When to buy oranges in Florida
Florida is well known for its citrus products. The Sunshine State’s sandy soil and humid, subtropical climate make it ideal for cultivating various types of citrus fruits. In fact, it is the largest orange producer in the country. Oranges from Florida account for about 70% of the oranges in the market and roughly 60% of other citrus fruits. It’s practically orange season the whole year round, with various types of oranges available in fruit stands and farmer’s markets.
With the wide variety of Florida’s oranges and other citrus fruits, knowing which types of orange are in season can help you plan when to shop or order online since the best producers also mail oranges right to your doorstep. The following are some of the most popular oranges and other citrus fruits produced in Florida.
These large sized, seedless, thick-skinned oranges are easy to recognize with their unique twin fruit growing at the opposite side of the stem. This second orange looks like a belly button, and this is where the fruit gets its name. It has a nice balance of sweetness and juiciness, without being too drippy. It’s also very easy to peel and each section has enough firmness making it great to snack on out of hand. The best time to get Navels is from October to January, making them one of Florida’s signature winter fruits.
If Navels represent winter, then Valencias are the representative citrus fruit of summer. If you’re a fan of OJ, then you’re a fan of Valencia oranges. More than 50% of the annual orange crop is made-up of this type of citrus. One interesting characteristic of this fruit is that it may undergo re-greening, which means the orange rind may turn a bit green again after it ripens. Valencia’s that undergo this odd phenomenon tend to be sweeter than the regular variety. Valencias are usually available from February to June.
Temples are another popular Florida orange variety. The name of this orange originated from William Chase Temple, a Florida citrus grower and former owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Temple oranges are medium-sized, easy to peel citrus that are perfect for eating out of hand. Unlike Valencia’s and Navels, Temple oranges are more oval than round and relatively flatter at the top and bottom. The fruit segments well and has a sweet, tart flavor. It’s also juicy enough to be pleasant to snack on, but not messy to eat out of hand. You can find these online, in fruit stands, and in farmer’s markets from January to March.
Technically not orange, Honeybells are a cross between Dancy tangerine and Duncan grapefruit, Honeybells are super sweet, super juicy tangelos. Honeybells are easily recognizable due to their bell shape and vibrant orange color. Those who know about Honeybells love them and will order these limited edition fruits from weeks to months in advance since they are only in season for a very limited time. Honeybells are available from late January to mid-February.