When I first started blogging, I thought I’d get as far as a couple repins on Pinterest and maybe some Facebook shares. I would never have thought I’d one day be sipping mimosas with some of the most fabulous bloggers, getting vitamin c facials at the Ritz-Carlton, and visiting the Tropicana orange groves in Sarasota.
I’ve been drinking Tropicana orange juice since I was a little girl. When they invited me on this trip to celebrate their 70th year of providing delicious and nutritious 100% pure orange juice, I was ecstatic. My mom couldn’t get me to down anything other than orange juice and pop tarts for the first ten years of my life, so it was cool to have the chance to learn all about Tropicana, the brand that practically helped me grow!
Tropicana sponsored this post, but all opinions are my own ♥ Thank you, for keeping Simply Taralynn afloat!
On Monday morning, I arrived at the Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota, FL, where the event was hosted. The weather was perfect, and I knew it was going to be a fun day. I had a couple of hours to spare, so I made a cup of coffee and enjoyed the views while I worked from the balcony.
If you want to welcome a bunch of bloggers to an event the right way, follow in Tropicana‘s footsteps. They welcomed us with mimosas out on the terrace and gave us the 411 on Vitamin C and oranges. They answered any questions we had and prepared us for our facials. They gave us the chance to experience the positive power of the orange 🙂
Vitamin C is not only good for the insides; it’s healthy for the skin (when you do it the right way.) Please do not run to the kitchen and start spreading orange juice on your face.
I can’t stand to be inside at all in the summer. My face is always exposed to ultraviolet radiation and environmental pollutants when I’m out at the beach, or on my long runs. When we were informed that vitamin C helps with sun damage and aging skin, I was all ears. This facial was exactly what I needed, and it was extremely educational, too. The Ritz-Carlton is known for their Vitamin C facials.
I’m not sure if anyone will be shocked by this, but I’ve never had a facial in my entire life. I asked how often we should receive them and, she said every time the season changes. Apparently, need to step-up my facial game. The facial was about fifty minutes, and it smelled heavenly. Orange is one of my favorite scents, so this trip was the perfect fit. I received a facial massage, peel, mask, and moisturizer to help recover my skin. When the facial was over with, I touched my face, and I felt like I was touching someone else’s. It was so smooth and soft. I was left with a youthful glow for sure. The topical Vitamin C helps boost collagen synthesis to slow its loss, which helps repair damaged skin. She showed me my skin under a black light so I could see sun spots and the areas where I was dehydrated. I was most dehydrated by the eyes and on the cheeks. I have never been more inspired to wear sunscreen in my entire life…
After the facial, we sat around the spa and chatted. It was so cool to meet other bloggers, and some I’ve already been on press trips with before.
After our afternoon at the spa, I headed back to my room to get ready for dinner. I was so relaxed from the facial, that I laid on the bed, smelling like a juicy orange, for about an hour. I only gave myself twenty minutes to throw on a dress and make-up. That was straight up spa hair.
The dinner views were breathtaking. The chefs at the hotel prepared our dinner with hints of Tropicana oranges to make our experience even more special. All of the food tasted so earthy and fresh. I left inspired to start incorporating fresh oranges into my recipes.
We had Tropicana inspired cocktails to start off the night. I had an orange mint julep, and I’ve been dreaming about it ever since. They thought of everything.
The table decor was impressive. We were surrounded by candles, fresh oranges, and succulents.
Our starting salad consisted of mixed baby greens, orange segments, cured cherry tomatoes, grilled fennel, feta cheese, and orange oregano vinaigrette. It was wonderful and almost too beautiful to eat.
For our entree selection, we had the choice between a grilled filet of beef, or pan seared grouper. I hadn’t had grouper in a very long time, and it’s one of my favorite kinds of fish, and it’s lovely paired with orange, so I chose that! I just wish I could eat this all over again. It had citrus beurre blanc, tomato vierge herb risotto, and seasonal vegetables. Every bite was magical.
The dessert was a work of art. I felt bad eating the gorgeous orange cake, but every bite was worth the destruction. It was paired with honey soaked strawberries, sweet meringue, a candied orange, and chocolate.
I like to end my day the same way I start it…with coffee.
We had an early start on Tuesday. Breakfast was served at 6:30 am, and our shuttle to the Grove was taking off at 8 am. I decided to wake up with the sunrise and get some work done before the day started. I always love being up to watch the sun.
I had coffee and an orange around 5:00 am, and yes, I took that orange from the table decor 😉
I headed down to breakfast around 7:30 to have coffee with some of the bloggers and get my OJ fix before heading to the grove!
Don’t forget to check out these talented ladies after you finish reading this post 🙂 Everyone was so nice, and it was awesome to see some familiar faces.
Myka / Myka Stauffer Cara / Cara Loren Julia / Lemon Stripes Gina / Running to the Kitchen Davida / The Healthy Maven Hallie / Among Other Things Julie / PB Fingers Lee / Fit Foodie Finds
When we drove up to the grove, it was breathtaking. The early sun was shining through the trees, the wildlife was at peace, and it was a very calm place. Who would have imagined an orange grove being so therapeutic? And if I had to guess what heaven smells like, I would assume it’s close to the scents of the orange groves.
For a minute, I daydreamed about lacing up my running shoes and taking off through the beautiful groves. The trees were endless, and I could explore for miles.
Tropicana works with over 400 growers across Florida to create a blend that consistently guarantees the freshest and most nutritious juice. They achieve this by hand picking the fruit at the exact moment of ripeness. Once the fruit is picked, it’s transferred to the plant and juiced within eight hours. They time the trucks to make sure all of the oranges picked are juiced that day. Otherwise, they’ll over ripen, and the flavors will be off.
It’s not as easy as picking the fruit off of the tree, taking a bite, and determining the ripeness at that moment. Tropicana has specialists that test the fruit to make sure it’s perfect for picking. It’s crazy to think that the oranges take about twelve months to reach its ripeness. We visited the orange groves about a week and a half before the peak.
No one buys more fruit than Tropicana in Florida. They support local farmers by using miles on miles of orange groves throughout the state. A mature orange tree can grow up to 1000 oranges, and they are all handpicked! I love how many jobs this creates.
The groves are home to a lot of wildlife too. I saw my very first alligator in the wild, and it didn’t scare me as much as I imagined it would. Herons walked around the groves, turkeys, bunnies, deer, and a lot of crab spiders!
We tried oranges straight from the trees. I’ve never had a better orange in my entire life. The oranges cut above are called “juice boxes,” and you can drink from them just like that!
It’s crazy to think that during the peak season, as much as half of the juice in a Tropicana bottle will come directly from the oranges juices picked that day.
The orange blossoms were so pretty.
After exploring the groves, we headed to the plant to see how the oranges turn into delicious orange juice!
They geared us up in orange vests, safety goggles, hair nets, and earplugs. We split up into groups and headed out on our tour of the plant. This is where they turn millions of oranges into 2.5 million bottles and cartons of tasty O.J. on the daily!
As soon as the oranges arrive, they immediately go through the cleaning process. Even the green oranges you see are perfectly ripe. Don’t let the name “orange” fool you.
Once the oranges go through the cleaning process, they are stripped of their oils, have their pulp removed, squeezed into fresh juice, and then immediately packaged up! This was one of the shortest tours I’ve ever been on, and that’s because the process is so simple. The bottles of Tropicana orange juice are 100% orange juice. There is no added sugars, or added anything! One 8 ounce glass provides two servings of fruit, and it’s filled with healthy nutrients that we need to start our days.
Nothing goes to waste either. Tropicana uses the orange peels for cow feed, and the oils are sold for scents and other uses.
It was fun to experience an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at how Tropicana comes to life! I love knowing that when I drink Tropicana, I’m also supporting farmers, adding healthy nutrients to my diet, and starting my day off right. To be honest, I used to think (without looking at the back of the bottle) that orange juice was just water, oranges, and added sugars. Boy, was I wrong! I think that’s a pretty common misconception, and I’m so happy I’ve been informed correctly.
Questions for you!
1. What is your favorite way to consume oranges?
2. Have you ever been to an orange grove?
3. What was one shocking fact you learned from this post?
Don’t forget to follow Tropicana on Social media!