Product of Georgia (Russia – Yep… Georgia RUSSIA, not Georgia USA!)
TJ cherry juice

TJ cherry juice

 

We were plunking our bounty on the checkout counter at Trader Joe’s when the cashier spied our bottle of cherry juice. “Oh, you’ll love it!” he gushed. Since the bottles were in an end-cap display, I reached over for two more. Okay, so I’m easy to upsell, no biggie…

The cashier was right! The juice is delish. And I was impressed with the calorie count – 150 calories per eight ounce serving, no calories from fat. Something this good usually has at least 150 calories from fat. I know this from long label-reading experience.

But the very best part is that Trader Joe’s sourced the cherries in GEORGIA!  Even people who are familiar with agriculture here may be surprised that Mercier Orchards in Blue Ridge has probably the biggest cherry orchard south of Virginia. And they allow visitors to u-pick the cherries during season (usually late April-May).

My advice to you… go to Trader Joe’s and buy their bottled “Product of Georgia” cherry juice. Drink it straight or mix yourself a cocktail. Then, follow the Mercier Orchards Facebook page; and, when it’s time, go pick yourself some fresh-off-the-tree cherries. Incorporate Georgia Grown cherries into your life. YUM!

UPDATE 4/3/2013! Wrong, wrong, wrong!!! Last time I went into the Athens Trader Joe’s, the cherry juice was on an endcap. And a poster next to it had a description of the area in Georgia RUSSIA it was sourced. So it was NOT sourced in Georgia USA… it was shipped to the US from thousands and thousands of miles away. It’s up to you whether that suits your lifestiyle now that we know.



1 Comment
  1. In the past I have bought and enjoyed TJ’s cherry juice so when I needed to take some nsaids (aspirin/ibupropben) which can be not-so-good to the kidneys, I asked my neighbor to pick me up a bottle or two of the cherry juice which is recommended for gout but I have also found to be kind to the kidneys…helps them deal with medications, etc.
    He brought home two bottles and commented on the new style, taller and thinner. I was interested in what was in the bottle, so I went right to drinking it.
    Since I live in California I have always been used to Knudsen’s juices from Paradise, CA– I am sure you could do a blind taste test of canned peaches from Georgia and someplace else and know the difference. Well, it was that way with the juice in the tall bottle I don’t know who packed the cherry juice before, but it certainly wasn’t the same supplier. The original had had a sort of velvetly smoothness to it…not heavy, not overly sweet, but like fresh ripe cherries. This had a cherry tste to it, but there was also a kind of ‘foxy’ after taste to it (I know that’s a term usually applied to grapes and wine but that was what came to mind…a clar, if think cherry flavor…and then the foxy after taste. Which, since I had it, I’ll drink it but I certainly won’t buy it again.

    I used to work for a honey company that packed for Trader Joes (in the LA area) and I was familiar with how they source and buy things to be made/packed/sold under their labels. (And they even provide the labels, too).
    Knowing the quality controls on the honey we packed for them I felt I could trust about anything TJs sold (except when I disliked the taste in some of the prepared frozen foods). Then the company was sold to a German mega-food company, very big in Europe with their own stores (I think-I was unhappy about the change so I didn’t want to know anymore).
    I later went to work for a steamship agency that handled the documents for various imports on several shipping lines, so I would see imported items coming in for TJs but usually things like wines, pasta from Italy, olive oil from Italy and Greece, stuff that you already expect to be imported into the US.

    I shopped at TJs less because they were targeting a different audience. During this time various ethnic groups having come to southern California started opening their own grocery stores. I could shop there and find foods that I would have had to have sourced from a gourmet market at three times the price, and even then only in small packages. So I found less and less dependency on TJs and access to foods unavailable before. But NOT at the expense of
    my local suppliers–whether fresh from a farmer’s market or a local store or canned/bottled by a local company, I knew where my food was coming from.
    (and I also canned my own at times…).

    Back to TJs. Seems they made the change earlier this year:
    http://www.traderjoes.com/fearless-flyer/article.asp?article_id=938

    I had looked on the bottom of the bottle (not a common style and having worked in purchasing for the honey company, didn’t recognize it) and saw 1 L–one liter. Hmm…US is not primarily metric. Back to the label. Product of Georgia. I had the same sort of take as you did: Georgia? Well, then, it’s probably just a different kind of cherry that they grow down there. Then I thought about the places that I know that grow cherries for juice, and they’re all a fair distance north of Georgia…like some apples, have to have the winter chilling to get the flavor.
    And I do know that an area of the old Soviet Union became Georgia when their system was falling apart…so I looked the country up, and then looked up cherry juice from Georgia, and sure enough, they’re exporting a whole lot of it.

    Now something I recognized from my days with the honey people, and that’s the term brix: has to do with the sugar content in a liquid, usually expressed as a percentage. In honey, it was usually about 16% (USDA regs)..but some packers would thin it down so they’d have more honey to sell…Add too much water and you don’t have ‘honey’, you have ‘honey product’.
    Well this new TJs cherry juice label reads: Filtered water (sufficient to reconstitute), cherry juice concentrate.
    Now judging by the color of the juice (lighter than I’m used to) and the flavor, I’m willing to bet the ‘sufficient to reconstitute’ is probably higher than the amount of aqueous solution normally found in fresh cherry juice.
    Seems Georgia produces cherry juice concentrate in drums (200 liters) but also bottled fresh. I don’t know to calculate brix so I don’t know how a quart of Georgian juice compares to RW Knudsen’s Just Black Cherry (they don’t list brix) so I can’t tell how much might have been added ‘to reconstitute’.

    So let your people know they should get their money’s worth and their health’s worth by buying the local cherries and cherry juices and maybe look into the benefits of cherries for gout, kinee problems, or as I have found, to help their kidneys. If they’re smark enough to read your blog then they’re smart enough to do their own research.

    And me? I think I’ll find a store that carries the Knudsen’s line of juices and see if I can get a discount by buying a case.

    Thank you for trying to keep it real in Georgia USA….

    regards,
    Lynda Akin

 

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