Citrus Bonanza

Jan 25, 2010

An Arroyo-adjacent tree is laden with fat grapefruit.

This time of year we residents of the San Gabriel Valley are reminded daily of why our predecessors struggled and took risks to move from the frozen midwest or the chilly east: Citrus fruit. It blew their mind that here in the U.S. was a fertile land where frost was as rare as tornadoes, and ranchers could grow more oranges and lemons that they ever dreamed possible.

The days of 12,000-acre citrus ranches are gone, but their descendants live on in every neighborhood, from the modest to the elegant. The crop seems strong this year, and once you start looking, you’ll see the abundance everywhere: the satsumas peeking over a backyard wall, the dwarf Meyer lemons in a pot by the front door, the elderly but still productive kumquat tree aside a driveway, a huge and laden navel orange tree right in a front yard, more tempting that Satan’s apple in the garden of Eden. (Listen to your good angel: Don’t help yourself to neighbor’s fruit without asking.)

Just a few of our Meyer lemons

This year at my house, our kumquats are in short supply, but our Meyer lemon crop is booming, and our juice oranges are looking good, too. What’s suddenly ripe at your place?

A neighbor's incredibly prolific orange tree just begs to be picked.

The mini orange grove at Arlington Garden is bearing fruit this season.

3 Responses for “Citrus Bonanza”

  1. Caroline says:

    Our Meyer lemon has been going gangbusters since December – Saturday I squeezed 24 cups (!) of juice and froze most of it in 3 cup ziplock bags for lemonade later on…

  2. Mel Malmberg says:

    I planted about 7 citrus trees three years ago — for some reason my 1920s spanish did not have any fruit trees! This is the first year they bore fruit and tho I planted them so that they would ripen thruout the year, EVERYBODY is bearing at once, grapefruit, two tangerines, two oranges, lemons and limes.
    now I can’t wait for the blossoms!

  3. Peggy Stahlheber says:

    I grew up in San Bernardino and my dad owned a 6 acre orange grove in what is now East Highlands. Of course it is now an ugly housing development. I spent countless hours there, even knew how to drive an ancient tractor. Now I have 6 citrus trees, eureka lemon, three navel oranges, tangerine, blood orange and seedless valencia. They are just loaded with fruit this year, we had to prop up some branches. They are so easy to grow here everyone should plant at least one orange tree in their yard!



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