The Giant Orange Harvest

Last weekend, I volunteered for Village Harvest again. This time we harvested oranges from a massive orchard in downtown San Jose. It’s a commercial orchard that, I believe, has been owned by the same family for forever. It’s a vestige of the orchards that populated this area before the tech boom.

I was told that we’re harvesting from this orchard because they are not able to sell their oranges “because of a virus.” Apparently, there is an orange tree “virus” that has infected many of the trees in Florida, and has now been identified Southern California. In order to contain the virus, this orchard cannot sell its oranges where they normally would….or something like that. I’m not too clear on the story, and I didn’t ask questions.

(Side note: There were fig trees interspersed with the orange trees.

They were the largest fig trees I have ever seen. Quite beautiful.)

Suffice it to say, there were a lot of oranges to be picked.

We didn’t use ladders or pickers for this harvest; we just picked the fruit we could reach with out hands from the ground. There was plenty of it! Also, these oranges were so ripe, they came off the tree very easily. This harvest was the exact definition of low-hanging fruit.

We collected 18,000 lbs of oranges, and we only covered a fraction of the orchard.

We, of course, got to take home “seconds.” I filled three big bags with oranges.

I turned some of them into marmalade.

I followed roughly the same recipe as last time, but I didn’t bother to measure things out. I think my last batch of marmalade was better. I still have tons of oranges left, so I can always try again. Does anyone have any other orange recipes??

I also looked into this “virus” that’s been infecting orange trees…. stay tuned for more on that later….