The Edgy Veggie

Florida crops pop up in fresh juices

Tsamma Watermelon Juice
Tsamma Watermelon Juice

It’s National Agriculture Week, your red-hot celebration of the goodness that grows. We’re toasting it with a few local libations: produce-packed, blush-red beauties.

Miami-made Tio Gazpacho ($10 for 12 ounces) is smooth, not chunky like the Spanish classic, so you can drink it out of the bottle. “No bowl required,” as their marketing goes.

It’s not your made-to-order, cold-pressed juice, but it’s still a salad in glass — OK, a bottle — and a bold, bracing twist on the original. Tio Gazpacho’s rich red Clasico features organic tomato, green pepper, red onion, cucumber, garlic, olive oil, sea salt and splash of sherry vinegar. A 12-ounce serving contains 100 calories, 7 grams fat, 700 milligrams sodium (yow, that’s a lot), 6 grams sugar, 3 grams fiber and 2 grams protein.

In sourcing product, Tio (real name Austin Allan) had to find the sweet spot between organic and local, but he prefers when they coincide. The organic yellow tomatoes in his mellow Gazpacho del Sol (he also makes a Gazpacho Verde) are grown on Florida’s west coast. Tio Gazpacho is available at many indie and natural food stores, including Milam’s and Epicure.

Fort Pierce-based Natalie’s Juice does the Florida citrus thang but juices a few other local crops, too, including beet. Natalie’s Orange Beet Juice ($4.29 for 32 ounces) is made from Florida oranges and beet purée (and these beets are GMO-free).

The juice is thick with a nice tart-sweet balance and has a knockout garnet color. Available in many supermarkets and at Whole Foods, an 8-ounce serving contains 110 calories, no fat, 40 milligrams sodium, 21 grams sugar (um, blame the beets), 1 gram fiber and 2 grams protein.

Two words: watermelon juice. I once had it fresh in Singapore — dazzling, refreshing and rosy — a perfect lipstick shade.

Tsamma ($5 for 12 ounces), made from watermelon grown upstate and elsewhere and slightly amended/blended with pomegranate and white grape juice, almost delivers the Singapore experience. It’s cold pressed, sweet, hydrating and a beauty in a bottle. An 8-ounce serving contains 80 calories, no sodium, 17 grams sugar, plus 1 gram each fiber and protein. Find it at Fresh Market.

A Texas A&M study indicates watermelon has the same effect on men as Viagra. We’ll drink to that.

Ellen Kanner is the author of “Feeding the Hungry Ghost: Life, Faith and What to Eat for Dinner.”

Florida Strawberry Smoothie

In keeping with our red- and local-produce beverage theme, behold an easy, luscious strawberry smoothie. Simple, seasonal, sensational and a total guilt-free treat. Enjoy now, with Florida berries at their juicy, sweet peak. Serves 1.

1 banana (freeze for a thicker smoothie)

1/2 cup ripe Florida strawberries

3 tablespoons fresh Florida orange juice (about half an orange)

Throw ingredients in a blender, blitz for a minute or until smooth and creamy. Pour into a tall glass and serve at once.

Source: Ellen Kanner for Edgy Veggie.

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