Creston Valley orchardists Gary and Susan Snow capped a surreal month on Oct. 10 by accepting an award for making the world’s best pure juice at an industry conference in Barcelona, Spain.
Tabletree black cherry juice had bested the other finalist for the award, Nudie Juice, the largest juice producer in Australia.
“WE WON!!!” Susan Snow reacted on Facebook following the awards ceremony. “We are bringing home the gold. We are so excited. We actually have the ‘Best Pure Juice in the World.’
“Wow, how cool is that. Makes us cry all over. I really did blubber when we got it. It is so unreal…like a dream. Not sure what the fallout will be from this. We are crossing our fingers and our toes.”
Not much more than a month ago, when a sleepy Susan answered the telephone at 6 a.m., her first thought was that the caller was pulling some sort of prank. Eventually, Gary urged her to take a message and promise to return the call. They soon learned that the World Juice Award nomination was legitimate. The World Juice Awards are handed out annually at a conference sponsored by a leading industry magazine, FoodNews. It attracts hundreds of the most important juice industry players in the world.
Tabletree black cherry juice, the couple’s first foray into adding value to their late season cherry crop, began after a lengthy research period during which they developed a proprietary process that enhances the juice flavours with honey and cinnamon. An innovation award from the B.C. government helped get them up and running, but a lack of capital has slowed planned expansion.
The couple decided to travel to Barcelona to attend the conference, also arranging to make a visit to Dijon, France, where scientists are studying the anti-inflammatory properties of Tabletree black cherry juice.
The Snows got an early taste that they had entered an entirely different world in Barcelona when they were unexpectedly invited into a marketing workshop when they were on their way to a day of sightseeing.
“So there’s me in my ball cap and running shoes,” Gary said in a CBC Radio interview.
“We both looked like Creston farmers,” Susan added.
Attending the conference were 350 representatives from 60 countries.
Gary said that his sense of calm that came with having a 50-50 chance to win the award against only one other finalist dissipated as the announcement neared.
“My stomach was just turning over,” he said.
Luckily, the awards ceremony was short and sweet. It became all the sweeter when the underdog, a company that Gary described as “by far the smallest at the conference”, Tabletree, was announced the winner.
“I cried, of course,” Susan said. “Now the world knows about Tabletree and the world knows about Creston and it knows about Canada.
“Now we’re on the world map.”
While it’s far too early to project just what the award and the attention might mean for Tabletree, Susan reports that hits on the company website have tripled.
“Our heads are spinning, I guarantee you,” Gary said.
“Now I am going to sound like a total wimp here,” said Susan. “But what is the most amazing thing in all of this is the support of all of our friends, family, and community and all the warm wishes and sharing of our great news. It is so amazing to share it all with you. Not only is it good for us, but for Creston, for Canada, and for the cherry industry. The world is waking up to the health benefits of the cherry and what our juice can do for them. We love it and we thank you all so much!”