At the London Produce Show I had the chance to talk to Chris Hodge, INTERNATIONAL & WEST TERRITORY SALES MANAGER at Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice, a women-owned company from Florida for prime citrus juice. We talked about his reason to attend the London Produce Show and his views about the orange juice market.
Listen to the interview.
The Natalie’s story begins in a family orange grove where Marygrace Sexton was pulling her daughter Natalie in a red wagon. Her husband, a fourth generation citrus grower, dreamed of producing fresh squeezed juice, but was too busy running the family’s packinghouse to see it through. Marygrace was determined to bring his idea to fruition. On that crisp fall morning, in the middle of the grove, Marygrace decided to begin her labor of love, and name it after her daughter Natalie. At the start of the company, only Indian River fruit grown in Sexton’s groves was squeezed. The fruit was hand selected for quality, maturity and taste. The juice was – and still is – squeezed daily in order to guarantee its freshness. In November of 1990, Marygrace landed her first sale to Carnival Fruit in Miami, FL.
Soon realizing she needed more help, Marygrace asked her brothers John and Bil Martinelli to join. Their business expertise have had a profound impact on the growth of the company. To keep up with demand, the time soon came to expand to a larger facility in Fort Pierce, FL. Not long after, brother Frank Martinelli came on board the family business and took on a lead role turning Natalie’s new facility into a state-of-the-art juice production plant. Since our humble beginnings we have been blessed to be nationally recognized ten times for producing America’s Best Tasting Fresh Florida Juices. 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.