It is synonymous with Passover treats, an iconic Jewish dessert known to all — chewy, colorful, candy fruit slices. For over seventy years, Boston Fruit Slices has produced the sweet treat. Years ago, Passover treats were rare and we did not have the sophisticated kosher for Passover treats that you can find in the stores today.

Boston Fruit Slices is a small company, with a few dozen employees, founded by Vincent Aliberti. Aliberti bought the fruit slice line from H.W. Powers Candy Co., another Boston company, in 1984. Powers Candy was the first company to produce fruit slices in the United States. Although ownership has changed twice since then, Boston Fruit Slices has kept the same recipe for three decades. Current owners, John Morrissey, and Rick Hiera work together to bring the delectable treat to homes nationwide.

While there are competitors, Boston Fruit Slices is the best known brand. Different varieties include mini slices, chocolate-covered slices, and unique flavors. Boston Fruit Slices’ product is superior to other brands for several different reasons: the fruit-juice flavor, the gelling agent (agar as opposed to pectin), and the egg-white fluff for the fruit slice rind. The slices are tossed in piles of sugar and packaged in a rainbow pattern in every box.

Boston Fruit Slices is inspected year round by local, Boston-bred, mashgiach, Rabbi Yaakov Blotner, who enjoys a warm relationship with the company. “Located just down the street from where I was born, Boston Fruit Slices provides a kind of homecoming experience for me. During my many years of supervision there, I have found the management focused on kashrus concerns with the same enthusiasm they apply to the quality of their product. Whether it is a regular ingredient discussion, or the complicated transition from Year Round to Passover production, they do a thorough, competent job and hold kosher in high esteem.”

The slices are available year-round, but Passover is the busiest season for Boston Fruit Slices. “It’s a decent part of our business,” Hiera says. “The sales always stay steady.” Transitioning to Passover production comes with its own challenges and regulations. The entire factory must be kosherized for Passover and the entire production is supervised by an OK rabbi who comes specifically to oversee the Passover production. In addition to koshering, ingredients must be substituted to comply with Passover restrictions. Corn syrup must be replaced with tapioca or potato syrup and the number of flavor varieties is cut down from 13 to four – cherry, orange, lemon and lime.

“Boston Fruit Slices is committed to selling kosher candies, especially during Passover. Our fruit slices are a traditional item during Passover going back nearly 60 years…”

Rabbi Zalman Borenstein, the OK’s Passover mashgiach sees firsthand the company’s commitment to high kosher standards, especially for the complex Passover restrictions. “Boston Fruit Slices is a pleasure to work for. They treat kashrus with respect and we have enjoyed a close working relationship for many years. To prepare for the Pesach run, the employees at Boston Fruit Slices worked extensively to clean the factory of all the year-round sugars. It is especially difficult in a company like this since the sugars tend to stick to the machines. Once I was doing my final inspections right before closing time and I noticed that the two cooling tanks still had some sugary residue. When I pointed this out to Rick and his son Mike, they agreed to stay together with the manager to guarantee the machines would be cleaned according to Passover requirements. This cleaning took them several hours past closing time, and this was after a long hard day of koshering.”

The sweet confections have a unique production process. First the sugar and gelling mixture is boiled and immediately cooled. Next, the flavor and color is added to the mix and the thick syrup is poured on waxed paper. Then, the mixture that makes the rind is poured on top. More syrup is poured into wedge shaped molds, which are later put through a slicing machine. Once the wedges are sliced, they are tossed into vats of sugar to coat each slice. Finally, the slices are dried before being packed.

According to Rabbinic Coordinator Rabbi Yitzchak Hanoka, “Boston Fruit Slices is an old-time company with traditional, time tested production methods. They excel in their unique niche and always show respect for kashrus and OK policies. Communication with Rick and his team is smooth and he is a pleasure to work with.”

Approximately 5,000 pounds of fruit slices are produced each day of operation! The slices are packed in bulk packages for wholesale clubs, and smaller packages for grocery stores and specialty shops.

General Manager, Rick Hiera, places kosher high on his list of priorities. “Boston Fruit Slices is committed to selling kosher candies, especially during Passover.  Our fruit slices are a traditional item during Passover going back nearly 60 years.  Working with a nationally recognized rabbinical service like the OK offers our customers the confidence that our fruit slices and other candies meet the highest kosher standards.”

Enjoy your Boston Fruit Slices this Passover with the confidence that they are kosher without compromise.