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Frosty lips get a kiss of Florida sunshine

It was a balmy 28 degrees Fahrenheit when fresh-squeezed Ridge Island Groves orange juice reached the frosty lips of attendees to this year’s Icelandair Mid-Atlantic Tradeshow.

Savannah Reynoso packs bottles of orange juice at Ridge Island Groves. The orange juice will be delivered to Iceland in less than 24 hours, where it will be served at a travel trade show.

“I like to think of it as sharing a little Florida sunshine with these folks,” said Joni Allen, the tourism industry sales specialist for Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing (PCTSM).

For the third year in a row international tour operators sipped fresh orange juice thanks to the long standing partnership between PCTSM, Ridge Island Groves and FM Tours. However, the idea didn’t come to fruition overnight.

PCTSM’s participation in annual international travel trade shows, such as Florida Huddle and IPW, allowed Allen to cultivate a strong business relationship with Michael Marzano, president of FM Tours. And having a long-standing relationship with Archie Ritch and the staff at Ridge Island Groves only made the impossible seem more possible.

The “farm to table” fresh squeezed Central Florida orange juice started out as oranges, harvested and squeezed just hours before the tradeshow by Ridge Island Groves crew, who followed strict measures to maintain and protect its quality. The staff then filled bottles of liquid sunshine that were transported to the Orlando International Airport by PCTSM staff and rushed across the Atlantic on Icelandair for delivery to their Reykjavik headquarters within 24 hours.

FM Tours is the leader in Nordic travel to Florida and partners exclusively with Icelandair for its client travel.

“Icelandair is amazing to work with,” said Michael Marzano, president of FM Tours. “They are creative, innovative, and challenge normalcy. It was excellent to treat attendees to farm to table fresh Florida orange juice from Ridge Island Groves. We recognize Central Florida as a great destination for our travelers and look forward to continuing our partnership with Visit Central Florida.”