Live Healthier With TruRonia Juice & Grain Place Foods
Although it’s already February, those New Year’s health resolutions may still be fresh in the minds of health seekers everywhere, and GROW Nebraska businesses are here to help.
TruRonia is a new company that is on a mission to help people live healthier by creating products using the super fruit aronia.
“It is extremely high in antioxidants, it loves the Nebraska growing environment and helps with lower intestinal issues, inflammation, arthritis and numerous other health issues,” one of the company’s owners Scott Dinkler said. (Other owners are JJ and Johnny Granstrom, JC and Joel Starr and Keenan Friesen.)
The company is based in the Hastings area and got its start in 2016 with six aronia growers. They joined forces to turn the berries into a product that could help consumers improve their health and well-being.
In August of 2018, the company launched its flagship product “TruRonia” juice made from aronia berries. The berries are grown on about 60 acres of land spread out in seven fields. The produce is harvested in late August or early September and then is cleaned, destemmed, sanitized and juiced into a cold-pressed organic juice in the company’s Hastings facility. The product is then bottled in Missouri. The Hastings plant employs anywhere from three to 10 part-time employees, depending on the time of year.
The company also sells bags of frozen aronia berries at several Nebraska grocery stores. They have developed four other juice blends that aren’t yet offered to the public, and they plan to offer new products in the future.
The company’s main focus right now is educating the public about the power of aronia juice and how it can positively impact health. Scott said customers who report the most health benefits from the juice are females age 40-65 who suffer from lower intestinal issues or hormone imbalances. Men in that age category also report health benefits from drinking the juice.
Scott said that aronia berries are higher in antioxidants than elderberries, cranberries and blueberries. Every 2-ounce shot of aronia juice contains 84 berries. The 24.5-ounce bottle of TruRonia contains 1,042 aronia berries.
TruRonia offers a subscription service that gives customers a lower price for a 4-pack of juice, which is equal to a month’s supply. Another 4-pack is then automatically sent each month.
“It is great for them as they don’t have to worry about running down another supply of juice to help their conditions they are taking it for,” Scott said.
Help from GROW
TruRronia joined GROW Nebraska in August 2018.
“We love the support of the GROW team and also the support at the Nebraska State Fair,” Scott said. “They really are a supporter of Nebraska businesses and take a personal level of effort in helping us “grow.”
TruRonia juice is sold in Nebraska at Russ’s Market and Super Savers and other grocery stores, including Hy-Vee, and on GROW’s Buy Nebraska website and at the BUY Nebraska store in Kearney.
“TruRonia’s overreaching goal is to help people become a healthier version of themselves,” Scott said. “We are committed to educating people to the power of the aronia berry and how it can help them on a daily basis with their struggles. We would like people to realize that when they try our product, they can be assured that every effort was made to take an organic aronia berry and cold press it into the drink that they are consuming.”
Grain Place Foods
Grain Place Foods of Marquette is another GROW Nebraska business with a focus on healthy eating, but they have been in the business for decades.
The company sprouted in 1953 when Don Vetter started organic farming. When Don’s son, Dave, finished college and returned to the farm in 1976, the father and son duo created a sustainable organic rotation.
The Vetters created Grain Place Foods in 1980 and incorporated in 1987 to clean the grains grown on the farm and give other organic farmers a place to have their grains cleaned and packaged to get to market.
The company has grown to 22 full-time and 3 part-time employees, including two full-time farmers.
Today, the company is divided into three entities:
- The Grain Place is a 280-acre farm that grows soybeans, corn, popcorn and Ethiopian barley. They also grow grasses and legumes for grazing cows.
- Grain Place Foods cleans, color sorts and packages multiple grains that are grown by more than 130 farmers across the United States, and they co-pack for various companies. Their products include barley, brown rice, freeze-dried blueberries, chia, cane sugar, corn, flaxseeds, Favorite Five™ (a blend of rolled oats, rolled barley, rolled wheat, rolled rye and hulled sesame seeds.), Kamut Khorasan Wheat®, millet, oats, popcorn, quinoa, rye, soybeans, spelt, sunflower, triticale, wheat and cold-pressed vanilla extract.
- Grain Place Foundation, (grainplacefoundation.org) was created to ensure the farm stays organic, creates educational opportunities and will help to promote regenerative agriculture.
Grain Place COO Christian Evans said organic products are also non-GMO by default.
“In our organic rotations program on the farm and in the plant, no chemicals, pesticides, herbicides or synthetic fertilizers are used, which help keep those out of the bodies of those who consume the grains and beans. On the farm, our focus is on healthy soils. So no matter what you grow in those soils, you gain the best nutrition possible.”
On a Health Mission
The company’s motto is “how your food is produced does matter.”
“And we truly believe that,” Christian said. “From the health of the soil and the ability to regenerate soils to the handling and packaging process, Grain Place Foods is committed to ecologically regenerative and socially responsible good tasting, organic foods and we appreciate GROW and all of our customers for allowing us to make that happen!”
Evans said Grain Place customers range from young to old and are looking for healthy, good-tasting grains, beans and popcorn.
“Our web orders come in from all over the country but especially the east and west coasts,” he said.
In addition to their website, Grain Place Foods products are sold on the shelves of their in-plant store, in the bulk bins section of Hy-Vee and Whole Foods and through GROW Nebraska.
“GROW has been a great partner in promoting our products in areas and in ways we haven’t the time to venture into,” Evans said. “Their access to Amazon is especially fruitful for us. We support GROW whole-heartedly!”