Tabletree Industries | Gary and Susan Snow’s black cherry juice is winning industry acclaim
Executives from the world’s major juice companies conferred last year in a quiet corner of a sophisticated convention spot in Barcelona, Spain.
Welch’s, Palm, Tropicana, Chiquita, Dole and PepsiCo were represented at the World Juice Conference, along with others from Europe and Africa that make and distribute fruit juice worldwide.
Also represented was Tabletree Industries of Creston, B.C., a mom and pop operation with a maximum output of 12,000 bottles per year.
And it was Tabletree that won the 2012 best pure juice product award, as judged by an international panel of experts who sampled its black cherry juice.
Tabletree owners Susan and Gary Snow will again be part of the event next month in Cologne, Germany. Their red apple juice has been short listed for the 2013 best new nectar or juice award.
“The first year, we thought, ‘how wonderful that they’re helping out a small business.’ But to be nominated and then short listed for a second year for a different juice, we were just so floored,” Susan said.
Added Gary: “We were quite surprised last year, but this year we were astonished.”
The Snows started making apple juice last October with a process they invented themselves, using apples they grew on their 18 acres of owned and leased land on the outskirts of Creston.
“It actually tastes like apple pie,” said Gary.
“It’s a really nice juice, really rich juice. All of our juices have just a tiny touch of honey and a tiny touch of cinnamon in them, so that’s why the apple pie.”
Tabletree has only a few thousand bottles of its red apple juice. The Snows planned to make more, but the popularity of the award-winning cherry juice diverted their attention.
They’ve been concentrating on cherries since starting operations in 2010. Susan’s family, the Truscotts, have a 100-year history of fruit growing in Creston, but the fruit juice business is relatively new.
“We kind of saw the writing on the wall way back five, six years ago, that the downfall of the fresh market was coming, so that’s why we looked at doing a value added,” said Susan.
The business won $150,000 in 2010 through the B.C. Innovation Council for its innovative juice technology, which gave Tabletree the boost it needed to flourish.
And flourish it has, in popularity if not in size.
Gary said the company recently had to reject an order for 100,000 bottles of cherry juice because the volume is beyond its scope.
“Now our problem is that we can’t make enough for the orders that we have, so now we’re working on trying to increase our production or our facility,” Susan said.
Tabletree is a fixture at the Creston Farmers Market, and the cherry juice can also be found throughout British Columbia, at some Calgary and Lethbridge stores and in a few Ontario locations. It is not available on Saskatchewan or Manitoba shelves, but it can be ordered through the company website.
Gary said researchers have told them the cherry juice has anti-inflammatory properties. It’s nothing that can be put on a label, but customers have said it helps their arthritis, in addition to its tastiness.
“We even give it to our 15-year-old dog. He’s a cherry junkie. He’ll come and get us when he wants cherry juice and lead us out to the kitchen. He has a special bowl for cherry juice.”
Although they don’t advertise their farm as a retail outlet, a few people also come up the driveway every day, looking for juice.
Gary and Susan will be leaving for Cologne shortly. The awards will be presented Oct. 3 and if the juice wins, they expect to be on the phone all night, spreading the news, as they were able to do last year.
“It’s getting very exciting,” said Susan.
“We’re at a point now where the world is waking up to us, and that’s pretty exciting. And it’s nice that it’s putting Canada on the map and B.C. and also our little town of Creston, too.”