Athletes' secret weapon

    The US Men's Hockey Team plays in the Olympic quarterfinals Wednesday at noon. The team is made up of professional hockey players from several NHL teams. Some of those teams have a secret weapon that is grown in Sodus and made in Geneva, Ontario County.
    The secret is cherries. So.... what do cherries grown in Sodus have to do with the New York Rangers or the Chicago Blackhawks? What do cherries have to do with the New England Patriots? And how do some workers in Geneva help the New York Yankees?The answer is a drink line called Cheribundi.
    "It's not really rocket science per se, it's a juice," said Cheribundi VP of Operations Ed Maguire.
    The juice was first created at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva which is staffed by Cornell University. It was then moved next door to the Technology Farm where it is made today.
    There, cherries are called a "superfruit" said to block inflammation after a workout. Maguire explains, "The speed of the recovery with the athletes within two days using the cherry juice...they were picking up what would normally take then seven to ten days to recover that amount of strength."
    Why has Cheribundi found success?
    The specifics are a company secret, but Maguire did explain that it's all in the processing. They don't damage the "good for you stuff" in the cherries, but do process it enough to make it stable enough to sit on the shelf where it is for sale now at a handful of locations including Wegmans, Tops, Whole Foods, and nationwide in Rite Aid. Starting next month it will be in Walmart.
    Jim Barnes has worked for Cheribundi for four years. He says, "I see where it goes and it goes to a lot of teams. You'd be shocked at what athletes do drink it."
    So why don't we ever see it on TV? Why no Cheribundi shower like a Gatorade shower at the end of a game?
    Well, no athletes are paid to endorse it and it is used hours after a game instead of something players reach for on the bench.
    At least 90 Pro and Division I college teams use it, but it's also marketed to weekend warriors and people who suffer from arthritis and gout.
    Wonder if it would work for you? Maguire says, "We have what we call the Cheribundi challenge. Drink it for seven days and see if you don't feel better."

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