Urban Foraging: Skagit Fresh Sparkling Juices
by Jill Lightner
There are a lot of products that claim to duplicate the flavor of berries. Almost all of them fall under the “don’t bother” category, unless you happen to like chemical aftertastes. There are also a lot of beverages that claim to offer wholesome juice—and the reality is that they’re made from concentrated high-sugar fruits that might as well be corn syrup.
Now, happily, there’s a set of mildly fizzy drinks that backs up all the claims: local non-concentrated Jonagold apple juice, local berry juice, and a dab of sparkling water. The flavors—blackberry, raspberry, strawberry and blueberry—are intense, and only as sweet as the berries that went into them. Orchardists Alan Merritt, Richard Sakuma and Jim Perkins founded the company in 2006; the drinks are now available around the region. You’ll typically find them shelved near the juice in grocery stores—not over with the sodas.
They’re richly flavored, and taste remarkably like fresh Skagit berries, so it’s no surprise that they’re delicious when poured over vanilla ice cream. Move over, root beer—a Skagit Fresh Juice blackberry float is a dessert that’s destined for greatness.
Find the drinks at Haggen, Metropolitan Markets, PCC, Top Food and Drug, Town and Country/Central Market stores and Whole Foods.