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Jul 13, 2009 10:40 PM

Why is Fresh O.J. So Expensive in L.A.?

Hey 'Hounds - I have a serious question, maybe it belongs on another board . . . I hope you can help me figure something out - I just returned from a NYC visit where fresh squeezed OJ is around $4.50 for a 1/2 gallon. What gives? Why are we paying almost $8 bucks here in Southern California? There has to be a reason, and for the life of me I can't figure out what it might be. We have an Orange County for Pete's sake! Shouldn't reasonably priced OJ be one of our birth rights? Do I have to write to the mayor? Maybe it's just me, but this sticks in my craw (and at almost $8 per 1/2 gallon at Ralph's Downtown I guess I'll be trying to wash it down with some other beverage . . . )

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  1. Try the unpasteurized OJ at Fresh & Easy. Good as fresh squeezed and reasonably priced.

    3 Replies
    1. re: darrenk

      Where are these Fresh & Easy stores?? never heard of them before

      1. re: darrenk

        Picked up a half-gallon today at F&E and it was $4.99. Just MAKE SURE you get the unpasteurized stuff, the taste is SO MUCH BETTER! They sell both and the containers look similar.

        Good strawberry lemonade too!

      2. You wanna know why fresh squeezed OJ costs so much here in LA??? I'll tell you why, its cause they import the freakin oranges from Florida, thats why. I can never understand why the growers export most of the oranges elsewhere when they are grown right here, it just boggles the mind.

        3 Replies
        1. re: manolid1

          That does not explain the difference between LA and NYC. If they both import from Florida, then why is the LA price twice that of NYC?

          1. re: PeterL

            LA is twice as far from FL as NYC?

            I'd love to know where the OP is finding fresh OJ for $4.50 here, when my local supermarket charges $7.99 for Tropicana.

          2. re: manolid1

            They import them from Florida because Florida grows juicing oranges. California grows eating oranges.

          3. P.S. wash down your craw when Ralph's has gallon milk on sale for $2 bucks a gallon rofl

            1. Are you serious about the juice being from Florida? If so, that is one possible explanation - NYC is closer than L.A. When I was a production assistant, I was delivering a package to Atlantic Records and while waiting for Mr. Bigshot I got into a conversation with a pretty old security guard who told me that, when he grew up here in L.A., his family used to encounter pitchers of free orange juice put on tables when they ate out - like we might see water today (although I seem to have to ask for even that, now, at most places). I'm going to look into the Florida answer and keep checking back for other explanations . . .

              5 Replies
              1. re: Pigeage

                manolid1 is absolutely correct. CA oranges look better on supermarket shelves, so CA oranges are consumed as fresh fruit or exported. FL oranges look ugly so after they start to specialize in breeding oranges for juicing. Maybe doesn't make any sense for you and me, but it surely makes sense for the economics of the growers.

                1. re: Pigeage

                  That does not explain it. The difference in shipping costs from FL to NY and CA is minimal.

                  1. re: mrfood16

                    When was the last time you saw an orange grove in Orange County? That's ancient history...we now have urbanization and *ta-da*...Disneyland! As in a similar case like Hawaii for pineapples and sugarcane, land is way too expensive for just agriculture. Drink beer, it's probably cheaper?

                  2. re: Pigeage

                    And of all the silly things in the world, they sell Californian oranges in Florida!

                    1. re: Kajikit

                      I love california navels. If I lived in Florida, I would buy them up like crazy when they were in season. If you have a decent fruit store, there's a chance that they will have both Ca and Fla navels late winter/early spring. get a few of each. Peel and eat and note the difference. If you are cutting them and /or only eating the flesh, there is not a huge difference. For peel and eat, however, Ca oranges are hands down the best

                  3. I don't think you're comparing proper oranges to oranges.

                    I usually pay $5 for a very small glass of freshly squeezed OJ in NYC diners and find that the prices for fresh squeezed OJ is much more reasonable here in LA, though obviously not as cheap or as good as freshly squeezed OJ in FL.

                    Maybe if you compare the cheapest fresh squeezed OJ in NYC compared to the most expensive brand at Ralph's downtown. Otherwise, I have found prices in LA to be more favorable than those in NYC.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Porthos

                      The California orange crop is perhaps 3.5 X's smaller than the Florida orange crop - so prices are going to be higher seeing as how a significant % of the California orange crop is exported to other states.

                      1. re: Porthos

                        Hi Porthos - "Oranges to Oranges" - Ha, nice one. Actually, I have compared prices for 1/2 gallons at three locations in Manhattan: Zabars on the Upper West Side (always $4 and change over past year), Dean & Deluca, Soho (Debit & Loss), and Whole Foods in the Time Warner Center to three locations in L.A.: the aforementioned Fresh Faire Ralph's downtown L.A., the fresh squeezed from the Farmer's Market 3rd & Fairfax, and the Whole Foods on Wilshire in Santa Monica. In each case, NYC is cheaper by far - by almost 1/2. I thing Servog (post below) has the right answer - it still sucks, however, and really bothers me and I think we are getting gouged. Makes me want to have a screwdriver and forget the whole thing. As W.C. Fields said to the P.A. who handed him his O.J. (which was supposed to be spiked but wasn't) "Who put orange juice in my orange juice?!"