Uncle Matt’s in the O’Mama Report

Why Organic Orange Juice?

Contributed by Matt McLean of Uncle Matt’s Organic, Inc.

Uncle Matt’s Organic is a fourth generation Florida citrus company founded in 1999.  We offer organic Florida orange juice along with a variety of fresh citrus.  Our family owned 400 acres of conventional citrus in the early ’80s, but the devastating freezes of 1983 and 1985 destroyed everything.  It was not until the late ’90s that our family was able to return to farming.  We decided organic farming was the most logical route.  Today, we farm close to 1,000 acres of organic Florida citrus, consisting of our own groves and groves belonging to several small family farmers.

We believe organic farming is a better way to farm.  My grandfather encouraged us to return to our roots and eliminate harmful pesticides.  Since following his advice, our groves have flourished.  Numerous studies have shown that organic farming is better for you and the environment.

Nutrient density is the current industry buzzword.  Evidence is mounting in the favor of organic citrus.  A study by the American Chemical Society showed organic oranges had up to 30% more vitamin C than their conventional counterparts.  Another study done by a group of Italian scientists showed organic oranges had on average 12% more vitamin C and up to 30% fewer nitrates (Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry). High levels of nitrates are adverse for the body. In addition, a study by Spanish researchers showed organic mandarins had 12% higher vitamin C and 40% more carotenoid antioxidants (Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture).

Along with higher nutrients and antioxidants we believe our oranges simply taste better.  Organic farming uses natural fertilizers that are slow-release and let the tree feed naturally at its own pace.  This lets the tree use its energy for producing sugar and not stimulating unnecessary leaf or root growth.  The result is a higher natural sugar content and a sweeter juice.

Organic farming is believed to have a lower environmental impact than conventional agriculture in terms of better quality soil, water and air.  Long-term research has proven that organic farming improves the quality of soil by increasing the particulate organic matter and the organic carbon content (Marriot and Wander, 2006).  Organic soils actually sequester more carbon, which helps reduce greenhouse gases.  By farming organically, we see more biodiversity in our own citrus groves.  One particular nitrate study by the University of Florida demonstrated one of our organic groves leached much less nitrogen through the soil than other conventional groves. These studies and others like them help validate organic farming and its positive effect on the environment.  This is just one more reason for the consumer to purchase organic products.

Organic orange juice is better for you, your family and the environment.  So pour yourself a tall glass of organic OJ and enjoy orange juice the way it’s meant to be!

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