January 2, 2017 at 6:30 am #2486Team YOLO !Keymaster
Long before there was a Hollywood Sign or Disneyland or Venice Boardwalk, there were cattle ranches, farms and orange groves. Lots and lots of orange groves.
Though many of these groves are long gone and long forgotten—superseded by movie studio lots, theme parks, freeways and cookie-cutter houses—California is still an orange growing powerhouse in the U.S., second only to Florida, with year-round harvests wherein you can find Valencia oranges at SoCal farmers markets and grocery stores in spring and summer; and navel oranges in fall and winter.
In the 1840s, a Kentucky animal trapper turned orchard farmer settled in what is now Downtown LA; planted the state’s first commercial orchards of lemons, limes and oranges; and hybridized the Valencia orange, which is delectably sweet, perfect for juicing and the only orange varietal that ripens in summer.
Many an orange lover will wax poetic about how California-grown Valencias are tastier than their Florida cousins; and that the best way to savor one is fresh-off-the-branch May thru August.
California Citrus State Historic Park
Visit this citrus-y state park that boasts a 186-acre (75 ha) citrus grove, just a 1 hour drive east from Downtown LA.
On weekends, you can join a Tour & Taste during which you will learn about the history and farming practices of California’s citrus industry whilst eating lemons, grapefruits and oranges (Valencia and/or navel, depending on the season) right off the tree.
At the close of the tour, you will walk away with a bagful of free citrus that you can enjoy for days to come!
Guided Tour & Taste: Fri-Sun, 10:30am, noon & 2pm, generally. Call to ensure a tour is schedule for your desired date.
Fruit picking is prohibited except on a guided tour.
Mon-Fri: (951) 780-6222
Sat-Sun: (951) 637-8044
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