by April Guilbault
When it comes to quenching your thirst, nothing beats water, plain and simple. Yet few of us drink water alone. Sometimes we crave something with flavor, perhaps with some sweetness. Juice comes to mind. Even better when it’s freshly squeezed and local. Here, perishability is an asset. Below is a roundup of freshly pressed juices, many available at Whole Foods and Mrs. Green’s Natural Market.
Located on 500 acres in Lake Geneva, in the picturesque Finger Lakes region of New York, Red Jacket is the largest fresh apricot grower east of the Rockies. The first orchard trees were originally planted in 1917, and today, the orchard and juice company is managed by the second and third generation of the Nicholson family. In a commitment to practicing more sustainable and organic practices, the orchard has established several acres of transitional organic orchards which it plans to increase over the next several years.
The ever seasonal Fuji Apple Juice, is the very essence of apple flavor, light and crisp. Seasonal variations on apple include Cranberry Apple, Apple Cider, Raspberry and Strawberry Apple juices, Tart Cherry and Apricot Cherry Stomp.
Considered a “superfruit,” black currants contain four times the vitamin C of oranges, more antioxidants than blueberries, and are rich in iron, potassium and organic acids. Every bottle of Currant Affair Black Currant Juice and juice blends begins its journey from Maple Lane Farms in Preston, Connecticut, where the currants are grown. The company aims to support the local economy and practice sustainability in local farming.
All currants for the Black Currant, Black Currant Cranberry, Apple Black Currant juices make a short journey from growth to harvest, juicing to bottling. This makes Currant Affair’s, “superfruit” juice products super local.
Five Acre is a brand of local food products that are carried at the supermarket, yet all of their products are grown and prepared within 275 miles of where they are sold. Their mission: to bring local food from the farm to the table. Five Acre Farms apple juice is unfiltered, not from concentrate, all from local apples. They also don’t strain or use enzymes to break down the fruit for juicing. Cider, available from September to April, is made from a combination of Macintosh, Empire, Red Delicious, Spartan and winter-hardy heirloom Northern Spy apples.
Fresh and perishable bar mixes are the next wave on the cocktail frontier, better tasting than their preservative laden, shelf stable counterparts. Ripe was founded in 2008 by childhood friends and self proclaimed “drink mix mercenaries,” Michel Boissy and Ryan Guimond, who were tired of being subjected to the big ol’ bottle of glo green non-juice rita mix.
Based in Wallingford, CT, Ripe’s fresh juice mixes are cold pressed, not from concentrate, and handcrafted without preservatives. Flavors include Agave Mojito (just add fresh mint and club soda), Agave Lemon Sour, a great base for many a cocktail, and Agave Punch, made with Angostura bitters and grated nutmeg. There’s also a Margarita mix and a San Marzano Bloody Mary Bar Juice with fresh pressed celery and lemon. Just in time for the holiday season!
Available by mail order, 33.8 ounces are $8.95 each with a minimum of 6 bottles per order plus a $4.00 packing fee.