This is the Company Motto as you enter the doors... they will ship oranges just about anywhere!
That is Deb above, watching as oranges start coming down this machine and get sorted by size, and by grade. To judge the grade of an orange, you need human input and decision making. So, if you check out the short video below, you will see how they sort the oranges by size... very easy!
I am a bit backwards here, but that is OK. Prior to sorting to size, the machines wash and wax the oranges... wax you ask??? If an orange is to be used for eating, and or shipping somewhere else, it is carefully washed by machine, and then a thin layer of wax is applied to help keep the fruit very fresh while being shipped anywhere. Check out the video below for washing and waxing...
Only Grade A Oranges get sold for eating. The rest of them are usually converted into Orange Juice. They have an orange juice plant here but we were not able to see it, as it is all enclosed. The picture below though, is of the skins, or rhind that is left over after the orange is squeezed.
So, what to do with all that orange skin... well, this is a working farm where they raise cattle, and low and behold, the cows love this stuff and eat it all up! Our guide was telling us that if they put one little piece of lime in with the orange, the cows will not eat it!
The picture right above is the washing and waxing process happening. It is quite noisy inside where all these machines are as you can imagine.
This Farm is all Family owned and operated, including this hydroponic garden you see above, in which they grow strawberries, tomatoes, lettuce, peppars, etc to sell at the store on site.
The picture above is what happens when you stick your iPhone 5 inside a tree and shoot! These Oranges are called Temple Oranges and they taste great! They have many different varieties here growing.
They get one crop a year off of an orange tree, with some years providing a second bloom in June. They run this operation from October to June, and shut down for 3 months. They have many hundreds of trees growing on this farm... Above you see new trees just planted, costing $2.50 each. They just planted 900 of these.
Above is a newer white pear tree. They have about 1,000 of them here they just recently planted, and will be selling this crop at the store.
They gave us free samples of orange juice, and tangerine juice made on site... it was great! They also make home made orange and strawberry ice cream here that we sampled and WOW... it was great!
Tom and Cheryl are picking an orange/pineapple hybrid that tasted real good... Deb above is picking with the help of our guide for the afternoon. We are all just a bunch of pickers!
Had a great time, and now know what an orange can expect out of life... gulp!