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Best place to buy grapefruits and oranges in bulk?

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So after reading about how my "fresh" Tropicana orange and grapefruits juices aren't so fresh and are chemically flavoured, I went out and bought a citrus juicer. I made a litre of delicious ruby red grapefruit juice in just a few minutes, but the 6 grapefruits that it took cost me $10. So I'm clearly NOT going to be buying my juice fruits at Bruno's anymore.

What is my best bet for buying citrus fruits in bulk? Should I just go to Costco? Or am I better off at a Highland Farms (which I've never shopped at) or a T&T or someplace else? I have never bought fruit in bulk before an am somewhat at a loss as to where to go. North of Eglinton suggestions work best for me.

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  1. There's no harm in asking for a case price at your favorite grocer.

    6 Replies
    1. re: OTFOODIE

      Costco - off Wilson Ave. east of Dufferin - has fair prices on bulk Florida oranges and grapefruit in season, but now is not the season. What you'll find there nowadays is product from South Africa, and some other faraway countries, which are certainly serviceable but aren't nearly as juicy, flavorful and price-appropriate. Best to wait till the season starts again in the fall - which means having to make do with Tropicana.

      My rule of thumb for juicing your own is: if I can't juice oranges or grapefruit for two for $1 (50 cents per small glass for breakfast), it ain't worth the price. No trouble doing that in winter, when you can get 5 lb. (usually eight juice oranges) for $3.99 most anywhere. Two juiced oranges will usually yield two glasses. In summer, it's Tropicana, alas, (though the orange/mandarin blend isn't bad), or eating oranges and grapefruit from South Africa or elsewhere whole,and having to put up with the occasional dried-out dud in the sack. Seems to me I read somewhere that eating a half-grapefruit rather than juicing it is more nutritious anyway.

      1. re: juno

        Thanks, juno. I think I'd rather pay for overpriced fruit shipped from South Africa than drink Tropicana anymore. I was so disappointed to find out that "fresh juice" flavour I loved is nothing more than chemistry and that the juice is stored in giant tanks for up to a year.

        I'll head to Costco this afternoon...

        1. re: TorontoJo

          The South African navel oranges they sold me had little flavor, not much sweetness either. So yesterday I picked up the other S.A. oranges, which promise dark red flesh and lots of flavor. We'll see. Last month they had California Valencia, which were superb.

          Frankly I like Kirkland frozen OJ. Great flavor and pricing. I don't think frozen OJ goes through the same flavor-added treatment as Tropicana,

          1. re: jayt90

            In the interview I read, the author implies that the most frozen concentrates do go through the same processing. :(

            1. re: TorontoJo

              Here is what I learned about the frozen process:
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orange_j...

              It goes through some but not all of the same process as Tropicana; it is fresh squeezed, pasteurized and frozen, but not de-oxygenated, which badly strips flavors.
              Nonetheless flavors are added back: "essences and oils recovered during the vacuum concentration process" go back in. This is not the same as adding chemical flavorings or orange peel flavorings which has been used and may still be used by to Tropicana.

              1. re: jayt90

                Sounds kind of like the raw milk idiocy: pasteurization strips the milk of its healthful probiotics; and what's the latest marketing craze to hit milk/yogurt products? Yup... added probiotics.

    2. TorontoJo, where did you read this about Tropicana. Time for me to become more informed about the juice I've been feeding my family for years. It's amazing what the term "Not from concentrate" implies, isn't it? Should I brace myself?

      5 Replies
      1. re: Tatai

        Hey Tatai,

        I started a new thread over on General Chowhounding Topics so we wouldn't get deleted here:

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/638209

        But the quick answer is "yes, you should brace yourself". :(

        1. re: TorontoJo

          Thanks, TorontoJo... yet another product that's more than the sum of its perceived parts.

          1. re: Tatai

            Look at it this way, you are getting more than you are paying for, for a change! :-)

            1. re: Tatai

              Any massed produced product has the same issues as discussed above -
              Grape juice - ever squeeze a grape and get anything like Grape Juice you buy?
              Clamato Juice - do you really think that they collect the juice of shucked clams?
              Chocolate Milk.. I could go on....

              So if you are giving up orange juice based on that book you might as well throw away any packaged / processed food in your house (and never eat at 99% of restaurants)...

              1. re: OnDaGo

                My issue is with the perceived claims of the product. They market it as fresh squeezed -- just oranges and nothing else. I don't expect grape juice, cranberry juice, or any other processed "juice drinks" to be held to the same standard.

        2. I am not sure how the price compares to Costco but I notice a lot of Asian grocers sell cases of oranges. Next time you are close to one you may want to check out the prices. I don't think T & T has the best price for produce though. So far my favorite for a balance on price and quality for produce is First Choice, but First Choice is up in Markham (kennedy just north of 14th).

          1 Reply
          1. re: sweetie

            I recall reading the same article TorontoJo refers to, in which Tropicana is taken to task for assorted chemical manipulations to its so-called "fresh" juices. What's annoying is not that Tropicana does it - most mass-market products are manipulated somehow, though not dangerously so (presumably) - but the now-meaninglessness of the word "fresh". Like the word "gourmet" and a host of other debased adjectives used to describe our food.

            But to get back to the original request, namely where to get oranges and grapefruits for juicing. The answer: at this time of year, nowhere. There are precious few sources available till the fall, when Florida citrus returns to the market. You'll find the odd, deteriorating bag around from some storage facility, I suppose, but mostly you'll have to make do with so-called eating oranges and grapefruits from South Africa, South America, perhaps Texas and California, none of which are as juicy and tasty as the Florida juicing products. The alternatives: make do with the now-available thick-skinned eating oranges and grapefruit from abroad, eating them whole. Or, as jay90 has noted above, try the frozen concentrate. If you're feeling flush, Pusateri's and other fancy joints offer fresh-squeezed at an horrendous price. But nothing beats the taste and nutrition you get from squeezing it yourself.

            I've never found the Asian grocers' citrus to be up to much best time of year.

            Which leaves us with Tropicana and its imitators. Though I note that the British comic John Cleese, in Toronto recently, complained that he couldn't get a decent glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice at his hotel. They kept offering him "fresh" Tropicana instead. Not only is it not fresh-squeezed, he insisted, it's not even fresh. They seemed bewildered at what he was talking about.

            In short, TorontoJo, put your new juicer aside till the fall. Though if you discover a source of good juicing citrus these days, let me know - immediately!

          2. Bump.
            Anyone have a good source for fresh bulk (i.e. a small case) of Florida oranges in TO ? 'Tis the season and they are oh so tasty...