Life Naturally

By lifenaturally

Orange juice....

..... on the hoof, so to speak! There's a small orange grove not too far from where I live and I've been watching the fruit ripen all summer and fall. Now it's ready for picking.

The citrus industry in Florida has really taken a hit since I was a kid. Whole groves frozen in harsher-than-usual winter weather and never replaced. Keeping the groves warm during chilly nights used to be done with smudge pots (giant oil lamps sort of), then old tires were burned to make heat. These methods produced terrible air pollution, of course, and became impossible due to EPA rulings. For awhile watering the groves was popular until water shortages put a stop to that practice. (Oddly enough, when water freezes around the fruit it creates a little barrier so the cold air can't get in.) Without protection of some sort, citrus just doesn't survive temps much below 34-35 F.

When young trees are planted from grafted stock, it takes about 7 years before they start producing edible fruit. Few investors can wait that long, or risk being entirely wiped out by yet another freeze. Also, changes in laws regarding the migrant workers who used to pick the fruit created changes in the industry.

There are still groves, however! With a concentrate processing plant not too far from me, from now until spring, most days I will wake up to the heady scent of oranges cooking. The entire fruit goes into the cookers - rind and all. The orange oil is carried away in the steam produced and the smell is wonderful to me. Brings back memories of a different sort of quieter, agricultural Florida - the place I grew up.

And you may be asking what has taken the place of so many of the old groves..... houses!! For all the transplants from Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, New York, and elsewhere, who would rather bask in our warm sunshine that shovel snow and chip ice from automobile windshields. Can't say as I blame them ;-0

Later edit - Oops!! I forgot to thank all you lovely people who commented on my 200th blip! I saw that there was a notification, but hastened to read your comments instead, so did not even know that it was the 200th! I'm not much for counting or keeping score, so your kindness and appreciation came as a wonderful surprise!! Blipfoto is special and YOU make it so ;-0

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