The producers of locally made Tabletree juices, Gary and Susan Snow, are about to take the world stage, with their black cherry juice being nominated for a World Juice Award.
When Susan Snow picked up the phone at 6:30 a.m. on Sept. 14, she first thought it might be a prank call.
“When the organizer called us, I was still asleep obviously and I proceeded to tell him why we couldn’t come to Spain for the award because we couldn’t afford it,” she said on Monday. “And Gary is in the background saying, ‘Wait a minute, wait a minute.’”
Sponsored by Foodnews, a trade publication, the World Juice Awards are a prestigious competition — only three finalists are selected from around the planet in each of six categories. Tabletree has been selected in the best juice award category. Participants in the annual event, being held this year in Barcelona, include industry giants like Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola.
“We have known about the World Juice Awards for several years,” she said. “We were introduced to Gary Morton, a value-added expert from Nova Scotia who gave a workshop a few years back. Gary became a good friend of ours and a mentor to us in our business. Gary worked with a blueberry juice company in Nova Scotia that won this award seven or eight years ago and he spoke to us about the award and how it increased their sales significantly.”
Tabletree juice has been nominated in previous years, but this is the first year it has made the final cut.
“They also told us that they and the judges had been researching us over the Internet,” Snow said. “We try to keep up with the whole social media thing, with our website, Twitter, Facebook and the like and in this instance we think it worked to our advantage.”
Coincidentally, the Snows had already been planning to travel to France later this year to meet with French researchers.
“They have been testing for use in cardiovascular research. We were invited to a meeting in Vancouver by IRAP (Industrial Research Assistance Program) where a delegation of researchers came from France and one scientist was very interested in our products because of the anti-inflammatory properties of cherries,” she said. “The initial studies were good and we are awaiting the final results. This is very exciting as we have a lot of testimonials of people being helped with aches and pains, gout, inflammation and lung conditions that have been using our juice and culinary sauce and it would be wonderful if cardiovascular health could improve by using it, as well.”
Whether or not Tabletree comes away with the award, simply being a finalist could reap large benefits.
“A lot of the big companies will be represented at the conference and it will put us on the world map,” Snow said. “We are able to track visitors that go to our website and already our website has doubled in hits and an amazing number of out of country visitors have come to our site already.
“As a matter of fact, I told Gary later that after this gets around, I didn’t think we had made enough juice this year. It’s a very exciting time for Tabletree, that’s for sure.”