Florida is known for its oranges. According to the Florida Department of Citrus, over 80 per cent of America's orange juice comes from Florida-grown oranges. Florida growers produce a wide variety of oranges that ripen at different times of the year; so, harvesting is ongoing for nine months out of the year. Hot July, August and September do not yield any orange harvests.
Early Season Oranges
Early season oranges are harvested from October to January, before the winter freezes. According to the Sarasota County Extension the Hamlin and the Parson Brown oranges are the primary early season oranges. The Hamlin is a medium-sized juicy orange that yields a sweet but pale coloured juice. Because of its seediness, the Parson Brown is less desirable. Ambersweet and Navel oranges are also early season oranges and grown as eating oranges rather than for juice.
Mid-season oranges are harvested from December to March. The Pineapple and Sunstar oranges begin ripening in December. The Pineapple orange is less cold tolerant and must be harvested quickly before a winter freeze. The Sunstar has a bright orange colour and rich flavour. The Midsweet and Gardner oranges are ready for harvesting around the first of February.
Late Season Oranges
The Valencia orange is the premiere late season crop in Florida and accounts for 50 per cent of Florida's orange crop. Valencias are usually seedless, produce an excellent quality and quantity of juice and are harvested from March to June.
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