December to May marks peak orange season in Florida, and locals can indulge in the Sunshine State’s juiciest delicacy—or ship a box of sunshine to snow-logged Northerners—at family-owned staples such as Palm Beach Groves and Juno Beach’s TerMarsch Groves.
But the most notable of South Florida’s citrus comes from Fort Pierce and is available around the world through Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company. Now a major international brand, the business materialized when Marygrace Sexton began juicing fruit from the Indian River groves of her husband, a fourth-generation grower.
More than 30 years in, Natalie’s juice remains clean-label, small-batch, and minimally processed—it’s squeezed on a weekly basis—but the product lineup is evolving with the launch of cold-pressed juices containing functional adaptogens, botanicals, spices, and superfoods. PBI caught up with next-gen juice lady Natalie Sexton, the company’s namesake, for some citrusy insight.
PBI: How can South Floridians best enjoy citrus season?
Sexton: Visit local orange groves and pick fresh citrus off the tree.
What’s special about the state’s citrus?
Florida produces the highest quality oranges due to our tropical geographic region and nutrient-enriched soil. It produces a bountiful, juicy, and sweet citrus crop.
Any fun citrus season facts?
On average, it takes about 44 oranges to make a gallon of orange juice, due to the fact that there are different varieties of oranges grown throughout the season. And within each variety, there’s variation in juice quantity and quality, because some oranges produce higher juice quantities. There are over 11 different varieties of oranges grown in Florida.