Creative Juices

Tasty, locally made juices

Genesis Juice’s Ginger Lemonade contains water, organic lemons, ginger and agave nectar

Since the 1970s, Genesis Organic Juice has prided itself on providing a product that’s local, sustainable and 100-percent organic.

And in that mission, it’s taking on Big Soda.

“Odwalla is a Coke product. Naked is a Pepsi product,” says Jonah Alves, president of Genesis Juice. “This new one, Suja, is a Coke product, and Evolution is a Starbucks product.”

These ubiquitous juices compete for space on store shelves, but do average thirsty consumers comprehend that they’re buying from a large corporate manufacturer? And should they care?

“We don’t use juice-grade fruit,” Alves says. “We use fruit-salad grade fruit. Every piece of fruit is handpicked and hand-culled. Nobody does that. All the rot, the bad spots, get dumped in and boiled away.”

Boiling juice?

“With anything, heat degrades flavor and nutrition,” Alves says.

Genesis Juice’s production facility is in Lane County
Genesis Juice Sources its lemons from California

Many juice manufacturers, Alves explains, boil away potential pathogens using high heat and leave the juices in enormous sealed vats, sometimes for up to a year. Later, “flavor packs” are added back to the juice before packaging, to make it more palatable.

Not so Genesis Juice, which uses a method called high pressure processing (HPP) to make its juices safe to sell and consume without adding heat.

“Our technique uses pressure,” Alves says. “No heat is used at all. So when it comes to taste, flavor and color, we think this is second-best to fresh squeezed.”

HPP is a technology that Toby’s Family Foods, which acquired Genesis Juice in 2007, has been using for years to preserve its spreads and dressings without cooking the tofu.

“When Genesis approached us, they were floundering, close to bankruptcy,” Alves says. “We had similar company philosophies of using local products and 100-percent organic stuff.”

He adds, “The cool thing is, we were able to save a longtime Eugene business.”

Following the acquisition, Toby’s hired back many Genesis employees and set to work on a package redesign.

Some may remember those stout little glass bottles with the fruity label.

“But there’s nothing particularly sustainable about glass,” Alves says.

The company opted for PETE plastic, the most recyclable.

Organic lemons roll up the production line at Genesis Juice

Genesis juices are poured into bottles, and the whole container is put through the HPP process that uses hydrostatic pressure to kill any potential pathogens, while ensuring vitamins, minerals and antioxidants aren’t damaged or degraded.

Because the plastic container is never heated, consumers don’t need to fear that chemicals from the plastic container are potentially leaching into their food.

“Our juice retains 84 percent of its vitamins using this process,” Alves says.

On the day EW visited Genesis Juice’s production facility, the air was alive with the scent of fresh lemons for cranberry lemonade, ginger lemonade and strawberry lemonade. The company also makes a “Superfood Smoothie,” a hibiscus cooler, several varieties of apple juice blends and an herbal tonic that’s a perfect pick-me-up. They also press orange juice, though just for a few months of the year.

“Orange juice, when it’s in season, is the best,” Alves says.

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