Local business brings healthy ginger juice to market

Turmeric Magic is a ginger-based juice available in four flavors. CONTRIBUTED BY MIANYA'S PHOTOGRAPHY

Credit: MIANYA'S PHOTOGRAPHY

Credit: MIANYA'S PHOTOGRAPHY

Your first sip of juice from Turmeric Magic may catch you by surprise. There’s no mistaking the powerful punch of the fresh ginger that is the predominant flavor in every variety. Still, for Annie Kibe and Julius Muthami, the company is all about sharing the healthy benefits of turmeric.

Both Kibe and Muthami were born in Kenya. Muthami came to the U.S. to pursue a degree in information technology; Kibe came to join her mother here and also to pursue her education. They met in college, and married. Both remember their Kenyan grandmothers serving a tea of ginger, honey and lime every morning.

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Annie Kibe (left) and Julius Muthami are the creators of Turmeric Magic. CONTRIBUTED BY MIANYA'S PHOTOGRAPHY

Credit: MIANYA'S PHOTOGRAPHY

Credit: MIANYA'S PHOTOGRAPHY

When Kibe injured her back after the birth of their second child, she was taking prescription medication to deal with the pain. Muthami did some research, and decided to resurrect that childhood ginger tea, but to add a pinch of turmeric. Kibe noticed her pain decreased after just two weeks, and her husband began using it as both a pre- and post-workout drink.

When they played host to friends and family in their Acworth home, the couple served it as a farewell drink at the end, and their guests would comment that they woke up the next day feeling refreshed.

“How can we get some?” friends asked, and soon Kibe and Muthami were bottling their juice in Mason jars and selling it to friends and co-workers.

They decided to sell it at farmers markets, starting in 2018, with their local Acworth Farmers Market. Now, they also sell at the Roswell and Alpharetta markets, as well as in a few smoothie stores around metro Atlanta. The juice also is available at the Buford Highway Farmers Market, and they will deliver within a 10-mile radius of Atlanta. Their 18-year-old son, Ian Kibe, is an employee, and he and Kibe’s brother head out each Saturday morning with Muthami to sell Turmeric Magic to market customers.

Sunday evenings find the family at Fat Lady Bakery in Marietta, where they rent commercial kitchen space to make their juice. “In one evening, we make the juice for the whole week,” Kibe said. “It can take us eight hours. We take our juicers and a few blenders, and while one person is juicing the produce, the others are bottling and labeling. We can produce between 350 and 400 bottles in an evening.”

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Sixty pounds of ginger are used each week to make the 350 to 400 bottles of Turmeric Magic ordered by customers. CONTRIBUTED BY MIANYA'S PHOTOGRAPHY

Credit: MIANYA'S PHOTOGRAPHY

Credit: MIANYA'S PHOTOGRAPHY

During an evening of production, they might go through 60 pounds of ginger, 5 pounds of turmeric and 10 pounds of limes. Add to that the mint, passion fruit and mango they use to prepare their four flavors. They’re working on a new version with pineapple, a flavor Kibe said is appealing particularly to children. “It’s a good way to introduce them to the benefits of turmeric.”

She said their customers inspired a change in the original recipe: “We started with honey, the way our grandmothers did. But, as we started selling to more customers, we began using agave, so the juice would satisfy our vegan customers, as well. We do have some original customers who prefer the honey, and we will make a batch especially for them.”

The first flavor was ginger lime, but they soon introduced the mint, passion fruit and mango varieties. Kibe said mint is her favorite. “We introduced it in 2018, and I think it’s the perfect summer drink — so refreshing, when it’s very hot outside.”

One of the things they enjoy about being at the farmers markets is hearing from their customers about how much the drink has helped with minor health issues. “People keep raving about how they had aches and pains that went away after consuming the juice on a regular basis,” Kibe said.

The couple hopes their next step will be to open a commercial kitchen serving juice and beverage companies. “Most commercial kitchens in the area are not really set up for juicing,” Kibe said. “And, coming from Africa, where it is very rare of anyone to go to the hospital, we want to share the benefits of using herbs for healing. It’s so satisfying to hear our customers experience the benefits of the great tasting juice that we enjoyed in our childhood.”

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