The apple juices made by Fresh Matters come in green, yellow, deep orange and whitish pink.
The colors created by the fruit's flesh and skin are the essence of the fresh Prosser-manufactured juices.
The four-year-old company founded by Andy Knowlton and Cedric Chastenet is growing, with 'tude Juice now found at Whole Foods and other grocery stores in 40 states.
The "tude" in 'tude Juice refers to the "life is good" attitude Knowlton says they aim to achieve with their juice.
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The co-founders hope to elevate what people know as apple juice by making single varietal apple juice that reflects the unique flavors of Washington's top crop.
Knowlton and Chastenet started making Granny Smith and Fuji juices, and since have added Gala, Honeycrisp and Cripps Pink, commonly known as Pink Lady. There also is an unnamed Pacific Northwest apple blend.
People are used to clear amber apple juice, which has been filtered and heated until the result is a sugary liquid, Knowlton said. But with 'tude Juice, Granny Smith is actually green, Fuji is yellow, Gala creates a deep orange and Cripps Pink has a whitish pink hue. And the juices actually taste like the apples.
"We call it apples in liquid form," Knowlton said.
Knowlton, a home juicer and former teacher, was making Granny Smith juice one day when Chastenet, an entrepreneur, was visiting, he said. They met because their daughters were friends.
Wondering whether green apple juice could be found in any stores, and feedback from friends who drank the juice, got the duo thinking. So they started researching and talking to manufacturers.
Plenty of people told them they were nutty, getting into the highly competitive beverage world during horrid economic times.
But when they felt like stopping, Knowlton said they would drink their juice, remember how good it was, and keep going.
Their first test facility opened in Kent in 2010. They bought specialized equipment to make the juice, but the equipment failed to do what they had hoped, Knowlton said. They were devastated.
But then, they landed on the right process and equipment. They started making apple juice in Grandview in 2011, later moving their manufacturing to Prosser.
The whole apple is pressed and made into juice, Knowlton said. The apple skins are ground up through the pressing process, giving the juice its unique colors. The seeds and stems are separated out so they don't make it into the final product.
The key to 'tude Juice is the use of high-pressure processing, instead of heat, to pasteurize the juice. That is done by a Portland company.
The labeled, sealed 12-ounce bottles are placed into a vessel that fills up with water. That water puts pressure in all directions on the bottled juice, with up to 87,000 pounds of pressure per square inch, Knowlton said. That's strong enough to deactivate any bacterial cell walls, but doesn't damage the packaging.
For now, the juice is only sold in 12-ounce bottles. That's because the juice is so fresh, it will brown just like a cut apple does after it is opened. Shelf life is 40 to 50 days.
The juice has been verified as non-GMO, meaning it doesn't contain any genetically-modified organisms, Knowlton said. Whole Foods, one of the company's biggest customers, has been encouraging its suppliers to seek that certification.
Apples remain at the core of 'tude Juice. But in the past four months, Knowlton and Chastenet have introduced new flavors based on buyer demand.
All the new flavors are apple-based, but they also feature other Northwest fruits, Knowlton said. New flavors include cranberry, marionberry, blueberry, raspberry lemon, a berry red blend, ginger apple, ginger turmeric apple and lemonade.
All the recipes were created by Knowlton and Chastenet, and then tested on friends and family until they were perfected.
They already have a loyal following, Knowlton said. He has been told by workers at a Los Angeles store that stocks 'tude Juice that whenever Honeycrisp juice is in season, they have a customer show up once a month who buys about eight cases of Honeycrisp juice and stacks them on the back of his motorcycle.
Knowlton now uses the company's Granny Smith juice as the base for making his own home juices.
For more information, go to www.tudejuice.com/.
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-- Kristi Pihl: 509-582-1512; firstname.lastname@example.org