A Look Inside the Groves – August Hale Groves Update
Work starts early in the grove. Early mornings make for cooler work, and it’s not unusual for us to start that work before sunup. It’s early morning, but our day is well under way.
Every piece of fruit starts with a flower and a bee, and grows from there. Orange blossoms mark the beginning of a new season and fill the air, and us, with the hope of what is to come.
After flowering, fruit gently expands. For most of the growing summer months, the fruit is various shades and sizes of green. Not surprisingly, it’s highly acidic and not very sweet right now. But day by day each fruit grows bigger, and the acidic flavors slowly transform into a divine sweetness.
We prune and manage our trees into hedges. This makes sure that the tractor can get down the row, and that the tree canopy has the right amount of “fruiting wood” versus vegetative growth. This process maximizes fruit production. The trees are also “topped” for the same reason.
Scott, one of our grove gurus, measures the size of our fruit with calipers, to make sure it is on track. Periodic counting and size measurement sampling is important to forecast fruit sizes for harvest. So far it looks like we’ve got good size and counts this season.
We are not the only ones that enjoy the shade the citrus trees provide in our groves. This black and white Warbler was nice enough to pose for a photo op and reminded us of the diverse array of wildlife that calls our groves home.
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