California Navel Oranges & Valencia Oranges at Pearson Ranch
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Ask Farmer Tony

Ask Farmer Tony

*If you have any questions about caring for citrus or farming, please email me, I'll be happy to try and help. Send it to: Please remember to put me on your email "white list" or my response could end up in your spam folder.

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Farmer Tony

What is the origin of the Orange?

Some historians believe that the Orange was being cultivated in China as far back as 2500 BC. The Romans planted Orange trees across Africa prior to the fall of their empire in the 5th century AD. The Moors, whose conquest took them to Spain around the mid 8th century, are attributed to the spread of oranges around Spain. Eventually another group, the Saracens, took them to Sicily. The First time Oranges ventured across the Atlantic was with Christopher Columbus in 1492. He took them to Hispaniola, and within a very short time Oranges were found throughout the Caribbean. The Portuguese transplanted them to Brazil. Around roughly the same time, the Spanish took them to their settlement in St. Augustine, Florida.

Where did Navel Oranges come from?

In 1820, in a monastery garden in Bahia, Brazil, a hybrid of the Sweet Orange known as the Bahia Navel Orange was born. Brazil sent a dozen of these trees to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington D.C. in 1870.

Mrs. Eliza Tibbetts of Riverside, CA wrote to the U.S.D.A. in 1873 asking for two of the new Navel oranges, never knowing that she would revolutionize the commercial Orange industry in California.

This new mutant bud stock called the Bahia Navel, was renamed the Riverside Navel, and then renamed again the Washington Navel after George Washington for a more national appeal. All new varieties of Navel Oranges can trace their roots back to the Washington Navel.

California Navel Oranges are seedless and larger than the Sweet Orange. Its thick, bright orange skin was easy to peel and protected it for shipping. The sweet, full-bodied sections made for an excellent eating orange.

When are the Navel and Valencia Orange seasons?

Depending on the weather, Navel oranges are being picked as early as October to November through the end of May. The full flavor and color of the Navel Orange usually isnít set until after Thanksgiving. Valencia oranges are harvested from April through September/October.

How long can an Orange tree produce fruit?

The productivity of an Orange tree can be practically endless. With proper care and irrigation practices, the Orange tree can continue to produce well up to 70 to 80 years.

How many crops a year do you yield from an Orange tree?

One. From blossom to harvest, it can take an Orange seven to ten months (depending on the variety), to come into full maturity. New varieties and growing techniques are constantly being developed in order to provide Navel Oranges almost year round.

What happens once a Pearson Ranch Orange is picked?

After being picked, these carefully grown Pearson Ranch Oranges are transported to the packinghouse. From here the orange is washed, waxed and sorted by size and grade. Hand selected for both their exterior beauty and delicious flavor each Pearson Ranch Orange is packed carefully into either our Pearson Ranch 40 or 20 lb carton, or our beautiful Pearson Ranch Silver Label Gift Box. From pick to pack to ship, we strive to deliver the best citrus fruit in the world to you.

Can I grow an Orange tree from an orange seed?

No, although something will grow, it will appear bush-like and dangerously thorny. This is known as a "Wild Sucker". Oranges are typically grafted from a parent rootstock, and can generally be purchased at nurseries.

How do you keep Oranges safe during cold weather?

Although citrus trees do not require a certain number of chilling hours to produce that signature sweet-tart flavor, we must always ensure the fruit is safe from extreme cold or sub freezing temperatures. Oddly enough the best defense against extreme cold temperatures is well water. On nights when the temperature is going to drop below 28 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 4 hours, irrigation water is turned on until the sun comes up and the temperature once again starts to rise. How does this work? Insulated by the earth, domestic well water, or irrigation water comes out of the ground at an average of 54 degrees Fahrenheit. As the water reaches under the tree via sprinkler head, the water releases its heat under the tree's thick, "leaved" canopy, in an effort to keep the fruit from freezing. Wind Machines also help with frost protection when there is a good inversion layer above the trees, by re-directing the warmer air that has risen (which was released by the earth) back down to ground level.

Are Oranges still harvested by hand?

Yes. This is a physically demanding and intense job. The skill and care of a good picker can make the difference between a gift piece of fruit or one that will not be shipped at all. We are very selective about the picking crews that work in our grove and we are very thankful for their great work and contribution to American Agriculture.

How much of the citrus distributed in the U.S. is grown in CA?

California is the largest producer of eating oranges. Florida is the largest producer in the U.S. for juice oranges. Combined they produce nearly 25 billion pounds of Oranges a year! And that my friends is a lot of Vitamin "C".

Enjoy fresh, ripe Navel Oranges and Valencia Oranges today!

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