Thursday, 20 May 2010
Young, Nubile Trees: in Search of Organic Orange Juice
A few years ago I was shooting a short film on a houseboat in Docklands, in London. I had written the script and I was also the producer. ¶ The demands of my producer job pretty much consisted of me holding blackout cloths to cover the boat windows during shots (to simulate night) and feeding the cast and crew. ¶ In the latter role, I excelled. I'd prepared various meals and in the course of the day I sent our runners get additional victuals from the nearby Waitrose. ¶ We had two runners, a guy and a girl, who were a study in contrasts. I had brought some wine with us for a party at the end of the shoot and I asked the guy to go to the local Waitrose and buy some posh cheese to go with it. I gave him a handful of cash and sent him off, only to receive a perplexed phone call. He was in Waitrose and he'd asked them and they didn't sell any Posh Cheese. He thought Posh Cheese was a brandname. ¶ The girl runner, however, was incredibly good. I sent her off with a long list of things to get for lunch and she came back with everything on the list and she'd managed to buy it all at startlingly low prices. Clever runner. I was particularly impressed with the organic orange juice which she'd managed to find, at less than half the usual cost. It turned out to be made from concentrate, which was fine with me, and it was my first encounter with this bargain organic juice option. ¶ It was what they called longlife juice, pasteurised by a heat process which lent it its longevity. And it was delicious. After that I made a point of looking into organic juices prepared from concentrate. They were often (though not always) dramatically less expensive than the freshly squeezed versions and often tasted just as good. ¶ Ironically Waitrose, who had introduced me to this concept, were soon off my shopping list. Their version of the juice was substantially more pricey than its competitors and, more to the point, wasn't 100% organic. It also contained "natural fragrances" which presumably are supposed to improve the flavour. ¶ Personally, I tend to think they make your juice taste like an orange scented air freshener has been dipped in it. To my mind Sainsbury's version is much superior, with nothing but organic orange juice in the carton. ¶ It's also a better price and features a priceless description on the back which declares that their oranges are grown on "young, nubile trees". Someone needs to tell them that nubile means "marriageable". Nonetheless, this is currently my supermarket juice of choice.