When you think of fruits native to South Jersey you might think of blueberries and cranberries.
If you think of juices from South Jersey, you might think of Campbell's V-8 juice. (Yay, Jersey Tomato!)
There is a juice that got its start right here in South Jersey. It got its start right in Vineland, Cumberland County. It has nothing to do with blueberries, cranberries, or tomatoes.
It's grape juice!
Yes, Welch's Grape Juice has its roots in Vineland!
Who knew, right?
Although the Welch's Grape Juice Company began in Westfield, New York, the juice was literally "born" in Vineland.
According to TodayIFoundOut.com, grape juice began as a substitute in a church for wine. It was a similar drink, made from grapes, without the alcohol.
"Dr. Welch was a physician, a dentist, and a Methodist minister in Vineland, New Jersey. At the time, Methodists were strongly opposed to the consumption of alcohol. This made serving wine for communion somewhat hypocritical, a discrepancy that Welch was quick to point out. His stance on the matter was so strong that he was even opposed to touching a container holding wine—a problem since he was the communion steward.
The last straw was supposedly when a member of the church turned up at the Welch home one Sunday evening after partaking in a little too much of the communion wine. Welch was furious at the man’s raucous behavior."
The website says Thomas Welch took it upon himself to figure out a process that turned the grapes into something that was alcohol-free. "After successfully preparing the drink, Dr. Welch delivered it to his church and even advertised it to surrounding churches as well."
It was his son, Charles, who took the grape juice ball and ran with it - and the big step forward happened at the World Fair in Chicago in 1893. People were able to sample the product at the fair, and it started to catch on. From there, Charles moved the company to a New York factory and the rest is "grape juice history."
And it all started in Vineland, New Jersey!