CBS2 gets behind-the-scenes look at how traditional Passover staples and new foods are prepared

BAYONNE, N.J. — On Friday night, Jewish families around the world will celebrate the first night of Passover.

Up until the last minute, manufacturers are working to get traditional food items to their homes. They gave CBS2’s Lisa Rozner a behind-the-scenes look at how it’s done.

In a Bayonne warehouse one could hear the first sounds of Passover; bottles of grape juice making their way through a conveyer belt for packaging and sealing. Before being bottled, the wine and grape juice is harvested at an upstate New York winery and the final blending and finishing takes place inside tanks in the warehouse.

“It reintroduces the gas into solution and, voila, you end up having a sparkling wine right here,” said Jay Buchsbaum, the executive vice president of marketing for Royal Wine Corp.

A look at Passover wine


There are traditionally four cups of wine at the Seder table, representing the redemption of the Jews from slavery in Egypt.

“In this spot, alone, we have wines from Spain and Israel and Chile,” Buchsbaum said.

Eighth generation company owner Nathan Herzog said some of his overhead costs increased 30 percent, but consumers are only paying a few cents more this year for Kedem, one of the company’s most popular brands.

“They worked overtime making sure the glass is coming in, the plastic is coming in, that the grapes are harvesting,” Herzog said. “Because we feel it a responsibility to the community for people to make Kiddish, for people to drink with the four cups.”

Families will gather around a Seder plate, containing foods symbolic to the Jews’ exodus from Egypt, and matzo represents the unleavened bread the Jews ate on their journey, because there was no time to let the bread rise.

Manischewitz has been making matzo for more than 130 years.

“We have gluten-free varieties. We have spelt varieties, and then for those mint lovers we have mint chocolate-covered matzo, which is like a Girl Scout cookie matzo,” said Shani Seidman, chief marketing officer for Kayco, the maker of Manischewitz.

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This Passover the company is also debuting almond butter chocolate, Calabrian chili peppers, Korean BBQ-roasted seaweed, and, “Our no-sugar-added chocolate bar. This is first to market for kosher for Passover,” Seidman said.

And from soup to nuts, there are more than 100 food brands in Kayco’s Bayonne warehouse ready to be distributed.

“Something that comes in today can land in a store tomorrow,” Kayco Vice President of Sales Harold Weiss said.

This Passover there is another holiday staple — kosher meat – that can land on your doorstep.

“The genesis of this project for me was living in Brussels, where we had very little kosher meat,” said Elliot Moskowitz, CEO of Prairie Street Prime.

READ MORENonprofits out in force in NYC to make sure food is distributed for Passover, Ramadan

Moskowitz, a Wall Street veteran, founded Prairie Street Prime, personally sourcing prime meat which the USDA considers the highest grade.

“From the process of slaughter to packaging, we are highly supervised by the rabbis. They have cameras,” Moskowitz said. “Our freezers are 20 degrees below zero. We process and flash freeze the next day. Over the last four months we’ve been building significant inventory.”

He said the big sellers are the lamb and the brisket. Showing Rozner one of the cuts he said, “We’re known for having the best lamb in the country and this is a beautiful signature dish.”

One nonprofit, Jew Belong, is encouraging people to add to their plate “peace” olives for Ukraine, inspired by an olive branch, and coffee to wake people up to the growing cases of antisemitism.

“All you need to do to celebrate Passover is to eat and drink,” Buchsbaum said.

All that said, Happy Passover!

For resources on where to find a free story book, known as a Haggadah, that families read along with for the first two nights of Passover, please click here.

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