- Author: Bonnie Brown
Ventura County Master Gardener
A blind lemonade and orange juice taste-testing trial was incorporated into a recent citrus grower workshop in Santa Paula. The topic of the meeting was lemon rootstocks and scions and the attendees were for the most part lemon growers. This seemed like an opportune time during the refreshment portion of the workshop to see what commercial lemonade and orange juices these professional growers might prefer. This would be an unreplicated trial, since it was only this one time with a small set of tasters, but might be give a sense of what citrus farmers prefer as their juice.
Four different orange juice brands and four different lemonade brands were chosen based on a range of prices. Two tables, one with lemonades and the other with orange juices, were divided into four sections labeled with Roman numerals, 1-4. A small amount of each juice was provided to the tasters in unmarked cups. The testers ranked their preferences on a grid with an 'A' though 'D' ranking beneath the corresponding Roman numeral label. “A” being the preferred juice and “D” being the least preferred. A paper label on the juice container temporarily concealed the juice's actual identity.
In this small,unreplicated trial, the most expensive juices did not have the greatest number of taster votes. None of the tasters expressed negative opinions about any of the juices, but there were definite preferences as can be seen by the tally. There's no accounting for growers' tastes, maybe.
ORANGE JUICE RESULTS, in order of preference:
Trader Joe's fresh squeezed orange juice; 16 votes; 8.6 cents/oz.
Walmart store brand; 6 votes; 3.5 cents/oz.
Tropicana Original; 5 votes; 5.5 cents/oz.
Simply Orange with pulp; 3 votes; 9.0 cents/oz.
Simply Lemonade; 12 votes; 5.8 cents/oz.
Tropicana Lemonade; 10 votes; 6.8 cents/oz.
Minute Maid Lemonade; 5 votes; 2.3 cents/oz.
Newman's Own Virgin Lemonade; 3 votes; 5.6 cents/oz.
We thank all who were involved in this survey and to the five Master Gardeners who have been involved in not only the organization of this tasting, but also the grower meeting and help in harvesting some of the lemon trials that were reported on at this meeting.