Green Point Juicery receives Kosher Certification

The Green Point Juicery, Verona’s first officially recognized sustainable business, offers a wide variety of delicious juices and smoothies. Think beyond apple, orange and cranberry. Beyond the usual strawberry mango smoothie. How about juice made with wheatgrass, pineapple, kale, mint and cucumber? Or raw cacao, cashews, dates, vanilla, Himalayan salt and filtered water? Or a green date smoothie made with dates, banana, spinach, strawberry, homemade cashew milk and flax seeds?

Owner Eugene Onishkevich (“Just Eugene. Forget my last name, no one can pronounce it.”) has been hard at work since the store’s opening in August, 2015, creating interesting and healthy drinks for his clients. Judging from the foot traffic in and out of the store, he has found the perfect balance of nutrition and taste.

Eugene says that his Jewish clients “were telling me from the very beginning to get kosher certification, because we would automatically meet most of the requirements. I wanted to do it, but didn’t know where to start.”

Lucky for Eugene that Rabbi Donn Gross, spiritual leader of Congregation Bet Dovid in Caldwell, a mere 10 minutes from Verona, is a proponent of healthy living. Passing the store one day, he was inspired by its natural-food offerings and stopped in and immediately engaged Eugene in a conversation about what it would take to make the store kosher.

“He explained the process to me, and what needed to be changed in the store, like arranging separate storage for employees’ meals and a dining area for the the back of the store. We use only organic ingredients and produce, which apparently were all kosher as well. There are no meat or dairy products in the store. During the preparation process, all raw produce gets triple washed with vinegar and/or plant-based veggie wash solution,” Eugene said.

Rabbi Donn noted, “Eugene went with me to the mikvah (for toveling) and wanted to participate and understand all aspects of the kashering process. When I performed hagalah (pouring boiling hot water) on the counters and sinks to kasher them, he asked me at one point, ‘Are you getting it high enough on the backsplash?’”

He continued, “Eugene went to all lengths to replace the one or two frozen fruits without a  hechsher to ones with. He also fully researched his vendors and products to ensure their hechsherim and presented me with his research.” Satisfied, Rabbi Donn gave his official kosher certification to the store.

On August 22, a kashrut letter was hung in the store bearing Rabbi Donn Gross’s signature. “This certification covers all of the fruits, juices and smoothies made in the Verona store,” the sign begins. It goes on to list the steps in the kashering procedure.

Green Point Juicery is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday; from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. The store is located at 532 Bloomfield Avenue in Verona, across from Verona Park. Eugene invites kosher consumers to stop in and try his juices and smoothies.  

By Jill Kirsch