Florida Oranges Star in Smoothie King’s Newest Blends
Harness the great tasting power of locally sourced citrus for a drink rich in antioxidants with Smoothie King's latest offerings
Nothing says “Florida” quite like a bright, plump Valencia orange. Whether you prefer to pick and peel one right off the tree or juice a few for a post-workout shake, they’ve earned a reputation as the superfruit of the Sunshine State, helping Floridians sneak in an extra dose of Vitamin C and antioxidants on the daily.
Miami native Fausto Faraldo fondly recalls enjoying a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice every morning at breakfast growing up. “Anytime you can add orange juice to anything—whether it be a meal or a smoothie—it always goes a long way down here,” says Faraldo, owner of three Smoothie Kings in South Florida.
This fall, citrus lovers can satisfy their sense of nostalgia along with their vitamin C cravings at Smoothie King when the brand launches two new smoothies made from Florida Valencia orange juice blend.
Floridians’ affinity for the superfruit isn’t just thanks to its healing powers; it’s also ingrained in our history. Legend has it that explorer and conquistador Juan Ponce de León brought the first Valencia orange trees over from Spain in the mid-1500s, planting them near St. Augustine. Today, Florida supplies the nation with nearly 70 percent of its citrus, which comes from more than 70 million orange trees spanning about 550,000 acres of groves.
Jason Luther and his longtime business partner, Kris Risch, run 11 Smoothie King stores throughout Northeast Florida, some even in St. Augustine where those Valencia oranges first bloomed.
“As you can imagine, people in Florida love oranges. It’s been something that’s been missing off of our menu,” Luther says, noting that it’s been about five years since orange juice has made an appearance on the smoothie company’s lineup.
“When we’re looking at whitespace on our menu and what’s missing, an orange smoothie was an item we thought needed to be put back on the menu,” says Lori Primavera, Smoothie King’s director of product marketing.
Finding the perfect orange juice to introduce was no easy feat. “Our clean blends promise means no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives,” Primavera says. But, the pandemic put the squeeze on things, making now a critical time to offer an additive-free, vitamin-packed orange juice blend.
With everyone focused on maintaining a strong immune system, a dose of Florida’s finest works to support overall health with a rich amount of vitamin C, calcium, iron and other antioxidants. Plus, Florida Valencia orange juice blends, the key ingredient in the new smoothies, are not only nutritious but also give the blend great flavor. “It’s not tart; it’s sweet, it’s smooth,” Primavera says.
The new menu items include smoothies like the Orange X-treme with bananas, apple and pineapple juice, electrolytes and turbinado (to compliment the Florida Valencia orange juice blend), as well as the Immune Builder® Orange smoothie with a mix of the Florida Valencia orange juice blend, apple and pineapple juice, bananas, mangoes and Smoothie King’s proprietary Immune Support Enhancer. Primavera even recommends adding the Florida Valencia orange juice blend to other smoothies to give it a pulpy punch.
While Smoothie King’s new orange juice offering brings a little bit of the Sunshine State to every smoothie across the country, on a local level, the initiative supports growers.
Despite being one of the leading producers of citrus in the country, Florida’s orange groves have struggled over the past decade to fight citrus greening, an infection that stunts the fruit’s growth when it’s still green. An increase in demand and resources may help reinvigorate the hopes of farmers who are working hard to reverse this citrus epidemic.
Sandra Pridemore, a franchisee with three Smoothie King locations in Sarasota and Venice, is inspired by the renewed focus on the fruit. “I think the orange juice blend will make our smoothies taste better, and I think everybody will be excited to know that they’re getting Florida orange juice and helping the economy in our state,” she says.
So on your next trip to Smoothie King, make it a Florida special, and add a little extra sunshine in your cup.