Whenever people adopt healthy lifestyles, changing their diets is a major part of that. Studies have shown that drinking juice is linked to a healthier diet overall, according to the USDA, and some juices are nutrient-dense beverages with vitamin C, folate and potassium. Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Co. is not only concerned with contributing to healthy lifestyles, but also providing the highest-quality, best-tasting juices. This is what has allowed the Florida-based company to win many awards and gain a loyal customer base.
“Our purpose is to unite our individual gifts from God in establishing Natalie’s as a transparent food source and a global symbol of clean-label nutrition, while providing American jobs and supporting Florida farmers,” the company says. “It is our family’s responsibility to enrich the lives of those we come in contact with through our award-winning, quality citrus juices and our excellent customer care.”
The company got started in the 1980s. Marygrace Sexton’s husband was a fourth-generation citrus grower and he dreamed of producing fresh-squeezed juice, but was too busy running the family’s packinghouse to switch his focus. Marygrace Sexton realized she could bring his idea to life, and she named the operation after her daughter, Natalie.
At the beginning, Natalie’s only squeezed Indian River fruit grown in Sexton’s groves. The fruit was hand selected for quality, maturity and taste, and the juice was squeezed daily to guarantee its freshness. This method of production worked well, and Marygrace Sexton earned her first sale in November 1990 to Carnival Fruit in Miami. To get more help, Sexton asked her brothers – John and Bil Martinelli – to join the business. Their expertise had a major impact on the growth of the company, it says, and soon the business expanded to a larger facility in Fort Pierce, Fla. Another of Sexton’s brothers, Frank Martinelli, joined the operation to turn the new facility into a state-of-the-art juice plant.
“Since our humble beginnings we have been blessed to be nationally recognized 10 times for producing America’s best-tasting fresh Florida juices,” the company says. “Today, our products can be found in over 30 states and 24 countries worldwide.
“As our company progresses, we welcome the second generation of family, Natalie and Lucy, daughters of CEO Marygrace. We are proud of our most recent accomplishment – being certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. Our family continues to be committed to the Florida farmer and remains dedicated to our local and global communities. Squeezing clean-label, fresh Florida juice is a labor of love that we hope nourishes and gives back to our consumers on a daily basis.”
‘A Refreshing Escape’
Natalie’s juices include orange, grapefruit, honey tangerine, natural lemonade, strawberry lemonade, orange mango and orange pineapple, as well as pure lemon and pure lime juices, margarita mix and sweet-and-sour bar mix. The company’s juices frequently have been recognized by Cook’s Illustrated, Cook’s Country, Woman’s Day, Bon Appetit and Good Housekeeping magazines.
Natalie’s maintains the quality in its juices by abiding by the five-step Natalie’s Way system:
- The company starts by only using fresh Florida citrus, choosing fruit for its quality and maturity.
- The fruit is unloaded and washed multiple times, and Natalie’s selects only the highest-quality fruit to be squeezed
- To ensure freshness, Natalie’s squeezes its juice to order every day. The company explains the juices are gourmet pasteurized for the minimum amount of time at the minimum temperature to retain the quality and nutrition for which its juices are known. Natalie’s takes pride in selling “clean-label juices” that never have preservatives, hidden ingredients or flavor packs.
- Once the company’s bottles are filled with juice, they are rinsed and packaged for delivery. Natalie’s says that all of its packaging – including its bottles, labels, caps, boxes and box tape – is made in America and 100 percent recyclable.
- The company notes that the final step in its process is to remain the juice company with the smallest carbon footprint in the industry. Its ongoing goal is to produce a product that is a source of nutrition while being environmentally thoughtful and remaining committed to Florida growers.
“We are committed to nourishing generations of juice connoisseurs with the highest-quality, authentic, Florida citrus juices,” the company explains. “Our goal is to ignite a passion for Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice as the exclusive juice choice demanded by discriminating consumers, while providing a refreshing escape from today’s restless lifestyle.”