We all drink orange juice and eat oranges but do we know exactly how oranges are harvested? To be honest many of us do not know at all how oranges are grown and sometimes we overlook these simple yet important aspects. In our humble opinion we would prefer it if you get informed on these topics so when it comes to your juicing experience you know exactly everything that is happening. These kind of things are important, just like the coffee connoisseur must know the origins of the beans and how they are roasted, one who is into juicing must get accustomed to these kind of details to pride themselves in it and get acquainted with.
If you live in the United States then you are quite well sure that the state known for producing the most oranges in the country is Florida. In fact Florida takes the crown when it comes to nearly 99 percent of the production of oranges around the world. Most oranges in Florida come to bloom between the months of March and April and the earlier they bloom the different the variety and taste. For example the early types of oranges are known as Parson Browns strain or the Hamlins. When oranges come to bloom in the mid season they are known as the Pineapple orange blend and these have a distinct flavor to them which is different from the oranges that tend to bloom earlier on in the season. Lastly when it comes to the late bloomers, a lot of the time these varieties are come to known as the Valencia blend and these happen to have their own unique acidic flavor.
Most citrus fruits including oranges need to be fully ripened on the tree or they will tend not to get any more ripe after they are pulled from their branches. Much of the time the managers of orange farms will have to pick and segregate the trees in order of when they were planted. Once they pick a group of trees with ripe oranges they will pick those fruit immediately and leave the rest of the trees which may have fruit that is not completely ripened for a later picking. In order to make sure the tree has fruit that is ripe enough to pick the manager of the plant will usually have the juice squeezed from that sample and then tasted and tested to see if the juice is sweet enough to consider those plants as ripe. In order for the oranges to be plucked they have to have a specific sugar to acid ratio and once this ratio is met then the managers can call for the harvesting of the oranges on these trees.
Picking the Oranges
Unlike many other fruits oranges are usually picked by hand. While other fruits might be mass picked by large machines and then harvested, oranges are solely picked by hand. This is why when it comes to finding organic oranges it is much easier and cost effective in comparison to other fruits which might have a little bit more of processing time and things involved. When the time for picking fresh oranges comes the people working on the orange farm will gather with them wooden ladders then go out to the trees and pick the oranges from the trees as easily as one two three. When the picking is done they are put into large barrels and then taken off to the warehouses.
Sometimes when it comes to picking the oranges the farmers working on the orange farm do not even climb the ladders. In fact they will simply shake the trunks of the trees and the oranges will fall into big wooden buckets which are responsible for holding the oranges before they are hauled of to another more suitable location. Each of these tubs can hold up to nine hundred pounds of oranges which if you ask me is quite a lot!
During this time at least 90,000 acres of land is usually harvested and about tons of oranges are plucked fresh from the trees to be taken either to be sold in shops or sold to places where orange juice is made. A special truck will usually come through the orange grove using a hydraulic boom and then pick up all of the buckets with the oranges and then take at-least 45 tons of oranges back to the warehouses for sorting.
After The harvest
After the orange harvest the tons and tons of oranges are taken back to the processing plant in order to determine the total amount of fruit and weight received from the trees. The oranges are then manually or automatically uploaded to a processing belt or also known as a conveyer belt. From this the relative health agency will take a sample from the batch of oranges to test if they pass the FDA requirements and then the oranges are then passed through out the conveyer belt until they are dumped into boxes that will be taken to their respective distributers.
During the time on the conveyer belt oranges are washed and rinsed and also sorted for bad and good fruit. The bad fruit will automatically be picked out by the highly effective sorting machines while the good fruit will remain and be sent all the way to the end of the batch and put into the respective boxes. After this the fruit is also sorted by size and variety. As we explained before the time the oranges are picked in the season will dictate what strain that orange is.
Shipping to Warehouses
After the entire harvesting process of oranges the oranges are shipped directly to the customers, packagers, and distributors. These distributors will commonly package the oranges with their respective brand and logo and then send it to larger branch stores such as Wal Mart or Target. When oranges are delivered they are usually delivered in special kinds of trucks which keeps the temperature in the truck at a minimum and maximum of 42 degrees celsius. This ensures that when oranges are delivered they are delivered in the freshest possible way!