Leave it to a family of orange growers in Valencia to come up with an inventive way to extract fresh juice from an orange. The Zumex Juicer looks like something out of an episode of Get Smart. Put a whole orange into one end of the sleek countertop machine (peel and all), and 5 seconds later you have fresh, cold orange juice in your glass. How did it do that? The juicer peels, seeds and squeezes the fruit at a rate of 28 oranges per minute. It's like some crazy magic trick.
The high speed juicer has recently been popping up around town in delis and small cafes as consumer's desire for healthy alternatives pushes towards local produce - and what's more local than oranges? That's what Emilse Longo and Gina Lopez, importers of this nifty piece of equipment are counting on as they brave the hyper-competitive beverage market with their locally grown fresh squeezed option.
We sat down with these budding entrepreneurs over a $4 glass of orange juice and quickly realized they have a passion for their fruit. "Zumex is the number 1 selling juice machine in the world" Emilse tells us, and adds that the equipment can juice oranges, lemons, limes and small grapefruits, making it a perfect fit for the sunshine state.
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The two women met years ago as opponents on the tennis court.Their healthy active lifestyle and desire to be independent brought them together in their new venture.
They pointed out that over the years it's become common to find fresh orange juice in cartons in your grocery store year round. Thanks to pasteurization and processing the product tastes fresh and is often fortified with vitamins, calcium and other supplements meant to "enhance " your morning OJ experience. But as Emilse says, "nothing beats the juice from a fresh orange".
These women have a long road ahead of them. This past year the Florida Citrus Commission has had to struggle with the fight against childhood obesity campaign sweeping the nation that requires calorie counts to be prominently displayed on the front label. Because one thing is certain for all OJ; it packs calories. At 121 calories in a 10 ounces serving and 22 grams of sugar, we can't consume blindly, Growers are concerned the calorie-conscious consumer will forgo it in the morning.
Gina tells us "our goal is to have customers go into stores and order a "Zumex" when referring to their juice purchase." Will Zumex reach the heights of FedEx, Starbucks or Xerox? Unlikely, but we'll enjoy our Zumex wherever we can, even if just to see the machine in action.