Why are Florida Oranges different from California Oranges?

By: The Hale Groves Team | On: | Category: Fruit Facts

Florida and California are well known for high-quality oranges. Both of these States have the ideal climate for oranges and other citrus fruits to thrive. However, they aren’t exactly the same.

California’s climate is typically mild and dry while Florida is hot and humid. While both states grow the same varieties of oranges, this difference in climate has a distinct impact on the fruits.  Oranges in Florida are comparatively sweeter and juicier than their California counterparts. On the other hand, California oranges tend to maintain freshness longer due to their thicker peels.

This difference means that California oranges are better suited for supermarket sales due to longer shelf life, while it’s more ideal to have Florida oranges shipped directly to you, to ensure freshness.

What are my Orange Options?

Of course, not all oranges are the same. Each of the many orange types has its own merit so it’s best to know your options before getting Florida oranges delivered to your doorstep. Here are some of the most popular choices:

Washington Navel

Whether you’re roaming around in your local farmer’s market or grocery store, it’s almost certain that you’ll come across a Navel orange. It’s easy to identify this popular orange due to its namesake bellybutton at the bottom of the fruit. Florida navel oranges are perfect to eat as is, because they are easy to peel, and are also seedless. These are two of the reasons why navels continue to be one of the most popular orange varieties.


Freshly squeezed OJ in the morning with your breakfast is a great way to start your day. If this fits your fancy, then Valencia oranges should be among your top choices. William Wolfskill originally developed this hybrid citrus around the mid-19th century in Santa Ana, Southern California. It has made its way to Florida over the years and has done well in the state’s hot and humid climate, producing some of the juiciest citrus available. An interesting fact about this fruit is that it undergoes a process called re-greening, which means a ripe Valencia may turn green again, further enhancing the sweetness of the fruit.

Honeybell Orange 

Minneola Tangelos, also known as Honeybell Oranges, are a cross between a Duncan grapefruit and a Dancy Tangerine. They are one of the most sought-after citrus fruits during their season. Their name comes from the bell-shaped stem end. It’s not easy to get your hands on this top of the line orange if you live outside of a citrus-producing state. Honeybell season is also quite short, and people in the know usually reserve Honeybells weeks or even months ahead of harvest time. They are super juicy, and sweet, but oddly enough, have low-calorie content, making them popular among those trying to lower their weight. Growing Honeybells also has strict requirements so very limited amounts are available when they are in season. Honeybell oranges from Florida may be hard to find, but they are worth the effort.

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