The cherry juice season is drawing to an end and we can say that all our expectations were exceeded. Expectations on the quality of juice, the demand of this service and the response from the public after trying the product.
We also ventured down into the lower mainland as well as Vancouver Island to process some berries. It was a challenging learning curve but a rewarding one.
But lets start with the cherries. Our first attempt was to press them, which turned out ok in taste, but not really what we expected in consistency. Having done cherries the previous years, we knew the juice can be clear and without sediments.
Off we went to purchase IBC tanks, enzymes and thanks to a great farmer in Naramata, we also had cherries and a site to do them. Because we did not know the exact time it took to settle, it was a nerve wracking 2 days wait. But as you can see in the picture, we had about 75% yield on that batch. We made glorious juice that week for 2 different farmers and many more in the following weeks. You can check the map to see where you can buy some of our delicious cherry juice.
The process is quite simple, we destone the cherries (see picture) and the remainder goes into the tanks. Wait 2 days and siphon off the cherry juice off the bottom. Send it through the pasteurizer and into our smaller 3 liter bags.
We also have learned that we need to get smaller packaging for the cherry and berry juices, which we will do for next year. Thank you for that feedback.
To wrap up the cherry section, we would like to thank all our participating farmers for juicing their cherries with us. We appreciate the trust you put in us and we hope to provide you with our service for many years to come.
We would also extend our thanks to Corie at Cellartek for her guidance and patience on the enzyme questions as well as Joe Chiaramella for his patience on our trial days. And last but not least, we would like to thank everybody who bought some cherry juice from one of the farmer we had the privilege working with. Without the consumer, no farmers and no cherry juice…
Off we went to Vancouver Island. We took the big boat over the sea to meet up at Gobind Farms. Some excess blackberries and strawberries were waiting for us there. Beautiful, big, tasty blackberries !!! The fruit was previously frozen and after thawing it went straight into the press, 20% strawberry and 80% blackberries and what a great result. Dark, smooth and very tasty! If you are ever on the island, it’s a short hop off the ferry. Well worth the trip.
After that short escapade, we got down to business processing some 40’000 lb of blueberries. We knew from our manufacturers that blueberry is a hard one to process because of its mucusy consistency.
The folks at Lush Berry Farms were phenomenal at figuring out this process with us and after a few hiccups we had it nailed down. We actually needed Kristen to come down with some extra equipment so we could perfect the delicious blueberry juice. The best part of it was that we actually also came up with a incredible blueberry smoothie in bag-in-box! We packaged most of the blueberries into 3 liter smoothie boxes that will be available in stores hopefully soon.
If you need some blueberries, blueberry juice or blueberry smoothie, please get ahold of the lovely girls at Lush Berry Farms.
Thank you all for doing this first season of cherry and berry juice with us. We appreciate your courage and wish you all the best with your juice sales.
Kristen and Remo