“Crazy About Citrus” is a series chronicling our connection with citrus.
In this episode:
As an avid citrus collector, we will reach a point where it is necessary to attempt to acquire the skill of grafting plants. The reason for this is that more varieties of citrus exists in bud wood form than can be purchased as trees. In order to add rare citrus varieties to our collection we must now try our hand at grafting. Today we receive bud wood from the Citrus Clonal Protection Program. Because of the Huanglongbing disease that is terminal to citrus trees, it is necessary to acquire bud wood from certified sources as a measure to contain the spread of the disease.
Part 2: In January my family and I went on a road trip and visited with family in northern California. While planning our trip, we were invited onto a farm by the good folks that I had gotten to know through social media. These folks happen to be citrus growers. There are a few clips from that wonderful visit. Special thanks to @rainwater_ranch.
Fruit trees are extremely practical to have. The fruit can be left on the tree to be used at one’s convenience. An established tree can produce quite a bit of fruit. There may be so much fruit that they may start to rot before they are consumed. What better then to offer your neighbors, friends, and relatives some fresh fruit?
The Moro blood orange tree has been in decline for some time now. With fruit on the tree, the task of planting it into the ground was held off. It is time to plant the tree now that the fruit had ripen. Further, new leaves are growing. There is a rush to plant now as opposed to later when the shock of planting will disturb the leaves. Having lots of prep for spring to complete, planting the blood orange tree is a priority item.
It was not too long ago when I started to seek out fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants. Many of these sought after fruits and vegetables are not likely to found at the local produce section. The reasons are that these crops are generally not commercially viable or not in demand enough. A ‘non commercially viable crop’ is crop that either: do not produce enough, take longer to produce, do not ship well, are difficult to grow, etc. Because of those factors, the price for the crop will be too high for the average consumer. Unable to sell their crop, the growers and sellers then would more likely to be left with crop rotting in the stands.
Where these goodies are not likely to rot are on the farmers’ market stands. With much lower overhead, the growers are able to provide market goers with reasonable prices. When in season, one of the fruits one expects to find at a farmer’s market are blood oranges. The fruit of the blood orange is more likely to be tart. Tartness is a characteristic one does not seek out in an orange. What is sought after are the antioxidant properties.
There are a few types of blood oranges with the most commonly available blood orange variety being the Moro blood orange, Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck. As for the availability of blood orange trees, they are now widely available. Like at the farmers’ market, the tree variety most commonly available is the Moro. That was the first tree I picked up.
Is that the Moro of the story?
No, that is not the Moro of the story. The Moro of the story is to do with what I discovered about oranges this year. When I brought the tree home almost a year ago, I did not plant it into the ground. Instead, I kept it in its container. The reason is that I was not sure if the spot I selected would be its permanent home. Staying put in its container, it set blossoms and then fruit. It was doing well through summer. When fall came around, it started to become sad. It began to shed leaves. Unable to support all the fruit, it began to drop them. It is still winter and more than half of the fruit have been dropped. When the fruit is dropped, they are usually green. I would collect them and put them into the compost bin.
Today, I noticed that another fruit had dropped. In the hunt for the dropped fruit, I also recovered a ripen orange from amongst the ivy. That led to the discovery that oranges continue to ripen despite being disconnected from the tree.