdsburg, we collaborate with the Healdsburg Center for the Arts, where our shop showcases artwork from local talented artists, while in Sebastopol, a local farmer uses our compost on his land. Our retail shelves are lined with handmade products from makers and creators. We believe our success is dependent upon the success of other small businesses.
However, it’s easy to support one another when everything is serene. The real strength of a community is tested during chaos. Amidst crisis and disaster, we undoubtedly watched our community rise to the occasion and shine with resilience. During the 2017 wildfires, we joined forces with many local businesses to assist those in need and provide plant medicine for lung health and emotional support. Just months ago we experienced another disaster, this time hitting closer to home. As rising waters rushed into the Barlow, our shop flooded nearly four feet high. Like many other Barlow businesses, our shop was turned inside out, leaving nothing but contaminated products and unusable equipment. This disaster temporarily closed our Sebastopol location and significantly decreased our production. Our road to recovery was not travelled alone; community support overflowed through helping hands, generous donations, and active participation in the Barlow Block Party Benefit. Words simply aren’t enough to express our gratitude. We’re lucky to be in Sonoma County and be a part of the West Sonoma County Field Guide.
A new paradigm of healthy living emerges as people shift their awareness to individualized nutrition, sustainability, and conscious consumption. Humbled by our involvement in this movement, The Nectary strives to make delicious and nutritious plant-based food and drink accessible to more people and help them realize the possibility of food as healing in their own lives. As Gia says, “The Nectary is a prayer in motion”.