About Florida Oranges
One of the single most memorable bits of trivia regarding Florida is the fact that the state is world-renowned for its production of sweet and juicy Florida oranges. Indeed, Florida oranges are not just grown in greater abundance than those grown virtually everywhere else on the planet (Florida is second to only Brazil in orange production), but the oranges produced in the Sunshine state are also physically distinctive from those grown elsewhere. More specifically, oranges grown in Florida have a greater weight:volume ratio than those grown anywhere else. This is because they are so incredibly juicy. In addition, they have a thinner peel than oranges grown in other geographical areas, which means that you get more fruit per orange than you would with thicker peeled fruit grown elsewhere.
Because Florida oranges are so extremely juice-laden for their size, it is no wonder that roughly 95% of the state's annual orange crop is devoted to the production of delicious and always in-demand orange juice. Even with this percentage of oranges being juiced every year, Florida is generally more than able to match supply to demand. That is why the economic industry surrounding Florida oranges is such a lucrative one, and also why it grows larger each year due to new advancements in growing and harvesting technology.
One such advancement that has been made over the nearly half-dozen centuries since oranges were introduced to Floridian soil by the Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon is the maturation period required by individual trees in order to produce fruit. Centuries ago, it took 15 years for orange trees to produce fruit; today it takes only three years. Because of this, farmers can maximize the yield they are able to expect and actually produce from each tree. This maximizes profitable growing periods per tree and ultimately ensures that Florida oranges are grown at a rate that ensures supply meets demand, keeping prices low and farmers profitable.
It is estimated that natural extractor machines busily turning Florida oranges into orange juice are capable of handling roughly 13 million pounds of oranges in a given 24 hour period – truly a remarkable volume. After the oranges are juiced, a machine called a “finisher” removes the seeds prior to the nutritious juice being pasteurized and then packaged for consumption. Depending upon the brand and quality of Florida orange juice in question, the freshly squeezed orange juice may be concentrated for ease of transport and then later reconstituted with water before packaging – this is a method that is used to cut costs.