The Lakritz Family has been picking oranges for a very long time.
Growing up in a small town in California’s Central Valley, we lived among the crops. Although we weren’t farmers, we did have our own fruit trees growing in the backyard.
The family purchased the house shortly after I was born and we owned it for about 50 years. Most of that time we enjoyed the annual citrus harvest from one orange tree, one grapefruit tree, and a tangerine tree.
As my Dad grew older and my own family grew, we started bringing our children to town each Winter to help pick the fruit. It became an annual ritual that included a BBQ to celebrate the bountiful harvest. Amazingly, in a good year each tree would yield as many as 700 pieces of fruit!
This is a picture of the fruit we picked in the 2000 harvest, which was a down year.
Today, the Lakritz Farm has five trees including a plum, apple, and orange tree. This year we added a lemon and fig tree. Over the past 15 years we’ve been successful in getting a small harvest each year out of the orange tree.
Typically we have to wait until late March or early April to pick the fruit because it doesn’t get ripe until then. We aren’t sure whether this is due to the Northern California climate or global warming, but we do the best we can and enjoy what we get.
I decided this year to harvest the fruit earlier than usual. The oranges seemed pretty ripe and full of water as it’s been a wet Winter so far. I chose to pick the fruit earlier this year to encourage blossoms now. The idea is to generate blossoms earlier so the fruit will ripen earlier next year. We won’t know if it works until then but I’m hoping for the best.
Meanwhile we did get a decent amount of fruit. I’m guessing it’s about 150 pieces. Although the oranges are small, we’ll give them a week or two off the tree to ripen and get sweet. Then we’ll see how they are sliced or squeeze for juice.
Stay tuned for more fruit fun on the Lakritz Farm.
Happy Urban Farming to you all!